Stunning area along White River saved for nature preserve

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 22, 2017

White River Bluffs in Marion County to be forever protected

The Central Indiana Land Trust (CILTI) has completed Phase 1 of its $2.9 million effort to establish White River Bluffs and preserve forever 12.2 wooded acres along the White River.

A dedicated group of concerned individuals and neighbors, led by Myrta Pulliam and Charley Grahn, came together to raise $2.2 million to close the first part of the deal with Highland Golf and Country Club for 9.1 acres. The property purchased includes some of the oldest trees in Indianapolis growing on a steep bluff that soars above the White River 85 feet below. Highland had considered selling to a developer for a residential project prior to the neighbors and friends group coming together with CILTI to purchase the property as a nature preserve

Grahn first contacted the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which was interested in protecting the unique area. The state ultimately helped CILTI with a $50,000 grant towards the purchase through its Bicentennial Nature Trust.

Located east of Michigan Road between 56th and 52nd streets along the river, White River Bluffs features stunning views of the downtown skyline and a perspective from which nearby Hinkle Fieldhouse looks like a boat floating in a sea of trees. Trees estimated to be 200 to 500 years old stand on the crest of the largest bluff, and bald eagles frequent the area and nests nearby. The bluff is a result of gravel deposited by glaciers 12,000 years ago; its delicate slopes represent a unique geologic feature in Indianapolis.

“This is really a remarkable area and such a special place along the White River,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. “Our donors saw the importance of keeping the land from development, and their generosity allowed us to make the purchase and ensure it will always stay intact and available for all to enjoy when it opens to the public in 2020.”

More than 85 donors contributed gifts for a total of $2.2 million to date. An additional $700,000 is needed to buy the remaining land and maintain the entire preserve. CILTI will purchase the final 3.1 acres from Highland Golf and Country Club in or before 2019 when fundraising is complete.  In the meantime, the private nonprofit is marking the property boundaries and starting work to control invasive species that threaten native plants.

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Media contact: Jen Thomas, JTPR, jen@jtprinc.com, 317-441-2487

400 acres in Parke Co. now in land trust

PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – If you drive on US 41 north of Turkey Run State Park, you’ll find a cabin off the east side of the highway. It’s a scene picture perfect for Parke County. And not far from this cabin is a ravine that’s home to rare and endangered plant and animal species. Both are part of nearly 400 acres of land owner Joe McCurdy donated to the Central Indiana Land Trust as part of a conservation easement.

http://www.wthitv.com/story/35540949/400-acres-in-parke-co-now-in-land-trust

“He still owns the land, and he can walk it, hunt it, do sustainable timber harvest on it,” said Cliff Chapman, the Executive Director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. “But we get to approve those plans, and we protect it from ever being developed.”

The Central Indiana Land Trust wants to protect the best natural lands in this part of the state. But the organization also believes in balance.

“We believe in economic development,” Chapman said. “We believe that cities need to grow and that people need houses. But we also believe people need nature.”

Chapman says the Central Indiana Land Trust believes people need peace and quiet, something along the lines of what McCurdy’s land offers. Even though it’s not open to the public, Chapman says we all still benefit from having this land placed into the protective care of a land trust.

“The water from this property goes into Green Creek, which goes into Sugar Mill Creek right at Turkey Run State Park,” Chapman said. “It’s cleaning the water before it gets into that creek.”

The countless trees located in this property also clean the air and give the aforementioned endangered species a place to live. Mr. McCurdy see this land as more than just beautiful property. Chapman says he recognizes the power of this place, which is priceless.

“For him, this was never about money,” Chapman said. “It’s about making sure he can keep it in his family for future generations and keep it from development, and so we’re able to do that.”

The Central Indiana Land Trust is a member-driven non-profit organization. 600 members support 26 nature preserves and 18 conservation easements throughout central Indiana.

Shawndra Miller

Communications Specialist

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.

Nearly 400 acres of Parke County now protected forever

May 24, 2017

Conservation easement ensures property near Turkey Run State Park won’t be developed

Having spent years purchasing property near Turkey Run State Park, local entrepreneur and nature lover Joe McCurdy has donated to the Central Indiana Land Trust a conservation easement on 394 acres that provide a home to rare and endangered flora and fauna.

