Lee Casebere at Mounds State Park

A Pitch to Join the Land Trust

Guest post by Lee Casebere

I’ve always been interested in nature. Curiosity about the “goings on” of nature is in my blood, my bones, and my soul. For that, I consider myself one of the lucky ones to whom it came naturally. I’m fortunate that it has remained important to me my entire life.

I grew up in a small agricultural community. Although I was a “townie,” I had plenty of access to natural lands within minutes of home. My Grandmother Casebere owned 80 acres of land, about half of it woodland. My Grandfather and Grandmother Herman were farmers who owned a woodland with a stream, as well as other interesting natural features of interest to a budding nature buff. During my formative years, I spent a lot of time exploring my grandparents’ properties.

One of the things I love about the Central Indiana Land Trust is that it provides access to nature on a more local level, being more accessible than driving a couple hours or more to get to a larger state park or national forest. The experiences that were available to me in my home community are not available to most people since they don’t have grandparents who own a woods less than ten minutes away.

And as natural areas continue to be destroyed by the ongoing march of progress, the land trust buys land to save it from such destruction, making it available for public use and enjoyment.

Nature is essential for our very existence and people need it far more than nature needs people. We depend on it for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the products that give us shelter and warmth. But beyond the roles it plays in providing those basic, essential products and services, it also provides us with benefits impossible to measure monetarily, such as beauty, solace, and peace of mind beyond the grip of stressful, consumptive lives.

I need the “fix” that comes from frequent immersion in nature. I need to know who my neighbors are…the plants, the animals. We can all benefit from that. The more we know about where we are from and what makes nature operate, the more we care about it and the more likely we are to react to threats that degrade or destroy it. Enjoying land trust properties can help play a role in keeping us sane and grounded, and less focused on the frivolous diversions of modern life.

Give the land trust a try. Walk their trails or get dirt under your fingernails on one of their workdays. Go on scheduled nature hikes to learn what’s supposed to be here and what’s not. Assist with management aimed at healing the adverse effects of non-native, invasives plants that crowd out good native species. Sit on a log and listen to the birds. Get down low and smell the flowers.

And finally, if you haven’t already, join the Central Indiana Land Trust. It’s the natural thing to do!

Lee Casebere

Guest Blogger

Lee Casebere, a longtime CILTI supporter, is a naturalist, ecologist, and nature photographer. He is the retired assistant director of Indiana DNR’s Division of Nature Preserves.