Looking north across Snake Creek with Fern Station in the distance

CILTI expands Putnam County protected lands


Fern Cliff Addition adds to protected lands connected to Coca-Cola’s patented green glass

The Central Indiana Land Trust, Inc. (CILTI) has added to protected lands in Putnam County with the purchase of 27-acre Fern Cliff Addition.

The newly acquired property sits adjacent to the 157-acre Fern Cliff Nature Preserve, which is now separated from the 570-acre Fern Station Nature Preserve by only one forested property. CILTI has met with the owner of that property to express interest in conservation.

“We are delighted to be able to expand and connect these incredible Putnam County properties,” said CILTI President and CEO Cliff Chapman. “This will allow us to turn back some of the habitat fragmentation that has occurred over time and create space for wood thrush and other declining species to thrive.”

In addition to their natural attributes, the Fern Cliff and Fern Station properties have unique connections to America’s cultural history: The sand responsible for the patented green color of the original Coca-Cola bottes was mined there. The Terre Haute-based Root Glass Co. purchased the land in the early 1900s to use the sandstone for making bottles for Coca-Cola, which was looking for a way to stand out from the many soft drinks crowding the market. Minerals present in the sand mined from the site resulted in the glass’s green color, which was patented along with the iconic coke bottle shape in 1915. At one time, the Root Glass Co.’s Putnam County quarry produced about 20,000 tons of sandstone a year.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and donors to the Evergreen Fund for Nature helped to make possible the Fern Cliff Addition, where CILTI plans to plant thousands of trees that will scrub carbon from the air and benefit forest-dwelling species.

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.