Check out what’s new at Sycamore!  Click here to read recent media coverage about Sycamore’s work.  For inquiries from members of the press, please contact Kate Hammel, Communications & Membership Director, at or 812-336-5382 ext 101.

Latest News

Sycamore Land Trust Annual Celebration

  • June 5, 2024

Join us as we celebrate another year of protecting vital southern Indiana habitat for Forever. Our Annual Celebration is Sycamore’s biggest event of the year, raising funds that enable us to preserve more land, build more trails, and continue our free education programs. This year, our celebration will be held on October 12, 2024, at […]

Meet Saige Sentell, Sycamore’s new Education Director

  • May 29, 2024

Howdy, y’all! As a little girl growing up in the rolling hills of Madison, Indiana, nature was where I felt most at home. Whether I was stomping through the creek with my dog or watching the trees sway during a storm, these experiences sparked my sense of curiosity and awe for the natural world. As […]

Spring Plant Sale to benefit Sycamore’s Native Plant Nursery

  • March 26, 2024

We’re delighted to announce our second annual Spring Native Plant Sale! The sale will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2024 from 9am to 2pm (while supplies last) at Bloomingfoods East located at 3220 E 3rd Street in Bloomington. Proceeds from the sale will be used to support Sycamore’s Native Plant Nursery, where we grow […]

2024 Eclipse Information & Preserve Closures

  • February 20, 2024

Where will you be on April 8th? A once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse will be visible across most of southern and central Indiana, with totality beginning shortly after 3pm EDT. Sycamore Land Trust is not hosting any viewing events for the eclipse, due to the extreme traffic issues expected during the day. Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula […]

‘Sky Dance’ & Twilight Hike

  • February 8, 2024

As spring approaches, a flurry of activity begins in the wetlands, including migration, courtship, and rising waters. The chorus of amphibians during this twilight hike will be the soundtrack as we search the sky for the woodcock’s famous mating ritual, the ‘sky dance.’ Join expert naturalist Cathy Meyer and Sycamore Land Trust for an evening […]

  • Beanblossom Bottoms,
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Celebrate World Wetlands Day Hike

  • January 4, 2024

‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing’ is the theme for World Wetlands Day in 2024 to spotlight the connection between wetlands and human life and emphasize the critical need for human stewardship of these essential ecosystems. Celebrate by joining Sycamore Land Trust for a guided hike through Beanblossom Bottoms on World Wetlands Day to experience the majesty […]

Media Coverage

  • January 1, 2024

Read the latest media coverage of Sycamore’s work, including new preserves and trails, environmental education, events, wildlife, partnerships, and more. If you are a member of the media looking for information, an interview, or photos, contact Kate Hammel, Communications and Membership Director, at or 812-336-5382 ext. 101. For monthly updates on everything related to Sycamore […]


  • December 8, 2023

 Watch our stewardship in action at the Sam Shine Foundation Preserve. by Kate Hammel, Communications Director In September, Sycamore began construction at the Sam Shine Foundation Preserve in Monroe County to restore over 60 acres of fallow farm fields back to thriving wetland habitat. This is part of Sycamore’s largest series of habitat restoration […]

Undoing the Ingenuity of Wetland Destruction

  • December 8, 2023

By Daniel Layton, Land Steward Not long after starting as a land steward at Sycamore, I managed to get our all terrain vehicle stuck in a deep hole at our Sam Shine Foundation Preserve. After coming to my senses and being thankful that I hadn’t flipped the thing over, I began to wonder why there […]

Fall Tidings of the Banded Woollybear Caterpillar

  • December 8, 2023

Written and illustrated by Mary Welz, Education Director On a lovely afternoon in mid-October, I had a first fall sighting for the year of a banded woollybear caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella), during a visit to the future site of Sycamore’s Carl Ziegler Wetlands and Education Center north of Bloomington. Just as the leaves were beginning to […]

Backyard Biology: Sycamore Sightings in our Office Backyard

  • December 7, 2023

In September, our Land Stewardship team built a flying squirrel nest box and put it a tree in the backyard of our Bloomington office. The native southern flying squirrel is nocturnal, elusive, and rarely seen, so the team didn’t get their hopes up too high. But when they checked the box in October, they were […]

Welcome Amy Osajima, Development Director!

