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About Friends of Goose Pond

Our Mission

Friends of Goose Pond (FoGP) supports wildlife conservation and habitat restoration at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Greene County Indiana through environmental education, scientific research and recreational activities and programs.

Our Vision

Goose Pond is a wildly diverse global ecosystem inspiring, educating and providing recreation for all.

Friends of Goose Pond (FoGP) was established to support the goals of wildlife conservation and habitat restoration at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area through environmental education, scientific research and recreational activities and programs.

We encourage you to browse our site, learn of our activities, and plan a visit to the area. We are pleased at the success the wetland restoration has achieved in such a short time and are encouraged at the abundance of bird and wildlife species that are using the area. Our activities include Marsh Madness scheduled for early spring in conjunction with the annual Sandhill Crane migration, Community Birding Days, Wild- flower Walks, Dove Hunts, School Field Trips, Clean-up Days, a photo contest, hat sales and the annual Goose Pond Calendar.

Description

Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area is dedicated to providing quality hunting, wildlife viewing and trapping opportunities while maintaining 8,064 acres of prairie and marsh habitat.

The Friends of Goose Pond began meeting as an informal alliance comprised of diverse supporters of the new Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area. We convened within months of the Indiana DNR purchase of the restored wetland and grassland property from its former owner in late 2005, thereby founding the FWA. The Friends group initially operated under the aegis of the Greene County Foundation. We become an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2007. The Friends took as its organizational logo a stylized image of a Sandhill Crane flying toward a wetland habitat. The flying crane is on the right, and the cattails on the left stand as a shorthand for restored wetlands. The logo has provided a focal point for several of our group efforts and our sense of mission.

Why Sandhills? Sandhill Cranes are big, showy, dramatic, charismatic, and easy to see and hear. They are arguably along with Bald Eagles the most graphic and visible evidence of the difference made for Greene County by the new Goose Pond wetland restoration. Prior to 1997 there were no Sandhill Crane records in the Greene County bird database. Now the current high count is a staggering 25,953 Sandhills at Goose Pond FWA on March 20, 2013. The avian world of Greene County has changed.

The crane logo also celebrates a remarkable conservation recovery across the whole Eastern Greater Sandhill Crane range. By the mid 1930s the Eastern Greater Sandhill Crane population had declined to around 50 individuals. The decline occurred because of unregulated hunting and loss of wetland habitats in the breeding, migratory, and wintering ranges. Conservation efforts and alliances and better regulations affecting water, wetlands, and hunting opened the pathways to recovery. Wetland habitat conservation helped the recovery as well. By 2014 the US Fish and Wildlife Service Fall population survey index for Eastern Greater Sandhill Cranes was 83,479 individuals. The new restored Goose Pond FWA wetlands have played a significant role in supporting that large recovery.

Friends of Goose Pond circulates its crane logo on hats and other gear. In early March of 2010 the organization launched its first annual Marsh Madness Sandhill Crane Festival. We timed the Festival to show off the Goose Pond wetland success with waterfowl and the general recovery of the charismatic migrating Sandhills. The Festival usually has abundant migratory waterfowl such as Snow Geese and Northern Pintails. They are usually staging by the thousands during late winter and early spring along with the cranes and waiting for the ice to go out to the north. This is an especially exciting time of the year for large numbers of birds.

Peter Matthiessen in his book Birds of Heaven: Travels with Cranes (2001) calls cranes an “umbrella species” whose protection in the wild also protects a wide range of other flora and fauna (p xiv). Cranes become a condensed metaphor for all of biodiversity. We in effect regard Sandhill Cranes that way too.

The organization’s Mission Statement reads: “Friends of Goose Pond (FoGP) supports wildlife conservation and habitat restoration at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Greene County, Indiana through environmental education, scientific research and recreational activities and programs.” Showing off Cranes is one way of accomplishing all of that. The Marsh Madness Festival has held educational and scientific presentations about cranes and other aspects of biodiversity. Cranes serve as a conservation icon. Cranes help to foster a conservation ethic.