Our purpose is to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the parks and to educate the public about this heritage.
We work within the overall mission of the Division of Natural Resources to:
-protect the beauty and ecological health of the parks
-provide interpretive activities that increase the public's appreciation of the parks’ natural and cultural resources
-preserve the parks’ historical assets, and
-conduct scientific and historical research
Some working groups prefer to focus on the cultural history:
Lusk Home - This 1840's mansion on the banks of Sugar Creek was the home of the Lusk family who owned the land that became Turkey Run State Park. Much of the home has been restored and tours are available most weekends during the spring and summer into early fall. One room is still to be restored and ongoing preservation work is needed. One of our Friends has been trained as a volunteer Interpretive Naturalist and the tour schedule has been extended due to her efforts.
Pioneer Garden - Each Spring seeds that would have been planted in Indiana gardens in the mid- to late-1800's are tucked in among the perennial herbs and vegetables at the Lusk garden. The garden design, planting, and maintenance follow the practices used in the 1800's. The produce is available throughout the summer to visitors who are lucky enough to be around when the volunteers are working.
Others are more engaged in the preservation of the natural resources:
Invasive eradication is an ongoing project at Shades and Turkey Run State Parks. We are always seeking more volunteers who will help dig, hack, pull, spray and otherwise decimate colonies of garlic mustard and honeysuckle, and clumps of autumn olive and other invasive plants that crowd out our native species. Though invasive removal may sound like work, it affords you the opportunity to have an up close and personal interaction with the parks.
For instance, the Woods Poppy is an uncommon plant that occurs primarily in mesic (habitats that have a modest amount of water) deciduous woodlands, including the bottom of ravines and the base of bluffs. This species is found in high quality woodlands and it is one of the woodland wildflowers most threatened by the invasion of bush honeysuckle and other plant species alien to Indiana's forests.
Trail brushing is another ongoing commitment by the Friends to establish natural barriers to redirect users to stay on marked trails rather than damaging fragile drainage and other ecosystems with off-trail use. Visitors may go off trail to go around a mud puddle or to shorten a hike, but doing so is extremely harmful to delicate areas. By positioning brush over trail breakthroughs such actions are discouraged.