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ABOUT US

Sycamore Land Trust preserves land, restores habitat, and connects people to nature in southern Indiana. As of 2024, we protect 11,432 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. As of 2024, Sycamore now protects 141 properties totaling 11,432 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 and abilities to nature through guided hikes and outdoor learning opportunities. Read more about our Environmental Education Program.

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.

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.

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.

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
I grew up surrounded in the beauty and grandeur of Northern California, and my love of nature was fostered early on family camping trips and by earning Camp Fire Girl badges for wilderness skills and volunteering. I have 20 years of experience developing nonprofits that promote sustainability and strengthen community. As Executive Director of Heart of the City Farmers' Market, I helped create the nation's largest food access program and generated over $20 million to support sustainable small-scale agriculture. I also helped build equitable food systems at Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin and strengthen extremely low-income neighborhoods in San Francisco. I enjoy exploring Indiana’s fascinating ecosystems with my family and an identification book, crafting, and adding to my enormous trail map collection.

Daniel Layton

Land Preservation Director
daniel@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 106
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!

Christina Marshall

Membership Coordinator
christina@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 108
Even since I was a small child, I've always had a passion for the outdoors. An avid hiker, I've explored many of Indiana's beautiful nature preserves and recognize that these natural habitats and wildlife must be protected and cared for at all costs. My love for the wilderness of Southern Indiana led me to study non-profit financial management at Indiana University's O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, where I first researched the significant work accomplished by Sycamore Land Trust. And now, as a member of Sycamore Land Trust, I am pleased to be involved in the continuation of the mission to protect native Indiana wildlife and educate younger generations. Along with my work for the organization, I enjoy hiking with my family, gardening, and reading.

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.

Ben Sebastian

Land Steward
ben@sycamorelandtrust.org

Welcome, Ben! Bio coming soon.

Saige Sentell

Education Director
saige@sycamorelandtrust.org
812-336-5382 ext. 107
As a little girl growing up in the rolling hills of Madison, Indiana, nature was where I felt most at home. As I grew older, I knew I’d spend my life protecting and caring for the land that raised me. After graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Human Ecology, I spent a few years providing fire, trails, and EMS services to the National Park Service and Forest Service in Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming. I also worked with children with learning disabilities at an adventure-based boarding school in North Carolina. I transitioned to working for Eco Logic, LLC in Bloomington, IN and provided restoration, native landscaping, and green infrastructure services. In 2022, I moved to Indianapolis to open and operate the first satellite branch of Eco Logic, LLC. And now as the Education Director, I want to connect you to nature through curiosity, play, and meaningful conversation that creates a lifelong connection to nature. In my free time, I enjoy knitting, ceramics, hiking, and hanging with my two cats, Girly and Bernie.

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

Jenny Stephens

Board Vice Chair
Director of Financial Aid, Indiana University, retired

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

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

Maria Viterisi

Vice President & Trust Administrator II, Old National Bank

W. William Weeks

Chair, Conservation Law Center

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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