The terms of the conservation easement allow the property to stay in private ownership but retain its current character, even if sold. The Land Trust will monitor the property to ensure that the terms of the agreement are honored.

Joe McCurdy has been purchasing property near Turkey Run State Park for years. The owner of the Turkey Run Canoe & Camping near Bloomingdale, McCurdy learned sound forestry practices through a six-week woodland owner class offered by Purdue University and additional educational field days. The training he received covers practices such as proper tree planting, invasive control, timber stand improvement and sustainable harvesting.

“I developed an interest in forestry while helping on a Christmas Tree Farm, and later fell in love with the forests of Parke County,” said McCurdy. “I wanted to be sure my property always stay intact and isn’t divided, so I donated the easement to CILTI, and they’ll ensure that my family and future generations can enjoy it.”

The property is less than a half mile from Turkey Run State Park, and its western boundary is adjoined on three sides by state property managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Green Creek flows through the property.

It’s filled with wildflowers such as fire pink, shooting star and large-flowered trilliums, a rare plant in Central Indiana and one of the state’s most attractive species. The woods are loaded with neo-tropical migrant birds, including some rare species like the endangered cerulean warbler and rare worm-eating warbler and a population of Eastern box turtles.

“This is the largest property CILTI has ever protected, and a textbook example of what CILTI is all about,” said Cliff Chapman, CILTI executive director. “Although we focus on science-based conservation and an appreciation of plants, animals and ecosystem function, conservation is about people. The way to protect our most precious natural resources is through relationships and working with landowners who want to be good stewards of important sites.”

Because the property will remain in private ownership, it will not be open to the public. However, the public still benefits, Chapman notes, because protecting the habitats of rare and endangered species means they are more likely to be seen in public places as well.

Conservation easements are legal agreements between landowners and land trusts that place specific land-use restrictions on a property according to the landowner’s desires. Those restrictions are attached to the title of the property, so they remain in place even if the property is sold to new owners. This means landowners can derive financial benefits from the property – enjoying it themselves, continuing to use it as a working property or even selling it – so long as they use the property in ways consistent with the conditions of the conservation easement. Conservation easements also deliver certain tax benefits to landowners.

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Media contact: Jen Thomas, JTPR, jen@jtprinc.com, 317-441-2487

Notification of Renewal of Accreditation

The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. Central Indiana Land Trust is pleased to announce it is applying for renewal of accreditation. A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs.

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how the Central Indiana Land Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/help-and-resources/indicator-practices.

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org, or email your comment to info@landtrustaccreditation.org. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Comments on the Central Indiana Land Trusts’ application will be most useful by July 21, 2017.

New spider species discovered at Johnson County nature preserve

Dec. 5, 2016

New spider species discovered at Johnson County nature preserve

97 acres added to Glacier’s End Nature Preserve

As it announces the closing of a purchase that adds 97 acres to the Glacier’s End Nature Preserve, new-spider-species-oreonetidesthe Central Indiana Land Trust is also celebrating the discovery of a new species on that land.

With the additional land, the Glacier’s End Nature Preserve, a chunk of Johnson County property the Land Trust protected earlier this year, now covers 300 acres. This brings to nearly 700 acres the total amount of Johnson County terrain protected by the Land Trust, which has protected 4,700 acres overall.

Glacier’s End Nature Preserve sits adjacent to two other properties protected by the Central Indiana Land Trust: the Laura Hare Preserve at Blossom Hollow and Bob’s Woods Conservation Easement. Together, these properties create a swath of protected contiguous interior forest that provides a home to a variety of native flora and fauna.

It also serves as home to a newly discovered species of spider. University of Indianapolis Professor Marc Milne discovered it on the property while participating in a “bioblitz,” an intensive inventory of plants, animals and fungi. The spiders – tentatively being called Orenoetides sp. since they’re from the genus of the same name – are around 2.5 millimeters in size and live in leaf litter. They add to a number of new and endangered species recently found to be living in the southwest Johnson County area dubbed by the Land Trust as the Hills of Gold Core Conservation Area.

“While some scientists are exploring outer space, it’s amazing to think that we’re still discovering new things on earth, like new species of spiders right here in Central Indiana. The discovery highlights why this type of land protection is necessary,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. “There is still so much to be discovered in the natural areas that surround us, but it will all remain undiscovered if we fail to protect those areas.”

