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Hoosier History Live is an independently produced new media project about Indiana history. It's a podcast and newsletter and website and social media project. Hoosier History Live's original content comes initially from a live with call in weekly talk radio show hosted by author and historian Nelson Price. You can hear the radio show Saturdays from noon to 1 pm Eastern Time. It’s over the air in Central Indiana at WICR 88.7 fm, or you can stream at the WICR HD1 app on your phone.

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July 01, 2023

Early environmentalists in Indiana

They explored and advocated for the protection of a range of aspects of Indiana's natural heritage, from birds and other wildlife to flowers and plants, including ferns. In many cases, they lived during eras (including the late 1800s and early 1900s) before the word "environmentalist" even was used. Some of them were called "conservationists".

They were often self-taught in our natural heritage, with true "in-field" experience. Even though Frank Wallace (1878-1968) didn't have a high school diploma, his expertise meant that he served as an Indiana state entomologist for more than 40 years. Jane Brooks Hine (1831-1916) of DeKalb County in northeastern Indiana became known as the "Bird Woman of Indiana" while documenting hundreds of sightings for the federal government. A former teacher and mother of six, she wrote for various publications and served on the Indiana Academy of Science.

During a later era, John Gottschalk (1912-1999), a native of Berne, Ind., rose to become a top federal official as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. On a local level, Maurice McClue (1878-1957), who loved wildflowers, trees and wildlife, donated more than 80 acres of his family's farm to "the citizens of Steuben County" in an era before land trusts.

To share insights about these and other early environmentalists, Nelson will be joined in the studio by Terri Gorney Lehman of Fort Wayne, an advanced Indiana master naturalist and civic leader. She has researched the early environmentalists, interviewed some of their descendants and written about them for various publications, including the journal of the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society.

During our show, Terri will share insights about Willard Clute (1869-1950), who co-founded the American Fern Society. In the late 1920s, he became director of Butler University's botanical garden. He also was hired to develop 94 acres of the estate of philanthropist John Holliday into the popular Holliday Park on the northside of Indianapolis.

Our guest Terri Gorney Lehman, who is vice president of the Society of Indiana Pioneers and an officer of the Friends of the Limberlost, has been a volunteer for the Indiana DNR for more than 20 years and is a frequent Roadtrip correspondent for "Hoosier History Live".

She transcribed the writings of McClue, an attorney who made the land donation in Steuben County. She also has been a volunteer at Pokagon State Park; its name, a Potawatomi word, was one that McClue advocated for, Terri says.

According to an article she wrote about Frank Wallace, the state entomologist, he crusaded for years to stop the draining of lakes and swamps for agricultural use in northern Indiana. He also, Terri says, photographed and gave talks about wildflowers. As an entomologist, he was pro-active early on in managing the introduction of invasive insects into Indiana.

In an article about Gottschalk, Terri notes that, as head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Lyndon Johnson administration during the 1960s, he oversaw the banning of the insecticide DDT. He also added more than 500,000 acres to the country's wildlife refuge system.

Many of the early environmentalists (or conservationists and naturalists) developed a love of nature as children. According to Terri, Jane Brooks Hine was captivated by a blue bird as a 6-year-old girl when her father lifted her up to see a nest in a tree.

Howard Michaud, a native of Berne, grew up fishing in the Wabash River in the early 1900s. He became the first chief interpreter for the state parks system and a biology teacher at Fort Wayne high schools. Then he was a professor of conservation and forestry at Purdue University, which gives an award in Michaud's name. He died at age 95 in 1998.

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Roadtrip: Town of Jasper in Dubois County

Public historian and Guest Roadtripper Glory-June Greiff suggests we check out the town of Jasper in southern Indiana and its German influences. The town also boasts an ornate complex of shrines just west of the stunning St. Joseph Church and Cemetery. She tells us that these were built in the 1950s out of geodes and fossils and incorporated bits and pieces of building ornament--a threshold here, a chunk of cornice there, all in a charmingly artless fashion reminiscent of the WPA rock gardens of the 1930s. The Mother of God Grotto and the St. Joseph Shrine were designed and built by Father Phillip Ottavi with the help of the residents of the Providence Home, which houses elderly and mildly mentally handicapped men.

Be sure to also check out the beautiful Dubois County Courthouse and its poignant Civil War monument. Stroll around the square and check out the art deco Astra Theatre in the southwest corner. And east of the square is a New Deal post office with a mural.

Jasper has strong German roots and its most famous restaurant is the Schnitzelbank, which has been around for decades. If your tastes run to Mexican, however, there are at least 6 Mexican restaurants for you to enjoy.

Trivia prizes and southside restaurant sought

Would your business or organization like to offer prizes for our trivia on air question? Or, are you a restaurant on the southside of Indy, or near the University of Indianapolis, and open on Saturdays at 1 pm? Would you like to host Hoosier History Live guests for lunch after the show on Saturday? Contact molly@hoosierhistorylive.org for details.  


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We'd like to thank the following recent individual contributors who make this show possible. For a full list of contributors over the years, visit  Support the Show on our website.

  • Tom Cochrun
  • Norma Erickson
  • Marion Wolen
  • Jane Ammeson
  • Kathleen Angelone
  • Bruce and Julie Buchanan
  • Mark Ruschman
  • Robin Winston
  • Phil and Pam Brooks
  • Rachel Berenson Perry
  • Kevin Murray
  • Susan Bielawski in memory of Jane Bielawski
  • Jill Lough Chambers
  • Sandra Hurt

Molly Head, executive producer (317) 506-7164 
Nelson Price, host and historian
Corene Nickel, web designer and tech manager

Richard Sullivan and Ryan DeRome, tech consultants
Cheryl Lamb, administrative manager
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer


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Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Twitter logo for Hoosier History Live.Acknowledgements to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Monomedia, Henri Pensis, Maddie Fisher, Austin Cook, and many other individuals and organizations. We are independently produced and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorship and through individual contribution, either online at our yellow button on our newsletter or website, or by U.S. mail. For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in our podcasts and in our show, please contact Molly Head at (317) 506-7164 or email her at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org.

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