Historic Site Honors Hoosier 'Poet of the Woods'

By Eric Olson

April 13, 2011 Updated Apr 13, 2011 at 12:35 PM EST

ROME CITY, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--THE GENE STRATTON PORTER HISTORIC SITE NEAR ROME CITY OPENS FOR THE SEASON TOMORROW, ONE OF THE LOCAL SIGNS OF SPRING. IT WAS HERE A HUNDRED YEARS AGO BY SPARKLING SYLVAN LAKE THAT PORTER WORKED ON MANY OF THE BOOKS THAT WOULD MAKE HER FAMOUS…AND CHANGE THE LANDSCAPE OF NORTH AMERICA.

Barb: She was bold and curious, and she saw the world with fresh eyes.

PORTER GREW UP ON THIS FARM NEAR LAGRO INDIANA..BECAME ENAMOURED OF NATURE AND AS AN ADULT STUDIED, PHOTOGRAPHED AND COLLECTED THE PLANTS AND ANIMALS AROUND SYLVAN LAKE AND IN THE SWAMPLANDS NEAR HER OTHER HOME IN GENEVA INDIANA…SHE’S ON SUCH AN EXCURSION HERE, THE RUNNING BOARDS OF HER CAR OVERFLOWING WITH SPECIMENS. PORTER PUBLISHED HER FINDINGS IN NUMEROUS NATURE BOOKS, PLEADING FOR AN END TO THE RAMPANT DEVELOPMENT THAT FOLLOWED THE CIVIL WAR.

Barb: It’s her mission that we have to slow the destruction of the beauty of the land and we need to preserve what we have and protect it for future generations.

AUBURN AUTHOR BARBARA OLENYIK MORROW HAS JUST PUBLISHED A NEW BIOGRAPHY..’NATURE’S STORYTELLER..THE LIFE OF GENE STRATON PORTER’. SHE SAYS PORTER’S ENVIRONMENTAL MESSAGE DIDN’T CATCH ON UNTIL SHE BEGAN WRITING NOVELS, ‘THE GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST’ AND OTHERS…THAT BECAME WILDLY POPULAR. FIVE OF HER BOOKS SOLD MORE THAN A MILLION COPIES. THEIR EFFECT WAS PROFOUND, FUELING THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT OF THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY THAT GAVE BIRTH TO THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, NUMEROUS NATURE PRESERVES AND WILDLIFE REFUGES. WE ARE SURROUNDED TODAY BY THE FRUITS OF HER EFFORT.

GENE STRATTON PORTER DIED BEFORE HER TIME..IN A CAR CRASH IN CALIFORNIA IN 1924 AT AGE 61. SHE RESTS HERE TODAY, ON THE SHORE OF SYLVAN LAKE…A FEW YARDS FROM THE BELOVED HOME WHERE SHE WROTE THE BOOKS THAT CHANGED OUR WORLD FOR THE BETTER, IMPROVING THE LIVES OF ALL OF US WHO CAME AFTER.




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