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DAA: Sue A. Shadley

Sue A. Shadley

Indianapolis, IN | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2000

Sue Shadley believes in the magic of open spaces, cherishing equally the charms of her six and one-half forested acres in north Monroe County and the spells cast in the wilds of Africa. Preserving such riches is her life’s passion. “I felt so wonderful when I stood in the middle of African grasslands and realized how much land has been set aside,” says Shadley, who has .traveled twice to Africa. “We lose so much with every endangered species that disappears. Balancing human needs with wildlife needs is a critical, delicate task.” The leopard initially inspired Shadley’s visions of Africa and fueled her passion for wildlife. She studied the endangered species and researched laws to protect it for an undergraduate class project. “I knew someday I’d have to see this animal,” Shadley recalls. “My first trip to Africa, I saw wildebeest, hippopotamus, antelope, cheetahs-even giraffes running alongside the dirt runway when we landed in Nairobi-but no leopards. “I went back a few years ago and had to go all the way into Tanzania to see a leopard. But I saw one, sound asleep in a tree.” Closer to home, Shadley is slowly but steadily turning her property back to forest. Since buying the land in 1986, she’s planted about 500 White Pine, Norway Spruce and Red Pine, and an arboretum, situated along her creek, boasts 30 varieties. Shadley also is nurturing a flower garden planted a century ago by the property’s original owner. Under her green thumb, hundred-year-old rose bushes and peonies thrive. “I’ve always loved nature, animals, and the outdoors,” Shadley says. “Mom tells me that when I was a baby, all she’d have to do to keep me happy was to lay me under a tree and let me watch the leaves blow.”