Sycamore Land Trust has been protecting land, restoring habitat, and connecting people to nature in southern Indiana since 1990. We protect 10,319 acres and counting.


Sycamore is a nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1990, serving southern Indiana from Morgan County south to the Ohio River.

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 121 properties totaling 10,319 acres in southern Indiana.

We connect people to nature: Sycamore operates an Environmental Education Program that connects people of all ages to nature, including more than 6,800 people in 2018. Read more about our Environmental Education Program.

We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Our federal tax identification number is 35-1830637. Want to know more? Read our detailed FAQs.


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. We are also a Guidestar Gold nonprofit.


Sycamore is staffed by seven full-time employees and several part-time student interns. Our small but mighty 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

John Lawrence

Executive Director
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.

Ellen Bergan

Land Stewardship Assistant
Growing up in Ellettsville, I have spent most of my life exploring the rolling hills and ravines of southern Indiana, developing an early passion for conservation that has continued in my studies of Environmental Management and Geography at IU. While my academic career has led me to conducting terrain analyses in the Andes mountains and researching sea turtle morphology in the Galápagos Islands, I remain rooted in protecting the landscapes of my Hoosier home to ensure it can be cherished by future generations, humans and critters alike. In my free time, I enjoy reading, drawing, backpacking, and watching neighborhood birds from my front window.

Ann Connors

Development Director
812-336-5382 ext. 104
I grew up in Bloomington, studied history at the University of Illinois, and got my Master's degree at the American Graduate School of International Management. After living and working in big cities and overseas, I returned home and love working to help protect our natural heritage. In my free time, I enjoy the local arts scene and visiting small towns and historic sites in our region.

Chris Fox

Land Stewardship Director
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
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 and Membership Director
812-336-5382 ext. 101
I grew up in Northern California camping and earning Camp Fire Girl badges for wilderness skills and volunteering. After graduating from Mills College, I focused my career on non-profit development to promote sustainability and strengthen community, building food access programs to support small-scale agriculture, education programs to connect children to nature, and two community gardens. My husband Kirby grew up in Indiana and we chose to raise our daughters in this beautiful place. I enjoy exploring Indiana’s fascinating ecosystems with an identification book, crafting, and adding to my enormous and ever-growing trail map collection.

Rob McCrea

Land Preservation Director
812-336-5382 ext. 106
I grew up hiking, hunting, and camping in the hills of southern Indiana. My father would take my friends and me camping at place we called Polk Township and this is where my passion for the outdoors grew. I studied Ecology and Natural History at Prescott College in Arizona and received my Law degree at Lewis & Clark in Oregon. While I have been fortunate to travel around, my heart has always remained in Indiana. After practicing law in Bloomington for the past eight years, I am excited to return to my roots work towards protecting the landscape that I love.

Madeleine Thompson

Communications and Development Fellow
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.


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.

Tim Dunfee

Board Chair
Retired anesthesiologist at Bloomington Hospital

Judith Stewart

Board Vice Chair
Retired Judge of the Brown Circuit Court

Sarah Baumgart

Board Treasurer
Retired, Executive Director Development & Alumni Relations, IU School of Education

Robert Costello

Board Secretary
Owner, Laughing Planet Café, Village Deli, Soma Coffeehouse

Brian Besser

Rabbi, Congregation Beth Shalom

Jim Eagleman

Retired Park Naturalist, Brown County State Park

Elaine Caldwell Emmi

Co-Chair, Bloomington Multi-faith Alliance

George Huntington

Co-owner, Goods for Cooks, Bloomington, IN

Andrea Lutz

Director of Advancement, Conservation Law Center

Bill McCoy

Retired Refuge Manager, Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge

Jenny Stephens

University Director of Financial Aid, Indiana University

Maria Viterisi

Vice President & Trust Officer, Old National Bank

W. William Weeks

Clinical Professor Emeritus, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Lindsay Wood

Attorney at law

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.

  • Mike Baker Retired, Owner of Quality Mill Supply
  • Wilfred C. Bussing III Attorney and Trustee of University of Evansville
  • Doug Dayhoff Former Owner of Upland Brewing Company
  • Jim DeCoursey Retired, Elanco Animal Health/Eli Lilly& Company
  • 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
  • James Madison Author and Professor Emeritus of History, IU
  • Terry Marbach Retired from Kirr Marbach & Company
  • Vicky Meretsky Associate Professor of Public and Environmental Affairs, IU
  • Greg Meyer Attorney, Greg Meyer Law Office
  • 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