Adding 97 acres to the Glacier’s End Nature Preserve helps to create an even bigger buffer around the forest interior habitat the Central Indiana Land Trust is trying to protect – and that results in greater protection to the flora and fauna that live in that habitat.

“Studies have found that box turtle nests within 100 feet of a forest edge can have zero percent productivity – every egg is eaten by predators,” Chapman said. “Some birds suffer a similar fate. By adding land, and in the near future, planting trees in open areas, we protect the habitats that allow those animals to survive.”

The Land Trust plans to open the Glacier’s End Nature Preserve for public access in 2018, after building trails, educational signage and parking areas big enough for school buses.

Purchasing the additional acreage was possible through support from the following partners:  the Amos Butler Audubon Society, Central Indiana Community Foundation, The Conservation Fund, Efroymson Family Fund, Herbert Simon Family Foundation, Hougham family, Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust, Indiana Heritage Trust (through environmental license plates), Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society, Johnson family, Johnson County Community Foundation, Lamb family, Robert and Gayle Meyer Family Fund, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and members of the Central Indiana Land Trust.

For information on sites open now, visit www.ConservingIndiana.org.

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About the Central Indiana Land Trust

CILTI preserves the best of Central Indiana’s natural areas, protecting plants and animals, so Hoosiers can experience the wonder of the state’s natural heritage. Since it was created in 1990, CILTI has protected more than 4,700 acres of land that meet science-based criteria for conservation value.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Jen Schmits Thomas, jen@jtprinc.com, 317-441-2487

INTERVIEW SOURCES:

Cliff Chapman, Executive Director, Central Indiana Land Trust

Dr. Marc Milne, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Indianapolis

Indy’s Lacywood Estate protected forever

June 6, 2016

30+ wooded acres adjacent to Indy’s Lacywood Estate protected forever

Conservation easement ensures property on city’s northwest side won’t be developed

The wooded grounds surrounding the famous Lacywood Estate in Indianapolis will be protected from development forever thanks to a conservation easement signed by the property’s owner, Debra Potts, and the Central Indiana Land Trust.

A total of 31.5 acres will be protected on the northwestern Marion County property known by many as the grounds for Lacywood, a 1930s estate built by the Lacy family that hosted generations of Indianapolis leaders and well-to-do citizens. The West 79th Street property’s high-quality forest includes trees from a time before the area was settled along with a younger forest of about 80 years.

Ms. Potts, who donated the conservation easement, had protection in mind when she purchased the property. “This place found me, I like to think. A lovely home and a chunk of nature and wildness to protect: I couldn’t be happier.”

Because the property will remain in private ownership, it will not be open to the public. However, the public will benefit in other ways, said Central Indiana Land Trust Executive Director Cliff Chapman.

“This will ensure that an area of greenspace remains to support local wildlife and preserve trees that harken pre-settlement Indiana,” Chapman said. “This will benefit nearby landowners as well as those who simply pass through the area.”

Conservation easements are legal agreements between landowners and land trusts that place specific land-use restrictions on a property according to the landowner’s desires. Those restrictions are attached to the title of the property, so they remain in place even if the property is sold to new owners. This means landowners can derive financial benefits from the property – enjoying it themselves, continuing to use it as a working property or even selling it – so long as they use the property in ways consistent with the conditions of the conservation easement. Conservation easements also deliver certain tax benefits to landowners.

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Media contact: Jen Thomas, JTPR, jen@jtprinc.com, 317-441-2487

Conservation easement preserves 88 acres in Marion, Johnson counties

March 7, 2016

Conservation easement preserves 88 acres in Marion, Johnson counties

Greenspace, wooded bluffs to retain character in perpetuity

Eighty-eight acres of green and wooded land in Marion and Johnson counties have been protected from development forever thanks to a conservation easement signed by the property’s owner and the Central Indiana Land Trust this week.

The property, which is located near the corner of Baker and Maze roads, is a working horse farm called Hide A Way. It has rolling fields, a high-quality stream and wooded bluffs featuring ancient oak trees. The terms of the conservation easement allow the property to stay in private ownership but retain its current character, even if sold. The Central Indiana Land Trust will monitor the property to ensure that the terms of the agreement are honored.

Because the property will remain in private ownership, it will not be open to the public. However, the public will benefit in other ways, said Central Indiana Land Trust Executive Director Cliff Chapman.

