Creating a conservation corridor
From the Winter 2015 issue of The Twig, our newsletter.
Our region is poised to get a big boost from the Bicentennial Nature Trust, which has approved Sycamore’s proposal to make part of Beanblossom Creek in northern Monroe County a Bicentennial Conservation Area in honor of the state’s 200th Anniversary.
With this designation, the state will allocate $1 million toward land conservation in the Beanblossom Creek watershed, already the home of Sycamore’s flagship Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve, the City of Bloomington’s Lake Griffy Nature Preserve, and parts of the Morgan-Monroe State Forest. This money will go to purchase wetlands and other ecologically important parcels.
As one of just five designated Bicentennial Conservation Areas in the state, this Beanblossom Creek area will be a legacy of natural lands for public use and enjoyment. It offers an opportunity for all Hoosiers to contribute to the creation of this legacy, as each project seeking a portion of the $1 million requires an equal amount of matching funds.
This is where Sycamore excels. With a strong base of supporters eager to play a role in local land conservation, and an innovative mindset for leveraging funding sources to make your donations go further, Sycamore is well positioned to make the most of this exceptional opportunity.
Our work has already begun. Thanks to a partial land donation by Bill and Kathleen Oliver and a grant from the Ropchan Foundation, we have purchased 27 acres of land along Beanblossom Creek that expands the Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve for the first time since 2001. The 10-acre floodplain portion is being restored to bottomland hardwood forest by the ecological consulting and restoration firm Cardno JFNew in honor of the late Bruce Behan, one of their employees who used to lead Sycamore hikes there.
Connecting natural areas in the Beanblossom Creek watershed is a high priority for the conservation community. The area is home to dozens of threatened and rare species, including endangered Indiana bats, nesting bald eagles, and the beautiful purple fringeless orchid. As a Bicentennial Conservation Area, this network of protected lands will be a treasure for future generations. As Mike Baker says, “Having areas to see bald eagles, herons, bats, and birds of all kinds is such a wonderful legacy to pass on.”