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Tippecanoe County outdoor happenings, week of August 11, 2014

Prairie restorations throughout the area are dotted with colorful flowers right now.
Prairie restorations throughout the area are dotted with colorful flowers right now.
Rosemary Halsema

This week’s Wednesdays in the Wild in the Wild is a bit of a change. The program will take place at the Purdue Beck Agronomy Center outside of West Lafayette (link). Jim Beaty, the property superintendent, will lead Purdue Prairie Walk there from 1-3 p.m.

This area was once part of a great prairie. Bison were common in the area at a time when Indians used it as a hunting ground. Today the prairie is being restored.

Woodlands are also within the Agronomy Center study area.

Jim will discuss how fire has affected this woodland and prairie section.

Enjoy the blossoms of the late summer prairie flowers.

Look to the Stars

This week the Perseids Meteor Shower (link) is at its peak. This meteor shower is one of the best showers for stargazers in the area. During the peak, a shooting star may be seen almost once a minute. The full moon and waning moon may make sightings more difficult this year. The cloudy weather has also made viewing difficult. At this point, Wednesday night is supposed to be clear; viewing would be optimum just before dawn.

The problem then becomes; where to watch the sky. In town, street lights may make it too bright to see many of the meteors. If you are camping at Prophetstown, most of the park is open enough for good viewing. Since most of the county parks are only open dawn to dusk, police may question stargazers.

Along the Wabash River, in areas where night fishing is allowed, stargazing may be done. Of course, if you have friends who live in the country, they may grant you permission to watch from their property.

Shades State Park and Raccoon Lake State Reservoir both have great viewing areas, but you do have to be camping at the park to stargaze.

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