American beech

New bee species discovered at Avon’s Burnett Woods

July 2, 2018

Native bees could help crop pollination

Watch video footage from WRTV-6.

Amid a decline in pollinators nationwide, a species of bee never before seen in Indiana has been discovered at 20-year-old nature preserve not far from busy Rockville Road in Avon.

Burnett Woods Nature Preserve is an 80-acre property in Avon that the Central Indiana Land Trust has owned and managed since 1998. The Land Trust has worked with hundreds of local volunteers to clear invasive weeds such as Asian Bush Honeysuckle and Garlic Mustard, which take over and crowd out native species and wildflowers.

All that work means improved habitat for native plants and animals. The first reward for all that work is the discovery of the bee never before found in Indiana.

“This is validation of the hard work that’s gone into making the natural area healthy for native species,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust.

A Hendricks County resident and entomologist, Robert P. Jean, Ph.D., collected the bee near native wildflowers. After studying it in his lab, Jean identified it as an Andrena uvulariae, which had never been recorded in Indiana and are found only occasionally in the eastern U.S.

“While we’re still learning a lot about bee species, we know this discovery is a big deal because the more native bees, the greater the opportunities for crop and wildflower pollination,” Chapman said. “If I were a farmer or gardener in Hendricks County, I’d be excited about this.”

Pollinators transfer pollen from one flower to another, fertilizing plants so they can grow and produce food. Without bees to spread pollen, many plants – including most food crops –would not reproduce.

Burnett Woods is home to black walnut, oak, hickory, maple and tulip poplar trees, as well as native wildflowers, which are particularly picturesque in springtime.

About Burnett Woods
Burnett Woods is an 80-acre nature preserve owned and managed by the Central Indiana Land Trust since 1998. It is dominated by tall black walnut, oak, hickory, maple and tulip poplar trees, as well as wildflowers and two loop trails. Located at 8264 E. County Rd. 100 S. in Avon, Burnett Woods is open daily from dawn to dusk and is a peaceful retreat from city life.

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 5,200 acres of land that meet science-based criteria for conservation value. More information at

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MEDIA CONTACT: Jen Schmits Thomas,, 317-441-2487

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.