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ABOUT US

Sycamore Land Trust preserves land, restores habitat, and connects people to nature in southern Indiana. As of 2023, we protect 11,418 acres.

WHAT WE DO

Sycamore is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1990 that serves 26 counties in southern Indiana. Our federal tax identification number is 35-1830637.

We protect land and restore natural habitat: Sycamore protects land by owning and caring for nature preserves, and by holding conservation easements that protect privately owned properties. We acquire land through donations, purchases, and bargain sales (partial donations). Stewardship of our nature preserves includes restoration projects to improve natural habitat, and building and maintaining trails for free public use. Sycamore now protects 141 properties totaling 11,418 acres in southern Indiana.

We connect people to nature: In addition to providing over 30 miles of free public hiking trails, Sycamore operates an Environmental Education Program that connects people of all ages to nature through guided hikes and outdoor learning opportunities. Read more about our Environmental Education Program.

Sycamore is a proud supporting member of Indiana Land Protection Alliance (ILPA). ILPA is a vibrant nonpartisan network of land trusts, conservation partners and community members. Our alliance champions land and water protection for all of Indiana.

MISSION AND VISION

Our Mission: to preserve the beauty, health, and diversity of southern Indiana’s natural landscape through strategic land conservation and environmental education.

Our Vision: Sycamore Land Trust envisions a future in which southern Indiana has diverse and abundant habitat for native plants and animals, as well as clean air and water, working lands that are productive and sustainable, and people who embrace the connection between a healthy environment and our quality of life.

We are accredited and uphold the highest standards: In 2019, Sycamore became an accredited land trust through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Accreditation acknowledges the highest level of achievement in transparency, accountability, and longevity for land trusts across North America. Guidestar has given Sycamore the Gold Seal of Transparency for 2023.

Staff

Sycamore is staffed by seven full-time employees and several part-time student interns. Our experienced, effective team is committed to protecting land, restoring habitat, connecting people to nature, and raising support for Sycamore’s mission. Please get in touch with us at the contact info below. For general questions, email info@sycamorelandtrust.org.

John Lawrence

Executive Director
john@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 105
I started with Sycamore in 2004 as a summer intern, and joined the permanent staff in 2006. I became Sycamore's assistant director in 2008, and its executive director in 2019. I've volunteered with Wildcare as a wildlife rehabilitator, and served as president of the Sassafras Audubon Society. In 2020, I joined the board of the Indiana Land Protection Alliance. I'm a Monroe County native and Indiana University graduate, and enjoy birding, plant identification, and walking with my wife Carrie and our four rescue dogs.

Frances Clever

Membership Coordinator
frances@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382
Raised in South America and the American Southeast, I spent much of my childhood immersed in the natural environment. Exploring rainforests and wetlands, sand dunes and oceans, are all part of my favorite memories. These opportunities sparked my interest in conservation, and later shaped my career goals to work in the field and help provide opportunities for others to find interest in the natural world. Following my passion, I completed a Master’s Degree in International Affairs at Indiana University, concentrating in Sustainability, Development, and the Environment. I am excited to be working in this capacity at Sycamore Land Trust and to further my career by supporting protecting the natural environment of Indiana.

Chris Fox

Land Stewardship Director
chris@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 103
I grew up in southeastern Indiana and have spent most of my life working and exploring the backwoods. My career has provided me opportunities to track copperbelly water snakes through the wetlands and follow the endangered Kirtland's warbler from the Bahamas to Michigan, among other adventures. I joined Sycamore Land Trust in 2017 to help conserve and protect critical habitat for our diverse flora and fauna and future generations of Hoosiers.

Susan Haislip Daleke

Administrative Director
susan@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 100
I spent my formative years on the southwestern coast of Connecticut exploring creeks, beaches, and woodlands, developing a passion for conservation at an early age. After graduation from the University of Bridgeport, I traveled the states as a US Army officer before settling in southern Indiana, home of my mother's family, to raise my own children. I enjoy birding, quilting, board games, and time with my husband Mike and our families.

Kate Hammel

Communications Director
kate@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 101
My career has focused on non-profit development to promote sustainability and strengthen community, including creating the nation's largest food access program to support small-scale agriculture as Executive Director of Heart of the City Farmers' Market for 10 years. I also built education programs to connect children to nature and two community gardens. I grew up in Northern California camping and earning Camp Fire Girl badges for wilderness skills and volunteering. My husband grew up in Indiana and we enjoy exploring Indiana’s fascinating ecosystems with our daughters and an identification book, and adding to my enormous trail map collection.

Daniel Layton

Land Preservation Director
daniel@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 103
My connection with Sycamore started as a volunteer shortly after I moved to Bloomington in 2015. Originally from Virginia, I arrived in the midwest via St. Louis, where I studied the evolutionary history of a group of grasses that includes those that dominate our native prairies. Here in Bloomington I helped curate IU’s herbarium, a library of about 160,000 pressed plant specimens, which I worked to expand and digitize. Because of the ever increasing threats to our natural world, I wanted to have a more direct impact by working to improve and protect habitat as a land steward, and that’s what I aim to do here at Sycamore!

