Spotlight on Sugar Creek | review review

Did you know that our very own Sugar Creek begins in a field near Kempton, Indiana, which is located in Tipton County? It passes through Tipton, Clinton, Boone, Montgomery, and Parke counties until it joins the Wabash River. The Wabash, of course, joins the Ohio, the Ohio to the Mississippi, the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, and thence to the Atlantic Ocean. Even a slight change in conditions in this small field in Tipton County, Indiana could affect the Sugar Creek that runs through our own backyards. Likewise, our local environment and the ways we choose to interact with the stream could have ramifications further downstream in our state, our nation, and our world.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the library recently received a grant to develop a series of programs for Indiana Humanities’ One State/One Story initiative. Indiana Humanities chose “World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil for this year’s book. This work is about reflecting on the natural world and making connections to deeper, more personal experiences. While these experiences are unique to the author, they are also universal in their themes and invite us as readers to connect with her through our own lives. The series of programs we have developed to accompany the book is called “Nurturing Through Nature: One People, One Planet”. Just as one drop of water joins another and then another in a field in Kempton, Indiana, we are also connected to each other through our mutual experiences and our shared environment.

Our first event for our program features just one of the many ways we are connected in this community in a physical and tangible way, and one that I have already noted: our region’s main waterway, Sugar Creek. Join us at the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County on April 21 from 7-8 p.m. as we engage in community conversation with a panel of local conservation experts and Sugar Creek enthusiasts. We’ll talk about the challenges facing the creek, how our individual and collective actions impact the creek, and what we can do to responsibly help and enjoy the creek.

Alongside this event, a special exhibition will take place on the second floor of the library from April 15 to May 15. Since conservation and environmental responsibility is both an individual and a community topic, and since every action we take impacts ourselves and others around us, the display will feature local and global topics. We’ll have a section dealing exclusively with Sugar Creek: its history and formation, its unique attributes, and some of the ways we like to interact with it, such as hiking, canoeing, and fishing. Many of these articles will be pulled from our local history section and cannot be verified, but will be available for customers to browse and explore internally. Foreground and center will be Dick Munro’s iconic 2012 Paddling Sugar Creek from the Source to the Wabash (RL 977.24 Mun, internal use only). Among the books that will be available at checkout are “The Practical Handbook of Kayaking and Canoeing” (797.122 Mat) and “Gather at the River: 25 Authors on Fishing” (808.83 Gat).

It’s no coincidence that our first big event was scheduled so close to Earth Day (April 22). Every action we take impacts our local and global environment, so we’ll also explore easy, eco-friendly changes we can make to our way of life that seem small but collectively can make a big difference. Some of these topics include moving towards low or even zero waste consumption; find out how in “How to Go (Almost) Zero Waste: 150+ Steps to a More Sustainable Life at Home, School, Work and Beyond” (640.286 et). You probably knew that large-scale farming practices can impact the local environment, but did you know that how you maintain your lawn and garden can affect it too? Learn about safe alternatives to lawn and garden care and the incorporation of native plants and landscapes in “Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Garden” (635.9 Tal ). And “The Climate Diet: 50 Simple Ways to Trim Your Carbon Footprint” (363.70525 Gre) will help you re-evaluate many aspects of your life, from what you buy, how you eat and how you choose to travel.

CDPL and CMMC are delighted to bring you this first of a series of special programs this year. We hope you can join our community conversation about Sugar Creek from 7-8 p.m. April 21 at the Carnegie Museum, and also stop by the library anytime April 15-May 15 to see our exhibit on how we can contribute to a healthy local and global environment. See you later.

Amanda Grossman is assistant director of references and local history at the Crawfordsville District Public Library.

Rachel J. Bradford