Two renowned researchers, a noted bird watcher, an outdoor writer, and four others active in preserving historic or natural resources make up the third class of inductees to the Indiana Conservation Hall of Fame.
The list includes Ian Rolland of Fort Wayne, Richard Ford of Wabash, and Kenn Kaufman of Rocky Ridge, Ohio. The other five – all deceased – are Durward Allen, William “Bill” Barnes, Louis H. Dunten, David Starr Jordan, and “Bayou” Bill Scifres.
The eight new members will be honored at a luncheon Oct. 17 at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis. The public event is from noon to 1:30 p.m. and sponsored by Proliance. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by calling 317-233-1002.
The Indiana Conservation Hall of Fame is a joint project of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. Previous inductees include Col. Richard Lieber, father of the Indiana state parks system; Charles C. Deam, Indiana’s first forester; author and naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter; and U.S. President Benjamin Harrison.
“I was very surprised,” Rolland said upon learning of the recognition for his work in both environmental and historical preservation. “It’s certainly flattering. It’s an important honor and there are a lot of people out there that I’m sure deserve to be recognized, so it’s flattering to be inducted.”
Rolland, who worked for more than 40 years at Lincoln Financial in Fort Wayne, has been involved in land conservation on a statewide scale through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, Indiana Heritage Trust and The Nature Conservancy. He also played a lead role in securing the Lincoln Foundation’s collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia for the Indiana State Museum and the Allen County Public Library.
- Allen (1910-1997) was a wildlife research biologist and Purdue University professor who launched the study of wolf-moose interplay at Isle Royale National Park in 1958. The study continues today as the longest-running project of its kind in the world. Allen began his professional career with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and later with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. His book “Our Wildlife Legacy” was published in 1954 and was a standard college textbook for more than 20 years.
- Barnes (1908-2007) had a 37-year career with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and its predecessor, the Department of Conservation. As the agency’s federal aid coordinator, he helped obtain funding to establish Glendale, Hovey Lake, Pigeon River, and Willow Slough fish & wildlife areas. He became the first director of DNR Nature Preserves in 1967 and dedicated 44 nature preserves over the next 10 years.
- Dunten (1889-1976) joined the Izaak Walton League of America in its infancy in the 1920s and became a state and national figure in the conservation organization over the next 50-plus years. A Fort Wayne attorney, he was elected national IWLA president in 1955, spent six years on the national executive board, and served on the first board of directors of the National Wildlife Federation. He is credited with roles in IWLA campaigns to create the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyo., and establish the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
- Ford has helped revitalize his hometown of Wabash by restoring the past through the renovation of the Dr. James Ford Historic Home, Charley Creek Inn, Charley Creek Gardens, and converting an abandoned storefront in downtown into the new home of the Wabash County Historical Museum. He is former chair of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and recipient of the Cook Cup, presented by Indiana Historic Landmarks for dedication to historic preservation.
- Jordan (1851-1931) was an educator, researcher, naturalist, university administrator, peace activist, and philosopher. He became the youngest president of Indiana University in 1885, accepting the post on the condition he could continue field studies of fish. His research described and named nearly 1,000 species and formed the basis for “Fishes of North and Middle America,” one of 50 books he authored on a variety of subjects. Jordan left IU in 1891 to become president of Stanford University. He was a charter member of the Sierra Club and a member of that group’s board of directors for 12 years.
- Kaufman took to bird watching as a 6-year-old in South Bend. After his family moved to Kansas, he dropped out of high school at age 16 to hitchhike across North American on an obsessive quest for birds. He describes his 80,000-mile journey, which included sighting 671 birds in a single year, in his 1997 book “Kingbird Highway.” Kaufman also authored “The Peterson Guide to Advanced Birding” and later launched his own guidebook series. Twice honored with the American Birding Association’s lifetime achievement awards, he is a frequent contributor to several birding magazines.
- Scifres (1925-2009) was known to readers of his “Lines and Shots” outdoor columns in The Indianapolis Star simply as “Bayou Bill,” a nickname adopted from his childhood days wandering the Muscatatuck River backwaters in southeastern Indiana. Shortly after he was hired as the Star’s police beat reporter in 1953, Scifres became the paper’s outdoor columnist and wrote thousands of columns and features over the next 45 years. He was named a legendary communicator by the National Freshwater Hall of Fame and elected president of the Hoosier Outdoor Writers an unprecedented six times.