Natural Heritage of Indiana

The Inspiration for the Natural Heritage of Indiana Project:

This project--consisting of a four-part documentary series, educational materials, a public conference, book republication, podcasts, lesson plans, and more--reflects the vision of the 1997 publication, The Natural Heritage of Indiana, edited by Marion T. Jackson.

DVD cover

auoteMarion Jackson described his vision for the book The Natural Heritage of Indiana as “a celebration of Indiana’s natural heritage—its natural and human history, its landscape and its life—what it once was, what it is now, and what it promises to be.” He emphasizes the importance of understanding the past to prepare “us better to mold Indiana’s future.” He issued this challenge: “if you feel moved to help protect what remains of Indiana’s natural heritage, our objective will have been fulfilled.”

The series shares that mission. Documentary filmmaker Samuel Orr has spent more than two years, and has traveled thousands of miles to bring the landmark book to television in a four-part documentary series. The programs are produced in stunning high definition, and reveal their subjects through breathtaking photography, time-lapse cameras and innovative camera placement.

The first episode, The Indiana That Was, was originally broadcast in late 2007. That program has since been recognized by the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists as one of the best documentaries of 2007, and has received two Emmy nominations.
Read more about recognition for The Natural Heritage of Indiana »


Purchase the 2 DVD set: $30.00 reatail now offering a 20% discount with $3.00 for shipping by emailing the Indiana Historical Bureau.

Aerial view of Indiana

Episode One: The Indiana That Was

From ancient seas and coral reefs, to Ice-Age glaciation, the first program will explore the massive changes in Indiana's landscape, as well as the plants and animals that developed over these periods. Just 250 years ago, the area was vastly different than the land we know today. Witness what the state once looked like, with vast forests and prairies, and a huge diversity of what now seem like exotic species.

Waters

Episode Two: Life in the Water

Indiana is bordered by two great water systems: Lake Michigan to the north and the Ohio River to the south. Throughout the state, entire ecosystems are built around rivers, streams and wetlands. In some areas, water exists for only parts of the year, but during those times, there is an amazing explosion of activity. This documentary takes viewers into these habitats, where they will witness the diversity of life that exists. Sometimes, the life cycles take place on a nearly microscopic level. Elsewhere, the program reveals prehistoric looking fish and amphibians that still inhabit the landscape, as well as spectacular waterfowl.

Prairie Chicken

Episode Three: Life on Land

In a landscape once covered by glaciers and dominated by forests and prairies, much of Indiana is now the domain of humans, who use the land for agriculture and industry. But look into the woods and the wild places (and sometimes in small tracts of land near these developed areas), and you'll still find a surprising diversity of plant and animal life. Producer/photographer Samuel Orr travels into the state's forests and caves, and reveals a land teeming with sometimes strange and beautiful plants and trees, and the birds and beasts that share these habitats. Among the highlights of this episode: the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, and its amazing migration from Indiana to Mexico.

Suburbs

Episode Four: A Changing Landscape

This program will focus on the alteration of the natural landscape of Indiana by humans, the consequences to native systems and organisms, and the coming of conservation and ecological study and stewardship. Much has been altered, but there are stories of hope, as well. This program will show how certain species that had been driven from the state have made successful returns, and how individuals and communities are taking important steps in restoring habitat and combating the insidious problem of invasive species.


Nature in the Indiana Classroom Are you a teacher wishing to incorporate nature into your curriculum? Teachers of all subjects and all ages--from history to science to english, K-12--will benefit from this selection of Natural Heritage of Indiana lesson plans. What makes this resource so useful? We've combed the existing shared lesson plans, chosen a variety of lessons, and assigned Indiana State Standards appropriate to each lesson. In addition to the classroom guides, there are links to other useful teaching sites and programs. More »

Buy the 2 DVD Set Documentary filmmaker Samuel Orr has spent more than two years, and has traveled thousands of miles to bring the landmark book to television in a four-part documentary series. The programs are produced in stunning high definition, and reveal their subjects through breathtaking photography, time-lapse cameras and innovative camera placement. To order, email the Indiana Historical Bureau.
More »

  Major funding for the project was provided by:
NHI Funders

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