Wabash River Soundmaps

Commemorated in song, literary works, and place names, The Wabash River is the major drainage system in Indiana, amassing its water from streams and rivers from the northeast to the southwest corner of the the state. 

Thanks to two IAC Arts in the Parks grants, I visited three state parks along the river: Ouabache State Park and Mississinewa Lake and Salamonie Lake State Recreation Areas. As an artist in residence in 2019 and 2020, I made field recordings in the parks and in their surrounding communities and ecosystems. I also held workshops where participants recorded the seasonal sounds of the park, using digital recording equipment. All the sounds we recorded were added to the project soundmap. This activity is made possible with support by the Indiana Arts Commission, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and Sweetwater Sound Inc.

Listening to the Ouabache Soundmap 

Listening to the Oabache Soundmap

Listening to Our Watershed Soundmap

Listening to our Watershed Soundmap

Click on a soundmap above to listen to the recordings on


What the Water Remembered. Water is thought by some to retain a memory of the substances it passes through. What might spring water remember on its journey through the aquifer to the earth’s surface?  

Wabash River Soundscape. A compilation of field recordings made in the ecosystems and communities near the Wabash River, October 2019 and October 2020. 

Peru, Indiana Soundscape. Recorded on a summer night in 2020 on World Listening Day.

Soundwalk workshops

The experience of listening carefully to our surroundings can result in a deeper engagement with the environment. Sound is often considered the most influential of our senses, as it has a unique ability to trigger memory and emotion. Listening to sound can prompt a wide range of mental images and provide important information about our environment. My workshop explores a number of issues; our response to the specific aural environment, the possibility of creating a “portrait” of the place though its sounds, and our ability to learn and remember through sound.

Possible workshop activities:

  • An “ear cleaning” exercise to encourage focused listening
  • A guided soundwalk, where participants are asked to walk in silence and listen to the sounds in their immediate vicinity, then reflect on what they learned.
  • A brief introduction to audio recording equipment
  • Soundwalk recording sessions (generally conducted alone or in pairs)
  • Basic sound editing (if software is available)

The workshop’s length depends on the number of activities included.

Equipment provided:

  • 7 Zoom H1n Handy Recorders, Headphones, and Mini-tripods
  • Memory cards, batteries, notebooks

Contact me to learn more about how to bring this workshop to your school, park, or community center. 

Family participating in the Listening to the Oaubache soundscape workshop, Photo by Nyla Neffeler
Spring soundscape workshop: Listening to the Oaubache. Photo by Nyla Neffeler