Amy Osajima

Development Director
amy@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 104
I came to Bloomington in 2013 after 25 years in Southern California, where I first learned about the value of planting natives. After serving as Marketing Director for IU Theatre for 5 years, I joined WonderLab Museum as Development Director. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Bloomington through my work and through volunteering with MC-IRIS, the Bloomington Animal Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, and Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, as well as serving on the boards of Bloomington Early Music and Bloomington Rotary. I’ve spent the last few years replacing my lawn with Indiana natives and am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Sycamore Land Trust to support efforts to protect habitats through restoration and education.

Madeleine Thompson

Communications and Development Fellow
events@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 102
Growing up, I moved all around the Midwest. Getting to explore each regions’ beautiful landscapes (and zoos!) was amazing and connected me with every new place I called home. Manifesting my love of nature, I studied biology at Saint Louis University where I focused on ecology and conservation. My work at the Saint Louis Zoo and passion for conservation have currently led me to pursue a dual master’s degree in environmental science and public affairs at IU. I hope to protect the diverse natural world so that the connection between humans, wildlife, and nature can continue to spark in all.

Mary Welz

Education Director
mary@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 107
My happiest early memories are of the outdoors, splashing in creeks and adventuring along wooded trails. I have always identified as a student of nature and strive to be a thoughtful land steward in both my professional and personal pursuits. The support and protection of our biodiversity is my calling, and I am committed to help others experience and reconnect with our natural world. The importance of invasive plant management and restoration with native plants has been the focus for my recent efforts. I am thrilled to share my joy and curiosity for nature to enhance Sycamore’s educational outreach.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Our Board of Directors provides strategic direction as we preserve the land and wildlife of southern Indiana and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental education.

Judith Stewart

Board Chair
Brown County Circuit Court Judge, retired

W. William Weeks

Board Vice Chair
Chair, Conservation Law Center

Susan Yoon

Board Treasurer
Senior Director of Development, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Elaine Caldwell Emmi

Board Secretary
Co-Chair, Bloomington Multi-faith Alliance

Brian Besser

Rabbi, Congregation Beth Shalom, retired

Tom Cervone

Deacon in Evansville Diocese
Vice-President of Lochmueller Group, retired

Jim Eagleman

Park Naturalist, Brown County State Park, retired

George Huntington

Co-owner, Goods for Cooks, Bloomington, IN

Andrea Lutz

Deputy Director, Conservation Law Center

Bill McCoy

Refuge Manager, Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge, retired

Randy Scofield

Regional Sales Manager at First Call Inc., retired

Jenny Stephens

Director of Financial Aid, Indiana University, retired

Maria Viterisi

Vice President & Trust Administrator II, Old National Bank

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board helps Sycamore protect the hardwood forests, rolling hills, wetlands, and family farms that make southern Indiana special. By drawing on their expertise, we are transforming our vibrant region, from habitat for wildlife and native trees to environmental education for the next generation.

  • Mark Adams White Oak Financial Planning LLC, former Sycamore board member
  • Mike Baker Retired, owner of Quality Mill Supply; former Sycamore board member
  • Wilfred C. Bussing III Attorney and Trustee of University of Evansville
  • Doug Dayhoff Former owner of Upland Brewing Company, former Sycamore board member
  • Jim DeCoursey Retired, Elanco Animal Health/Eli Lilly& Company; former Sycamore board member
  • Steve Ferguson Chairman of the Board of Cook Group
  • Burney Fischer Clinical Professor Emeritus, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Baron Hill Former U.S. Congressman, Indiana’s Ninth District
  • John Hurlow President of Hurlow Wealth Management Group, Inc.
  • Rick Johnson President of Johnson Ventures
  • George Korinek Retired from Ameritech, former Sycamore board member
  • James Madison Author and Professor Emeritus of History, IU
  • Terry Marbach Retired from Kirr Marbach & Company; former Sycamore board member
  • Vicky Meretsky Associate Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs, IU; former Sycamore board member
  • Greg Meyer Attorney, Greg Meyer Law Office; former Sycamore board member
  • Jim Murphy President, CFC Properties
  • Edward W. Najam, Jr. Judge, Indiana Court of Appeals
  • Del Newkirk Retired business owner
  • Karen Pitkin RE/MAX Realty Professionals
  • Ronald F. Remak Owner of Bill C. Brown Associates
  • Scott Russell Sanders Author and Professor Emeritus of English, IU
  • Randall T. Shepard Senior Judge, Indiana Court of Appeals; retired Chief Justice of Indiana
  • Tom Tarzian Chairman of the Board of Sarkes Tarzian
  • Todd Young U.S. Senator, Indiana

LEARN MORE ABOUT INDIANA’S NATURAL HISTORY

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