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Only Natural

Blatchley Nature Study Club Turns 100

Writer / Renee Larr
Photography Provided

For the past 100 years, the Blatchley Nature Study Club has been dedicated to promoting appreciation, preservation and respect for the environment through education and fellowship. According to President Rick Towle, this really just means the members love nature.

Blatchley Nature Study ClubOn April 8, 1922, the club was founded by Noblesville resident Dr. Earl Brooks, and was initially known as Hamilton County Nature Club. The name changed in 1941 to the Blatchley Nature Study Club. In the years since, the club has grown to more than 100 members.

The group meets at a clubhouse built in 1965, hidden in northern Noblesville on a 15-acre nature preserve that Towle calls an island refuge in the midst of the development of housing and businesses surrounding it.

When I joined the club about 17 years ago, the area was very rough,” Towle says. The trails were simply dirt. Over the years weve worked to make it more accessible while also keeping it as natural as possible.”

Members meet once per month, and include an educational component with the social element. The club brings in speakers each month to educate members on nature-related topics. Past presentations include a history of the clubs namesake, Willis Blatchley, who was an entomologist, malacologist, geologist and author.

Giving back to the local community is a high priority for group members. They participated in the White River Cleanup in September.

The club also offers outdoor events for members. One of the more memorable events for Towle was creating art with worms. Members took worms, placed them in paint, and allowed them to wriggle around on a canvas.

We have a creek that runs through the property, so in the past weve done creek studies, hiking and wildflower walks,” Towle says. We plant trees occasionally, if necessary.”

The wildflower walks showcase more than 40 species of wildflowers and more than 25 species of trees on the property. The walks also serve as a membership drive for the relatively unknown club.Blatchley Nature Study Club

Potential members can join us at a meeting or an event to learn more about membership,” Towle says. A long time ago, new members were pretty heavily vetted and voted on, with some people not getting in. Now, its a pretty simple membership process, and no secret handshakes are involved.”

For the clubs centennial celebration, Towle wants to spread the word about the club to local residents to encourage more involvement. Their most recent nature walk showcased a barred owl, several local birds, foxes and, of course, wildflowers.

The club is located at 125 Boulder Drive in Noblesville. Membership fees vary. For more information, visit Blatchley Nature Study Club on Facebook.

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