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Historical museum hosts presentation on Limberlost

NATURALIST AUTHOR: Gene Stratton-Porterwas an author, naturalist, photographer and film producer who lived from 1863 to 1924.

Curt Burnette, naturalist and program developer for the Limberlost State Historic Site in Geneva, Ind., comes to the Huntington County Historical Museum on Wednesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. Burnette will explore “Gene Stratton-Porter and Her Limberlost Legacy” with a PowerPoint presentation. 

Burnette’s presentation will include Stratton-Porter’s life story and career accomplishments, as well as a history of the Limberlost Swamp she wrote about – its destruction and modern rebirth.

Stratton-Porter, who lived from 1863 to 1924, was a self-trained best-selling American author, nature photographer and naturalist.

In 1917, Stratton-Porter used her position and influence as a popular, well-known author to urge legislative support for the conservation of Limberlost Swamp and other wetlands in the state of Indiana.

She was also a silent film-era producer who founded her own production company, Gene Stratton Porter Productions, in 1924. 

“She was prolific in her endeavors, writing and working to preserve wetlands,” said Richard Beemer, HCHM board member. He said he’s looking forward to Burnette’s presentation and learning more about Stratton-Porter.

Burnette began working at the Limberlost State Historic Site in January 2012, and brings an interesting background of his own.

He was born in central Illinois and grew up on a hog farm and grain elevator until his family moved to northwest Indiana when he was 14.

He graduated from Kankakee Valley High School near Demotte and went on to receive a bachelor of science degree in Wildlife Science from Purdue University.

After a few years of zoo work in Lafayette and Indianapolis, he headed south to New Orleans, where he remained for 22 years working at the Audubon Zoo, a nature center, an endangered species breeding center, a swamp tour, a nuisance animal control business, and part-time at a community college as a teacher.

Hurricane Katrina prompted his move back home again to Indiana, where he was a senior zookeeper at the Indianapolis Zoo for 4 1/2 years, before starting at the Limberlost site.

The upcoming program is one of a number that the historical museum will present this year.

“We want everyone to know that we offer entertaining and informative programs throughout the year,” said Beemer. 

Admission to Burnette’s presentation is free to members, and there is a small admission fee for nonmembers. Refreshments will be provided.

The Huntington County Historical Museum is located at 315 Court St. in Huntington. For more information, email huntingtonhistoricalmuseum@gmail.com or call 260-356-7264.