Brunswick retirement celebration Saturday
Twenty years ago when local Department of Natural Resources professional Ken Brunswick first started to delve into the possibility of wetland development in southern Adams and northern Jay counties, he would have been more than satisfied to have 80 acres of land to develop into a wetland reserve.
Now, with 1,700 acres developing into wetland from Loblolly Marsh northeast to the Rainbow Bottom area close to the Ceylon Covered Bridge, Brunswick is more than happy to tip his hat to the next generation and those who are willing to move in after him.
Brunswick will be retiring from his position as of Dec. 31. A special reception open to the public to honor Brunswick will be held at the Limberlost Visitor’s Center from 1-3 p.m. this Saturday.
Also on Saturday, a special book sale in the visitor’s center will allow for the sale of gift shop items at a 20 percent discount.
Those areas composing the Limberlost projects include a bird sanctuary and “Music of the Wild” area located east of U.S. 27 on the Jay-Adams County Line Road. West of U.S. 27 is the Limberlost Swamp and Wetland Preserve. The Loblolly Marsh Nature Preserve is located southwest of Geneva in Jay County while the Rainbow Bottom area is located near the Ceylon Covered Bridge.
In 1992, the Limberlost Swamp Remembered project was founded along with backing from the Museum and Historic Sites of the State of Indiana.
Brunswick credited the Friends of the Limberlost, Jay Co. Soil and Water, Acres Land Trust and DNR Museums and Historic Sites for the initial launch of the Loblolly Marsh (preserve).
“Once we got together, we started talking about it,” recalled Brunswick. “I didn’t say too much but I was excited about it. Finally somebody asked the question, ‘how are we going to do this?’
“I raised my hand and I said, ‘I’ve got a plan. I had been working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service out of Bloomington surveying wetlands in Jay Co.,” continued Brunswick. “We already had a lot of the surveying done. We knew that we could do it. At that first meeting, I had all of the plans and Acres had the expertise on how to do land acquisition.”
In addition, local residents were invited to participate in a project where they could purchase one square foot of Limberlost Swamp. Those went on sale in June of 1993.
On June 1996, the upcoming historical group was able to purchase 188 acres of Loblolly Marsh wetland preserve. In 1997, they purchased another 240 acres, making 420 acres of Loblolly Marsh. Then, in 1998, the DNR Museums and Historical Sites hired Brunswick into the office where his reputation as one of the keenest DNR workers in the area emerged.
“When I was a child going to school in Ohio, I wanted to be an ornithologist,” said Brunswick. “I studied books and birds a lot, anything to do with birds and biology.
“I was discouraged from becoming an ornithologist because I was raised on a farm,” continued Brunswick. “I moved over here and lived here about six years when all of this started coming together for me again.”
These days, as retirement approaches in just a couple of weeks, Brunswick is aware of the fact that he has worked hard to develop trails that he hopes to enjoy on his own these days.
“I plan to hike the Loblolly Marsh,” Brunswick said. “I still have plenty to do; I want to spruce up the place and develop a bird sanctuary on my farm. I’ve gained some knowledge. I’m looking forward to it; farming and wildlife can come together.”
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