Our guest for next week will be Todd Yeagley, head coach for men’s soccer at IU. Earlier in his career, Todd played seven seasons in Major League Soccer with the Columbus Crew and one year in the USISL with the Richmond Kickers. He is the son of legendary IU soccer coach Jerry Yeagley.
THIS WEEK’S NEWS
Congratulations to Ann Conners, who has been recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. It was established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage contributions to the foundation.
Thanks to President Mike Baker for his ‘shout-out’ to the Roundabout team! We’re glad to know that someone reads the newsletter every now and then.
Congrats to Bryce Bow, who has been promoted to director of major gifts for the arts and humanities at IU.
Many thanks to Rotarians who have contributed to the Centennial Fund! It continues to grow. There will be more information about this as we get closer to the Gala.
The District Conference is coming up (see information at left), and there’s a call for ideas for a small gift basket for Ian and Juliet Riseley.
FEBRUARY 27 PROGRAM: The Other Side Speaks!
Leslie Green introduced Jeff Stant, director of the Indiana Forest Alliance. Jeff has a double degree from IU: in biology and environmental policy. From 1985 to 2000, he was director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, the largest environmental group in the state. His career took him to Washington, D.C., for 13 years, working on policy and advocacy. Since 2013 he’s been involved with the Indiana Forest Alliance, reviving the organization from less than 40 members to a current membership of 1,100.
Jeff mentioned how the organization has grown substantially over the past few years, from a single, part-time employee to a current number of six, including a biologist who is the science adviser. Membership growth is due in part to a strong concern in Indiana about the forest and a deep love of nature. He took us through an impressive slide show of insect and animal diversity found in old-growth Indiana forests, where many indigenous species flourish.
Recent concerns about state forests have revolved around the rapid increase in logging by the DNR, an increase of about 400 percent since 2005. At the rate they’re logging, Jeff said, in the next eight years there won’t be a single tract of forest left outside the 3 percent of the state that is defined as nature reserves and other designated preserves.
Indiana Forest Alliance’s policies and programs are based on deep research, establishing why, from a scientific and economic perspective, it’s important to leave large portions of our forested lands alone so that they can return to the old-growth condition, allowing for natural life cycles of flora and fauna. Resilient ash trees, for instance, can survive only in areas that are left alone completely. Then research can take place to find out how some of the trees are doing better than others.
Four years ago, Indiana Forest Alliance began a major first-of-its-kind inventory (Ecoblitz) of natural forests across the state, with 200 volunteers and scientists looking at old-growth areas. Results have been groundbreaking and revealing in many different ways, reinforcing the importance of maintaining the natural ecosystem.
Why is the DNR doing so much logging? In 2007-8, the Indiana legislature dropped a mill tax, Jeff said, taking funds away from the DNR, which has put more pressure on ‘product sales’ – the sale of trees. Logging has increased dramatically to make up for the loss in tax income. These sales have impacted the market so that the actual income for the trees doesn’t match well-managed forests. Fragmentation through logging has a devastating impact on the equilibrium of the forest as well, Jeff said, allowing for a rapid growth of invasive plant and bird species, such as the brown-headed cowbird. Japanese stiltgrass is another example of species invasion, moving into the open spaces created by logging.
Indiana Forest Alliance has come up with a number of alternatives, such as carbon storage contracts, carbon credit offsets, and more recreation that would make it possible for the DNR to not rely so much on logging. Economists have suggested that, by looking at these alternatives, the DNR could double its revenue from the forests without having to resort to logging.
Political pressure on the governor and state legislature is growing to try to alter DNR’s policy on logging. Recent bills have gained popularity. Jeff said there is a strong sense that opinions are changing. Both sides of the political divide are listening.
For more information on the Indiana Forest Alliance, visit https://indianaforestalliance.org/.
Our February 27 Meeting
Mike Baker led the meeting. Martha Foster was our greeter. Owen Johnson led the Pledge of Allegiance and took us on a trip down history lane, reflecting on the Booster Sheet, our newsletter at the time of early World War II. Duty to the nation, to God, and to humanity was ever-present. Spending every energy to win the war made us “true Americans.” The Rotary devotion to a lasting peace when the time comes was discussed. In the challenging world of today we should continue to do everything in our power to make the world a better place.
Judy Schroeder introduced our guests:
- Frank Kerker, guest of Ann Conners
- Sandy Messner, guest of the club, Indiana Forest Alliance
Drew Bratton, Feb. 27
Alain Barker, Reporter and Photographer