Outdoors briefs for week of Jan. 3

Sign up for winter race at Valley Branch

VAN BUREN TWP. — Navigate the hills of Brown County Saturday, Jan. 6 during a six-hour orienteering race called the Frigid Rogaine at eXplore Brown County.

In a rogaine, participants use a map and compass to locate checkpoints. Some checkpoints are assigned a point value according to difficulty. The goal is to locate the most checkpoints and get the most points in the allotted time.

A free navigation clinic will be conducted from 11 a.m. to noon at 2620 Valley Branch Road.

Check-in will be from noon to 12:45 p.m. The three-part race will start at 1 p.m. and end at 7 p.m. For individuals or teams, the race costs $65 per person.

There is no set course, but there are three maps, given out one at a time. After finishing a loop with 10 checkpoints, participants return to the Harvest Hall to receive the next map. The heated hall will also have hot snacks and beverages.

Veteran racers can compete for bonus points and at a night event.

For more information, visit 361adventures.com/frigid or call 812-988-7750.

Guided tours of Salt Creek trail offered

David Rupp, owner of Indigo Birding Nature Tours, will lead winter morning walks down the Salt Creek Trail in January.

Guided walks are offered from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13 and Monday, Jan. 15. They will start with coffee and breakfast pastries at the new Brown County Visitors Center, 211 S. Van Buren St.

Each walk costs $5 per person. All ages are welcome.

For more information or to sign up, visit browncounty.com/store or call the Visitors Center at 812-988-7303 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Register for scavenger-style hike at park

The Winter Hike at Brown County State Park will take a scavenger hunt approach on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Registration will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Nature Center. Participation costs $5. Hikers will get a scorecard and map and head out into the park to create their own hike route.

Certain points at the park will have alpha-numeric codes, and each code is worth a set number of points. Completed score cards will be due at the Nature Center by 3 p.m.

First, second, and third place prizes will be presented at 4 p.m. Prizes include a 2018 Indiana state parks pass. Participants don’t have to be present to win.

For more information, call 812-988-5240.

Sign up for run, walk in state park

The Brown County YMCA’s Frosty Trails 5-Mile run or walk through Brown County State Park will start at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13.

The race starts just outside the Rally Campground parking lot on a new, 5.2-mile course route. Afterward, participants can enjoy a fire, warm food and warm drinks inside the Recreation Building shelter house in the campground area.

The race cost varies between $20 and $30, depending on entry date and other details. Before Jan. 5, registration is $20. Online registration ends at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11.

Early packet pickup and late race registration will take place at Big Woods Pizza Company, 44 S. Van Buren St., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12. Late registration on race day is from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and costs $30.

For more information, visit signmeup.com/site/online-event-registration/123116 or call the YMCA at 812-988-9622.

Sign up to become a master naturalist

An Indiana Master Naturalist program will be offered from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 6 to March 27 at the Brown County Soil & Water Conservation District office at the fairgrounds.

Registration costs $50 per person or $75 per couple in the same household. Registration and payment are due by 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2 at the SWCD office, 802 Memorial Drive.

The class will bring together natural resource specialists with students to foster learning and understanding of state plants, wildlife, water and soil. It also will promote volunteerism in the community.

For more information, stop by the SWCD office weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free running club open to all levels

Brown County Runners, a club open to all paces, plans free weekly runs on trails and roads in and around Brown County.

The club runs most Wednesdays at 6 p.m., usually in Brown County State Park and often does a Saturday or Sunday morning run at one of the parks or forests.

Runs are posted at meetup.com/Brown-County-Runners-Meetup.

Help save Indiana ash trees with donation

The Indiana Parks Alliance is collecting donations to help save ash trees on Indiana public lands from the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that’s killed tens of millions of these trees since 2002.

Emerald ash borer has been documented in all 92 Indiana counties, the parks alliance reports. Ash trees once took up 15 to 20 percent of the state’s forests; but without aggressive action, 95 percent of all Indiana ash trees will be lost within 10 years, the group has said.

Donations to the Indiana Parks Alliance will help cover the cost of treating ash trees and killing the bugs. A special insecticide is injected into holes drilled near ground level. It’s a type that won’t harm pollinators like honeybees, said Tom Hohman, president of the parks alliance.

It costs about $10 per inch of diameter to treat a tree, he said. The group is trying to raise $20,000.

“If we can find good ones in great shape, we’d like to save them,” he said. It takes awhile for trees to mature enough to drop seeds, and the group wants to make sure the tree species isn’t lost.

To donate or to learn more, visit indianaparksalliance.org.