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The Perks of Partnership

Our guest bloggers today include our friends from the Marian University Ecolab.

Our newest installation in 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks art and Nature Park, Mary Miss’ FLOW: Can You See the River?, is all about community engagement. What better way to talk about community efforts than by asking one of our partners to highlight some of the ways that they will be reaching out to people. The EcoLab at Marian University is just one of many partnerships brought about by Miss’ work and we are happy to have them share some opportunities that they will host over the next couple of days.

The Marian University Ecolab is 55 acres of wetlands, forest and prairie in the heart of Indianapolis. Besides being an incredibly diverse and beautiful area, the EcoLab is committed to environmental education through interaction with the environment.  We were very excited when Mary Miss approached us with an art-in-nature collaboration and knew it was a creative fit to our mission.  An art exhibition like this is another ingenious way to help connect the community to nature.  During FLOW week we are offering a number of FREE events, all of which will engage the visitor in his/her surroundings and help them see how “all property is riverfront property.”

FLOW-focused field trips: The EcoLab will be offering free FLOW-focused programs to school groups throughout festival week and will continue to offer similar programming through the duration of the installation. These programs will include a short presentation on the importance of the White River in our daily lives, a nature hike highlighting the several installation points on the EcoLab grounds, and a hands-on restoration project that will benefit our watershed.  For more information about how to schedule a FLOW program for your class during the week of the festival or anytime following, please contact Shannon Unger, Environmental Education Coordinator, at 317-524-7700 or

Wildflower Hikes: Did you know the EcoLab has diverse wildflowers even into late September?  The EcoLab’s habitat diversity and richness creates an island for late summer/early fall wildflowers.  EcoLab ecologist, Jody Nicholson will be leading wildflower hikes on September 25th and September 30th starting at 2pm at the St. Francis Colonnade just west of Allison Mansion on the Marian University Campus.  This event is free and open to all ages and levels of interest.  Jody will also explain some tips and tricks on using wildflower field guides to identify difficult plants.  Come learn some new flowers, ask questions, and enjoy the FLOW installation in the EcoLab.  Info and questions can be sent to

 Bird Hikes: Wildflowers aren’t your thing?  Bring your binoculars for a bird walk with Dr. David Benson Saturday the 24th or Wednesday the 28th beginning at 8am at the St. Francis colonnade just west of the Allison Mansion on the Marian University Campus.  The EcoLab becomes a great spot for fall migrants this time of year.  Follow the tweets!  @MarianUEcoLab on Twitter will give updates of each morning’s action.

Global Studies Speaker, Michael Nelson: Also, don’t miss Michael Nelson from Michigan State University speak on “Why it’s Wrong to Wreck a Watery World: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril.”  His discussions will stem from his recent book, Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril.  This event is on Tuesday September 27th at 7pm in the Mother Theresa Hacklemeier Memorial Library Auditorium.

BioBus: The BioBus will be in the EcoLab on Monday September 26th.  Visitors can come any time between 4-6pm and Dr. Ben will help folks use the research grade science equipment to get a better look at some of the things found in the EcoLab.  This is a great way to get a different perspective on the world around us.  The BioBus brings science out of the text books and visitors a first had experience on some of the small things we traditionally overlook. Visit their webpage for a quick video on what they do.

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Local, Public Programs

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