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Did you know that more than 1,000 different amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals are considered endangered, threatened or rare in Indiana according to the Indiana Natural Heritage Data Center?

In fact, each county in WIPB-TV’s viewing area has a comprehensive list of its own.

Indiana Bat: Myotis sodalis
photo by: Tim Carter

WIPB focused its documentary lens on several of these endangered, threatened and rare species throughout east central Indiana for “Rare INdiana,” a project that includes digital content, a photo exhibit, nature walks and much more.

This project, made possible with a grant from WGBH, is in conjunction with the PBS program “RARE – Creatures of the Photo Ark,” which premiered in July on WIPB.

To show the importance of preserving and protecting these rare animals for future generations, WIPB-TV and its partners created a 30-minute special to air on WIPB.   

“Rare INdiana: Protecting Our Smallest Hoosiers” premiered in December on WIPB.

Rare Indiana” took a look at some of the Indiana species on the state and federal rare, threatened and endangered lists.

“We visited with Dr. Tim Carter from Ball State University, who is doing extensive research on the white nose syndrome affecting bats and to talk about the Indiana Bat,” said “Rare” producer Dottie Kreps. “We went along on bat netting efforts in Southern Indiana and along the White River.

“We also talked with Dr. Kamal Islam, from Ball State University, about the beautiful little bird called the Cerulean Warbler, which makes Indiana its home for a few months on its way to Central and South America.”

Megan Dillon, an Urban Wildlife biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, is also featured in the program, talking about protecting and preserving habitats in your backyard and other residential areas. And Brad Feester, the director of the Indiana State Wildlife Action Plan ( SWAP), shares what is going on statewide to help in the management, conservation and enhancement of habitats and wildlife populations.

WIPB also partnered with Gordy Fine Art & Framing, Red-Tail Land Conservancy, Cope Environmental Center and Hayes Arboretum for preview screenings of “RARE – Creatures of the Photo Ark,” nature photo walks and a Rare INdiana Finds photo contest/exhibit.

The exhibit will open in Jan. 8 at Kennedy Library in Muncie. An opening reception is set for 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13. For more about exhibit, click here.

For more information about the project, contact Community Engagement Coordinator Michelle Kinsey at (765) 285-5887.

Rare Indiana Events:

June 25 – “Rare INdiana Walk,” led by Red-Tail Land Conservancy at McVey Memorial Forest in Randolph County. This free event is open to all and would be a perfect opportunity for snapping some cool nature photos for “Rare Indiana Finds,” a photo contest that encourages everyone to get outside and capture, on camera, creatures big and small. More Information »

July 11 – Preview screening of “RARE – Creatures of the Photo Ark” at the Cope Environmental Center, Centerville. Free and open to the public. Screening will be followed by a discussion, led by a Cope environmental expert, about an endangered species in that area.

Aug. 12  – A “Rare Indiana Walk” led by experts, Hayes Arboretum, Richmond. Free and open to the public. 10 a.m.

Sept. 1 – Deadline for “Rare Finds” photo submissions.

Dec. 7 – “Rare INdiana” premieres on WIPB.

Rare Local Heroes:

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Logan and Tim Carter

Tim Carter is an associate professor of biology at Ball State University. He is known to many as the Batman because of his focus  for the last 17 years on bats, specifically the Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis). 

His son, Logan, is a 13-year-old homeschooler who, like his dad, loves all things batty. Logan is a member of Bat Squad, an international group for kids that focuses on bat conservation.

Both Tim and Logan spend a lot of time speaking to groups about bats and bat conservation and are featured extensively in our Rare Indiana project.

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Joel Sartore
Photographer and Photo Ark Founder

Joel Sartore is a photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, National Geographic Fellow and a regular contributor to National Geographic Magazine. His hallmarks are a sense of humor and a Midwestern work ethic.

Sartore specializes in documenting endangered species and landscapes in order to show a world worth saving. He is the founder of The Photo Ark, a multi-year documentary project to save species and habitat.

In his words, “It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity. When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.”

Sartore has written several books, including RARE: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, Photographing Your Family, Nebraska: Under a Big Red Sky, and Let’s Be Reasonable. His most recent book, The Photo Ark, is now available wherever books are sold.

In addition to the work he has done for National Geographic, Sartore has contributed to Audubon Magazine, Time, Life, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and numerous book projects. He and his work are the subjects of several national broadcasts including National Geographic’s Explorer, the NBC Nightly News, NPR’s Weekend Edition and an hour-long PBS documentary, AT CLOSE RANGE. He is also a regular contributor on the CBS Sunday Morning Show with Charles Osgood.

Sartore is always happy to return to home base from his travels around the world. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, Kathy, and their three children.

Rare INdiana Local Partners:

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Renowned National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is a natural-born storyteller. His Photo Ark project is a digital “collection” of the world’s mammals, fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles and insects, and the focus of RARE—Creatures of the Photo Ark. This captivating new three-part series, produced by WGBH Boston and airing on PBS July 18, July 25, and August 1, follows Sartore as he documents threatened species at zoos, in nature preserves, and in the wild. Throughout RARE, scientists and naturalists reveal surprising and important information about why ensuring the future of these animals is so critical. Follow Sartore’s adventures at #RarePBS.

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Tips for Conservation:
What can you do?

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. Buy second-hand if you can. Think about ways you can repurpose an old item. This leads to less waste, less manufacturing resources consumed, and less energy used for transportation.
  • Be pollinator-friendly. You can help save butterflies, bees, birds, and other pollinators by planting local plants and milkweed in your garden at home and encouraging your neighborhood to do the same.
  • Get Involved. Join local groups that are doing good work for conservation. Take part in activities like clean-ups, tree plantings, and community gardens. Stay informed on environmental issues.
  • Learn as much as you can about your favorite animal so that you can form an educated opinion about the issues, and brainstorm how we can all coexist. 
  • Save energy. Little actions can lead to a big impact like turning off lights at home when you’re not in the room or using a reusable water bottle at work instead of plastic cups.
  • Know your food. Eat fresh, locally, and in season when you can—locally-produced food doesn’t need as much fuel to transport.
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