Spared: Vietnam veteran uses writing, interpretation as therapy to cope

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Earl Evans interprets at Conner Prairie’s Lenape Camp as a storyteller and easily captures visitors’ attention with his intriguing tales.

By Hannah Kiefer
To many who know him, interpreter Earl Evans may seem like one of the luckiest men alive. He served in the Army in Vietnam as a flight engineer on Chinook helicopters from 1968-1969. His helicopters were shot down, one nearly landed on a bomb and an explosive even went off near where he slept one night, throwing him 20 feet in the air.

Earl has shared his experiences in his book, “Just Me and He.” But, if you ask him about his experiences, he’ll tell you there was more than luck to his story of survival.

“Basically, for 30-plus years, I’ve understood that I was kind of special,” Earl said. “And what I mean by that is I should’ve been killed many times. I wasn’t a Christian when I went over to Vietnam but I was when I came back. I understood there’s more to it than just luck.”

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Meet the artist behind some unique Treetop Outpost artwork: Greg Adams

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Hoosier artist Greg Adams works to install one of several willow structures around Conner Prairie’s new Treetop Outpost experience, which opens July 1.

By Hannah Kiefer
When visitors enter the new Treetop Outpost after it opens July 1, they’ll notice several pieces of artwork by Hoosier Greg Adams. He’s created several willow structures to serve as interactive projects in the art activity area of the experience.

Greg’s artwork has always included natural elements that blend whimsical with functional. In 1983, his work began with grapevine wreaths and willow baskets. For his projects, he collects materials himself and constructs items by hand.

“I determined I would pursue the idea of bringing the outdoors inside and that idea drives me to this day,” he said. For Treetop Outpost, he constructed several spires and a shelter, all woven with black willow native to Indiana. Continue reading

31 days until Treetop Outpost opens; members get a sneak peek

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The new Treetop Outpost at Conner Prairie opens July 1; museum members can get a sneak peek from 9-10 a.m. that morning while the general public can explore the new experience beginning at 10 a.m. as part of general admission to Conner Prairie.

Staff Report
Thirty-one days. Just 31 of them. That’s when central Indiana’s newest outdoor destination opens at Conner Prairie. And that’s Treetop Outpost, a unique place in the woods where visitors can immerse themselves in nature, work with their hands with nature and learn about nature’s role in history.

Treetop Outpost is a 6,000-square-foot area carved into the forest on the southwest end of our property, west of the Covered Bridge and Civil War Journey. When it opens to the general public at 10 a.m. July 1, here’s what visitors will see:

  • A treehouse that’s four stories tall – that’s 45 feet
  • Areas to dig, explore natural materials, create art and fill the forest with music
  • A 30-foot suspension and an elevating walkway that leads into the treehouse
  • Nature all around – plus a scenic view of the White River
  • A revamped Nature Walk connected to Treetop Outpost, allowing visitors to explore a trail by a levee that leads to our Lookout over the prairie

We’ll open an hour earlier July 1 for members only to be the first to experience Treetop Outpost; our entire grounds will open an hour early that day, too.

Treetop Outpost is an official Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project as part of the Bicentennial Nature Center Network, a statewide coalition created to ensure that all Hoosier youth have access to environmental education and creative outdoor experiences within 60 miles of where they live.