“By setting aside this property forever, we not only retain a slice of what defines Central Indiana’s landscape, but we also protect wildlife habitat, help to preserve water quality and keep the land in its traditional use,” Chapman said. “Everyone benefits from this as it will remain an open, beautiful area.”

Conservation easements are legal agreements between landowners and land trusts that place specific land-use restrictions on a property according to the landowner’s desires. Those restrictions are attached to the title of the property, so they remain in place even if the property is sold to new owners. This means landowners can derive financial benefits from the property – enjoying it themselves, continuing to use it as a working property or even selling it – so long as they use the property in ways consistent with the conditions of the conservation easement.

Conservation easements also deliver certain tax benefits to landowners, which Congress recently acted on.  In a bill passed in December, 2015, increased tax incentives for donating conservation easements were made permanent.

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Media contact: Jen Thomas, JTPR, jen@jtprinc.com, 317-441-2487

Hamilton County spot renamed Eleanor “Nonie” Krauss Nature Preserve

Dec. 17, 2015

Hamilton County spot renamed Eleanor “Nonie” Krauss Nature Preserve
To mark its 25th anniversary, the Central Indiana Land Trust has renamed a nature preserve in Hamilton County in memory of a woman who was instrumental in the organization’s growth and development. The preserve located on the southwest corner of 116th Street and Eller Road in Fishers will now be known as the Eleanor “Nonie” Krauss Nature Preserve.

Nonie (pronounced NO-nee) Krauss served as a member of the board of directors and advisory board for eight nonconsecutive years. During that time, her contributions included helping get the 77 acres along the White River in Fishers protected as a nature preserve in 2006. Today, the preserve is an oasis of nature in one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation.

Krauss is credited with driving CILTI’s growth and evolution from an all-volunteer, informal organization to one with a professional staff and more than 4,000 acres under its stewardship. When she got involved, in the 1990s, CILTI operated on such a small scale that it kept important papers like deeds to nature preserves in a box that traveled from one president’s home to the next.

“Nonie got us out of the shoebox,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of CILTI. “She secured a grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust to hire the first staff person. She helped find space for the first office. She was on the board when we purchased the first property. It was a critical time and she was a key leader.”

Sadly, Krauss died suddenly in 2007.

“Nonie loved nature and all that is part of it,” said her husband and former Indianapolis deputy mayor John L. Krauss. “She would be humbled but thrilled that this preserve is set aside in her honor for all to enjoy nature, birds and animals in their glory.”

The property had previously been known as the Wapahani Nature Preserve.

About the Eleanor “Nonie” Krauss Nature Preserve
The 77-acre preserve is open from dawn to dusk. It features a restored prairie and bottomland forest along the White River both planted in 2008. The prairie is being managed to become a burr oak savanna over the coming decades. Over 19,000 trees were planted in the bottomland forest. Common species found include a variety of prairie grasses, prairie dock, milkweed, monarch butterflies, Baltimore oriole, belted kingfisher, grasshopper sparrow and American mink. Parking is available behind Riverside Middle School (10910 Eller Road) after 4 p.m. on weekdays and anytime on weekends.

About the Central Indiana Land Trust Inc. (CILTI)
The Central Indiana Land Trust works with landowners to protect and enhance natural areas to ensure there are natural places all Hoosiers can enjoy now and in future generations.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Jen Schmits Thomas, 317-441-2487, jen@jtprinc.com

Lilly volunteers to plant 6,000 trees, plants at nature preserve near Fashion Mall

Sept. 28, 2015

 

As part of the Lilly Global Day of Service, approximately 300 employees of Eli Lilly and Company will be planting thousands of flowering trees and native perennials at the Oliver’s Woods nature preserve on Oct. 1.

Located near Keystone at the Crossing off River Road, the 53-acre preserve is visible from I-465. It was left to the Central Indiana Land Trust by Oliver Daugherty, who lived on the site until he passed away in 2009.

The Land Trust plans to open the preserve as soon as possible for the public to enjoy, but needs to do some restoration work and other preparation before the opening. Part of this effort includes working to remove thick swatches of invasive species – such as Asian bush honeysuckle – and replanting native plants and trees. Already, the Land Trust has removed a number of unhealthy, topped trees from the area along I-465, making way for the planting of about 1,000 flowering trees.

