October 30, 2009

Benedictine monk is inducted into Indiana Conservation Hall of Fame

Benedictine Father Damian Schmelz, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad and the pastor of St. Henry Parish in St. Henry, Ind., in the Evansville Diocese, is among the first group to be inducted into the Indiana Conservation Hall of Fame.

The inaugural class was honored at a banquet on Sept. 25 at The Garrison at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis. The Natural Resources Foundation and the Indiana Wildlife Federation co-hosted the event.

The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals, living or deceased, who have made extraordinary contributions to the conservation and preservation of natural, cultural and historical heritage.

Since 1976, Father Damian has been a member of the Indiana Natural Resources Commission.

Father Damian is also known for his research on Indiana old-growth forests.

As chairman of a blue ribbon committee assigned to study controlled deer hunts in Brown County State Park near Nashville, Father Damian and other state wildlife experts determined that the hunts would thin deer herds and prevent destruction to the flora of the state park.

Father Damian taught biology at the former Saint Meinrad High School and College for nearly 40 years. †

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