The endangered Indiana bat
Ecosystems are upheld by each and every part of the whole, and even one small shift shakes the entire system. The endangered Indiana bat provides insect control, pollination, and spreads seeds for increased plant growth. In fact, the US Forest Service values bats overall at $23-54 billion annually for the US agriculture market due to pest control and fertilization. The Indiana bat became endangered due to cave disruption and the harvesting of shagbark hickory trees, their favorite summer habitat.
Traditionally, shagbark hickory wood is very hard, perfect for ax handles, baseball bats, and durable furniture. The fragrant smoke from the wood also flavors meat and its nuts are a perfect food for small animals. As the tree has so many uses, they are often cut down, leaving the Indiana bat without a summer roost. Bats prefer trees with larger diameters, and as hickories are slow-growing, it is especially important to preserve, protect, and cultivate these trees in our local forests.
Here at OFS, we are all part of a culture with a deep respect for the natural world, and we understand that our prosperity depends on the health and availability of our resources. Protecting our natural places and facilitating biodiversity are essential factors in our continuous growth and sustainability. As managers of 7,000 acres of forest in Southern Indiana, OFS helps preserve Shagbark Hickory trees—and the Indiana bat along with them. This is one way that we support the local ecosystem that supports us.
For this month's giveaway, we invite you to enjoy the beauty of nature with us...
To further celebrate our commitment to the environment, one of our designers at OFS's Blue House Studio, Ashley Verkamp, has been busy this year illustrating the unique qualities of our Cool Springs Education Center in Huntingburg, IN. This sprawling, mostly forested campus is named for the historical ground spring on the property. On any given day there, you can find the endangered Indiana bat nestling beneath the protective bark of our hickory trees or a red-bellied woodpecker acting as an ecosystem engineer, carving out future tree cavity nesting sites for a wide variety of wildlife. These are just a few things that bring together the Cool Springs experience and make Southern Indiana so unforgettable.
Take a look at the details and thought process that went into designing these fun stickers and follow along throughout the year to grab artwork to have fun with. Check out the Indiana endangered bat below and download free digitized art.
HOW TO GET THE ART:
1. Download bat art by clicking the button below.
HOW TO SHARE:
1. Place in a frame at your desk or in your office.
2. Hang with unique items to create a gallery wall. Don't forget the washi tape!
3. Save as your screensaver.
You can read more about the Indiana bat through The National Wildlife Federation. How can you support your local ecosystem? If you would like to help protect America's wildlife, consider donating to preservation organizations that actively protect endangered species.
Meet the Illustrator: Ashley Verkamp grew up in Ferdinand, Indiana. She attended the School of Visual Arts and graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design with a BFA in illustration. Since then, Ashley's work has included roles as a freelance illustrator, designer, layout artist, senior art manager, and art director. Growing up in the rural countryside as a child had a profound impact on Ashley, and presently, much of her work centers around themes of nature and wildlife. This has also fueled an interest in sustainability and green building methods, which inspired her to build an energy-efficient straw-bale home.
Currently, Ashley works at OFS as a member of the Blue House Studio design team. Her illustration work can be viewed on her website at ashleyverkamp.myportfolio.
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Don't forget to click the link to download the illustration and follow along each month to grab more!