Bradford Woods

This past weekend brought us to Indiana University’s Bradford Woods for orienteering.  Bradford Woods is an interesting place.  The land was settled in the 1850s, by Joseph and Martha Bradford.  Their family discovered a type of sand that could be used to create steel molds in the late 1800s and began mining and selling the sand.  The land itself was deeded to IU in the 1930s and has grown into the outdoor recreation area it is now.  Access is limited, and you have to book time as part of a group event to visit.  The Indiana Crossroads Orienteering club booked the park for the orienteering event, so we had the opportunity to visit.  If you need to host an outdoors event, definitely consider it.

While searching for the control points (we found all of them in the intermediate course!), we happened upon this guy:

This is the one guy we beat to the finish on the orienteering course.

And there was another event happening at Bradford Woods this past weekend:

Brood X (Roman numeral ten) cicadas are periodical cicadas that emerge every 17 years in the eastern US.  We recall the last time they came out in 2004, when we lived in Maryland, which is another hotspot for brood X.

Cicadas come in two types – annual cicadas that come out every year and the periodical variety that come out every 13 or 17 years.  They begin their lives as nymphs, burrowing underground, where they grow to adulthood and emerge to mate.  They lay their eggs in trees, which hatch after 6 weeks, dropping the new generation of nymphs to the ground, where they burrow to repeat the 17-year cycle.  If you are wondering why they all come out at once, it is a survival adaptation known as prey satiation.  Their sheer numbers vastly exceed their predators, so plenty of individuals remain to breed.

These guys are completely harmless though – they do not bite or sting.

Brood X hotspots in yellow. Map courtesy of the US Forest Service

You can even take the opportunity to do a little citizen science by tracking them on Cicada Safari app.  Wooded areas are your best bet to find them, so enjoy their company while they’re here!

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