Eastern Box Turtle

Declining Eastern Box Turtles Benefit from Tree Plantings

Creating future habitat for Eastern box turtles and many other species, we kicked off our million tree initiative this year. We’ve pledged to plant one million trees over the coming years in strategic sites, linking up hundreds of acres of fragmented land to benefit sensitive wildlife. Our tree-planting efforts so far buffer Meltzer Woods, Glacier’s End, Mossy Point and Wallace F. Holladay Preserve. Continue reading

Shawndra Miller

Communications Manager

Shawndra is in charge of sharing our story and connecting you to our work. Through our print and online materials, she hopes to inspire your participation in protecting special places for future generations.
Phil Meltzer

In Tribute: A Conservation Champion

Indiana lost a great champion of conservation last month when Philip Meltzer of Shelbyville died at age 94. Mr. Meltzer was the driving force behind the protection of one of the state’s last unprotected old growth forests—now a state-dedicated nature preserve. Continue reading

Shawndra Miller

Communications Manager

Shawndra is in charge of sharing our story and connecting you to our work. Through our print and online materials, she hopes to inspire your participation in protecting special places for future generations.
Meltzer Woods photo by Dick Miller

What is an Old Growth Forest?

Part of a series on CILTI’s conservation targets by guest blogger Ed Pope

Old growth forests are forests that have not been disturbed for at least 150 years. While they have some exceptionally large trees, there will also be many younger trees. When one of the giants falls, it opens up a hole in the canopy that younger trees will try to fill. Continue reading

Ed Pope

Guest Blogger

Ed Pope is a retired engineer from Rolls-Royce and a CILTI member since 2002.
Fire Pink at Blossom Hollow. Photo by Karen Wade

Shelby, Johnson county areas benefit from environmental settlement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2020

A $600,000 grant resulting from a legal settlement equips the Central Indiana Land Trust Inc. (CILTI) to add to the properties it protects in Johnson and Shelby counties. Continue reading

Jen Schmits Thomas

Media Relations

An award-winning communicator and recognized leader in Central Indiana’s public relations community, Jen helps us tell our story in the media. She is the founder of JTPR, which she and her husband John Thomas own together.
Shagbark hickory

Happy Earth Day! (Plus: The 9th Iconic Preserve to Visit)

A letter from our executive director

We hope you’ve enjoyed this series of nine off-the-beaten-path preserves. The final featured place and a recap are below, but we also wanted to step back, this Earth Day, to talk about the big picture of land protection. Continue reading

Cliff Chapman

Executive Director

As CILTI’s Executive Director, Cliff keeps CILTI’s focus on good science and stewardship. He’s mindful that the natural places you love took thousands of years to evolve and could be destroyed in a single day, and that knowledge drives his dedication to their protection.
Bellwort photo by Dick Meltzer

Old-growth forest soon to open to public

INDYSTAR

By Will Higgins

SHELBY COUNTY, Ind. — Phil Meltzer’s forest at first seems like any other — birds chirp, squirrels scurry, leaves rustle. But then you come to this crazy bur oak tree, an ancient, a giant at 100 feet tall, whereas your average big oak tree is in the 50-foot range. Continue reading

Shawndra Miller

Communications Manager

Shawndra is in charge of sharing our story and connecting you to our work. Through our print and online materials, she hopes to inspire your participation in protecting special places for future generations.
Shumard Oak at Meltzer Woods

Forest that existed before Columbus came to America to be preserved for public enjoyment

Meltzer Woods in Shelby County was state’s last unprotected old-growth forest

SHELBYVILLE, IND. (November 5, 2014) – The Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust has provided the leadership gift allowing the Central Indiana Land Trust Inc. (CILTI) to buy and forever protect and preserve Indiana’s last unprotected old-growth forest, Meltzer Woods. Continue reading

Jen Schmits Thomas

Media Relations

An award-winning communicator and recognized leader in Central Indiana’s public relations community, Jen helps us tell our story in the media. She is the founder of JTPR, which she and her husband John Thomas own together.
Burning bush at Meltzer Woods, pre-treatment

Don’t unwittingly spawn invaders

by Cliff Chapman
Executive Director, Central Indiana Land Trust

You probably don’t notice it when you walk into your office building or drive by the bank. The landscaping looks nice, so you don’t pay attention to it. Throughout central Indiana, though, developers and landscapers are using plants that are inexpensive and look good, but plants like burning bush and Japanese barberry are destroying our native habitats and hurting land and water quality.

It’s not intentional; it’s simply a lack of awareness. For that reason, I’m appealing to developers and landowners to stop using these plants and choose native alternatives.

These invasives and others such as callery pear trees, Asian bush honeysuckle and privet are crowding out plants that help keep soil in place, which causes erosion that fills in our rivers and lakes. Some have stronger branches than native plants, making it easier for predators to attack bird nests, thus eliminating wildlife that people using your properties enjoy. Such negative environmental factors hurt our region’s ability to attract economic development.

If you question how something planted in a commercial development can affect nature far away, think again. Plants have a remarkable capacity to spread. We’ve seen countless examples of invasives in protected nature preserves and pristine old-growth forests … places where nobody intentionally planted them.

That’s why we need to work together to stop them.

Most of us have seen one of the nation’s most compelling examples of this problem: kudzu, which has devoured large portions of land in the Southeast. Introduced as a means of erosion control, kudzu has become a menace, spreading at an estimated rate of 150,000 acres a year, killing whole trees and large areas of vegetation by choking out sunlight.

In Indiana, the public has become increasingly aware of Asian bush honeysuckle and garlic mustard, which have taken over large swaths of land. Hundreds of volunteers have helped remove these plants, painstakingly cutting and pulling out those invaders so native plants can grow. We’re making headway, but these invasive plants continue to grow all across the state.

The good news is, developers no longer plant or buy Asian bush honeysuckle (garlic mustard was a garden plant that escaped).

That’s not the case, though, with other invasives including Japanese barberry, burning bush and purple winter creeper, as well as privet and Callery pear (including the Bradford pear). Those invasive plants still are sold at area stores and are popular among landscapers.

So, what can you do? First and foremost, when you’re planting, choose plants other than privet, burning bush, purple winter creeper, Japanese barberry and Callery/Bradford pear. If you have those plants, replace them with non-invasives.

There is no magic bullet, but by working together, we can get these invaders under control and make our landscape more environmentally stable and more attractive to the community.

From IBJ Opinion – August 24, 2013

Cliff Chapman

Executive Director

As CILTI’s Executive Director, Cliff keeps CILTI’s focus on good science and stewardship. He’s mindful that the natural places you love took thousands of years to evolve and could be destroyed in a single day, and that knowledge drives his dedication to their protection.