5 Reasons to Support Sycamore this December

by Abby Henkel, Communications Director and tree admirer

The author on a hike last winter at Pate Hollow

We all have our own reasons for being a part of land conservation, but I’ve been thinking a lot about what would speak to people who are ready to make a difference, but don’t know where their donations will have the biggest bang for their buck. These five reasons are biggies for me, and they’re why I love Sycamore so much.

So if you’re moved by what you read below and are ready to show your commitment to protecting the environment, please make a donation to Sycamore Land Trust by the end of the year. Then visit the 16 public nature preserves you’ve helped to protect, and spread the word to your friends and family! Thanks!


1. Wetlands are way cool.

Twelve-spotted skimmer at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve, by Chris Buck

Wetlands are among those unique ecosystems that make southern Indiana such a special place. One of Sycamore’s strategic priorities is protecting and building the Beanblossom Creek Conservation Area in Monroe County. It’s a wonderfully productive, biologically diverse area with protected species like the Kirtland’s snake, bald eagle, and native Indiana orchids.

Thanks to the support of Sycamore members, we’ve been able to protect more than 1,200 acres in the Beanblossom Creek area, and that number is growing all the time. Your gift can help us continue to purchase and steward this important ecosystem!


2. Sycamore is local, through and through.

Mont Clair Farm, one of Indiana’s oldest farms, protected by a conservation easement with Sycamore

We are homegrown. Sycamore members are local business owners and college students, grandparents and first-grade classrooms, lifelong Hoosiers and international transplants who have fallen in love with this Hoosier hillscape. Our employees all have deep roots in this state, just like the maples and milkweeds we work so hard to protect. We understand the priceless integrity of a 50-acre family farm or a small but mighty tract of old-growth forest. We appreciate the amateur gardener who steadily builds a native prairie in her backyard.

When you know the land through and through, you want to keep it safe forever. When you understand the specific needs of local communities and the nature they interact with, you do a better job of protecting those natural spaces.


3. Our trees are protected forever.

Exceptionally large trees dominate the forest canopy at Wayne Woods.

Sycamore does not allow timbering trees on land that we own. When we protect land, we protect it forever. Allowing trees to grow to maturity and live out their full lives contributes to the complex and fascinating network of a healthy forest ecosystem. How do you get a hundred-foot sycamore tree? You plant a seed, and then you protect it.

Of the 9,100 acres we now protect, about 5,100 of those we own outright (fee title), and 4,000 are protected through permanent contracts with private landowners (conservation easements).


4. Together, we’re building the next generation of conservationists.

Little Hikers program studying water at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve, 2016. Photo by Heather Heerssen

Those who love nature are the most passionate advocates for protecting it. Sycamore’s Environmental Education program connects kids and adults to nature through hands-on, long-term programs. We visit classrooms, schoolyards, nature preserves, retirement communities, and nonprofits to make this programming accessible. This year alone, we’ve reached more than 5,000 participants.

A few things someone might experience in our Environmental Education programs:

  • Planting and tending a native plant prairie on a school campus
  • Tapping sugar maples, then making and tasting local maple syrup
  • Playing games to learn about predators, prey, and the food cycle in nature
  • Reading a book about making observations in nature, then visiting the schoolyard to see what you can find
  • Repairing a trail at one of our public nature preserves
  • Learning about the complex network of organisms in a pond by dipping a sieve in the water and talking about your discoveries


5. You can touch the earth you’re saving.

A view of the Milky Way from Sycamore’s Lake Monroe property, the Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve. Photo by Nake Clark (@nateclarkski)

What’s more rewarding than visiting a nature preserve that you’ve helped protect? With 16 public preserves and 32 miles of hiking trails, all of which are completely free to visit, you can breathe in the fresh air of your protected land all across southern Indiana. You can walk right up to a towering beech tree and know that it’s safe because of you and your community of more than 1,100 other Sycamore members.


Ready to stand up for the environment? Donate to Sycamore today.

Thank you!