To that end, in that area as well as along the White River, the Lilly volunteers will plant more than 3,000 flowering trees and 3,000 perennials.

Each October, about 20,000 Lilly employees spend a day out of the office helping friends and neighbors in communities around the world. Since the program launched in 2008, employees have given nearly 625,000 hours through Global Day of Service initiatives, making it one of the largest single-day volunteer programs in the world.

“The generosity of Lilly and its employees will give a big boost to our efforts to make this stretch of the river and I-465 beautiful and sustainable,” Central Indiana Land Trust Executive Director Cliff Chapman said. “The native flowering trees such as dogwoods, redbuds and American plums will create beautiful splashes of color, but they’ll also hold the soil from spilling into the river and provide habitat for native wildlife species.”

The Central Indiana Land Trust works with landowners to protect and enhance natural areas, like Oliver’s Woods in Indianapolis, to ensure there are natural places all Hoosiers can enjoy now and in future generations.

WHAT:                  Volunteers planting thousands of trees and plants

WHEN:                  Oct. 1, Anytime between 10 a.m. and noon

WHERE:                Oliver’s Woods Nature Preserve, 8825 River Road

VISUALS:             Volunteers using shovels and trowels to plant trees and plants surrounded by gorgeous red, gold and orange-leafed trees

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MEDIA CONTACT: Jen Schmits Thomas, 317-441-2487, jen@jtprinc.com

Glacier’s End Nature Preserve created, to open in 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 15, 2015

Glacier’s End Nature Preserve created, to open in 2017

Central Indiana Land Trust closes on purchase of Johnson County site where glaciers stopped

In southwest Johnson County, a preserve 12,000 years in the making is now forever protected.  Glacial activity long ago helped to create unique geological formations and spawn a spectacular forest at this amazing site, now known as Glacier’s End Nature Preserve.

Thanks to a number of generous donors, the Central Indiana Land Trust recently closed on the purchase of Glacier’s End Nature Preserve.

In support of the largest purchase in the Land Trust’s history, funders contributed $707,000 to buy the property and protect it forever. A grant from Indiana’s Bicentennial Nature Trust provided $300,000 of that total. The land sits adjacent to two properties already protected by the Central Indiana Land Trust – the Laura Hare Preserve at Blossom Hollow and Bob’s Woods Conservation Easement – to create a 550-acre swatch of contiguous forestland.

Glacier’s End is exactly what its name would suggest: the place where the glaciers stopped their southward march.  Specifically, it is where the Wisconsinan Glaciation ran into the Brown County Hills. As a result, the property has both glaciated and unglaciated land, and supports a surprising diversity of flora and fauna within a tightly compressed area.

This massive conservation opportunity took root in the 1930s, when one Indiana family bought large swaths of the land, and the 1950s, when another family purchased adjoining lands. The two families collaborated with other partners in the 1960s to create Lamb Lake, the largest privately owned lake in the state. In recent years, the families worked together with the Land Trust to protect much of their remaining lands.

“Protecting contiguous forestland is important because in order to survive, many species need a block of 700 or more acres of mature forestland. Without that, species like the ovenbird and Eastern box turtle could disappear from Indiana,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust.

The Land Trust couldn’t have accomplished this without a multitude of partners. Willing landowners – Randy and Sandy Lamb and family, and Tom and Priscilla Johnson and family – sold the property at a significant bargain price, and generous contributions came from the Bicentennial Nature Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Heritage Trust, Amos Butler Audubon and the Efroymson Family Fund.

The Land Trust plans to open the site for public access in 2017, after building parking areas for school buses, trails and educational signage.

Visitors will find a beautiful site that features clear running water, steep bluffs, exposed bedrock, shale bottom streams, and chunks of granite strewn across the valley floors. The area is a haven for rare species including the state endangered timid sedge, the Northern long-eared bat, red-shouldered hawk, hooded warbler and worm-eating warbler.  Many forest interior bird species are found here too.

For information on sites open now, visit www.ConservingIndiana.org.

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About the Central Indiana Land Trust

Through land protection, stewardship and education, the Central Indiana Land Trust preserves natural areas, improving air and water quality and enhancing life in our communities for present and future generations. Since it was created in 1990, the Land Trust has protected more than 4,000 acres of land that meet science-based criteria for conservation value.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Jen Schmits Thomas, jen@jtprinc.com, 317-441-2487