  • November 13, 2023

A warm welcome to Amy Osajima, who has joined the Sycamore team as Development Director. “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. […]

Holiday Party for Members

  • November 13, 2023

Sycamore members, join us for a holiday party to celebrate all we have accomplished together this year! We’ll have tasty appetizers, drinks donated by Upland Brewing Co. and Oliver Winery, cookies from Baked! of Bloomington, a free raffle with nature-related items donated by generous local businesses, and good company. Carroll Ritter will be with us to […]

Vote for Sycamore for Bloomingfoods Positive Change 2024

  • October 6, 2023

Oct. 13 is the deadline to vote for Positive Change candidates at Bloomingfoods! If you are member-owner, please vote for Sycamore Land Trust to preserve land, restore habitat, and connect more people to nature here in beautiful southern Indiana. 🌳 The beautiful, health, and diversity of the land in our care depends on the support […]

October Big Day Wetland Birding Hike with Cathy Meyer

  • October 2, 2023

Join naturalist Cathy Meyer for a morning of birding, citizen science, and discovery during an October Big Day hike in partnership with Indiana Audubon and the Indiana Land Protection Alliance. Sign up today to explore the rich biodiversity of Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve and help collect data on the preserve’s avian visitors. Join us on the […]

Nature-Based Climate Solutions in Indiana and Beyond

  • September 28, 2023

On Thursday, Sept. 28, Sycamore Land Trust and Citizens’ Climate Lobby Indiana hosted a virtual lecture and Q&A with Dr. Kimberly Novick, Professor, Paul H. O’Neill Chair, Fischer Faculty Fellow, and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Sciences at Indiana University. Dr. Novick discussed the opportunities and pitfalls surrounding nature-based climate solutions in Indiana […]

Interns Help Sycamore Delineate Wetlands

  • August 14, 2023

By Kayla Fenning, Summer 2023 Land Stewardship Intern Many of those who are members of Sycamore Land Trust, or just fans of the outdoors, probably know what a wetland is, their ecological importance, and why it is so vital to reestablish and protect these ecosystems. But how do we know where a wetland is located? […]

Sycamore Pursues Reaccreditation with the Land Trust Alliance

  • June 6, 2023

For over three decades, Sycamore Land Trust has protected land, restored habitat, and encouraged people to experience the natural world. This work has only been possible because of the tremendous generosity and trust of our supporters. We take our responsibility to these donors and our communities very seriously, and always with careful consideration of Sycamore’s […]

Auction of Rare Duck Decoys & Audubon Books Benefits Sycamore Land Trust

  • April 3, 2023

Featuring the Steve Weller Collection On April 15, 2023, a professional live webcast auction of a collection of 500 premier duck decoys, rare Audubon First Edition books, and original Audubon prints benefitted Sycamore Land Trust’s wetland restoration and outdoor education projects. A second auction was held on June 17. The amazing collection was created by […]

Arbor Day Tree Giveaway

  • February 24, 2023

Sycamore Land Trust has expanded our annual “Arbor Day Tree Giveaway” to distribute more than 1,000 native tree saplings for free in southern Indiana! On Saturday, April 29, 2023, visit Bloomingfoods East & Near West to pick up a free native tree seedling, get planting advice, renew your membership, and celebrate everything that makes trees […]

Clemens Place at Clifty Creek is now a designated State Nature Preserve

  • January 20, 2023

Sycamore Land Trust protects some of Indiana’s most significant natural areas – including Clemens Place at Clifty Creek in Greene County, which was recently added to Indiana’s Nature Preserve system. Sycamore now protects five Nature Preserves with this special designation. Indiana’s 1967 Nature Preserves Act established this system to provide permanent protection for significant natural […]

A Message of Thanks from our Executive Director

  • January 1, 2023

In this special thank you video message from all of us at Sycamore Land Trust, Executive Director John Lawrence brings his drone to Fix-Stoelting Preserve in Monroe County for this virtual tour of our newly-constructed wetland and native plantings. We also go behind-the-scenes at our wetland “BioBlitz” at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve, a volunteer work day, […]

“Beanblossom Creek Wildlife Camera Project” Educational Video

  • December 11, 2022

Our new Wildlife Camera Project video is now available for students of all ages.  This one-hour video features our favorite 2022 moments from motion-triggered wildlife cameras we set up on our nature preserves in the Beanblossom Creek Conservation Area north of Bloomington.  Five chapters educate about 40 species of local wildlife captured on our cameras […]

Construction is Complete on a New Wetland in Monroe County

  • November 30, 2022

Construction is now complete on a new wetland at our Fix-Stoelting Preserve in Monroe County, where we are restoring farmland to thriving wetland habitat. Wetlands are critical to support threatened and endangered wildlife and keep our water, soils, and air clean, yet more than 85% of Indiana’s wetlands have been lost. How is a new wetland created?  With the […]

A “Prescription” for Burns: Two Burns Planned This Fall

  • November 18, 2022

Sycamore is preparing to use prescribed fire for habitat restoration at two preserves this fall: Sam Shine Foundation Preserve with Habitat Solutions and Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill with The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Prescribed fire is called that for a reason – like with medication to heal a wound, planning for a burn involves […]

Branching Out

  • November 11, 2022

By Ellen Bergan, Land Stewardship Assistant I crane my neck to look up the tree trunk rising above me. Pale furrows in the bark run in ski track patterns down the tree’s otherwise darker exterior. “Nope, definitely red oak.” I say, shaking my head. “The bark’s not scaly enough at the base to be a […]

Over 25,000 Trees Planted!

  • October 1, 2022

This spring and summer we planted over 25,500 trees in our Beanblossom Creek Conservation Area to help restore native bottomland forest habitat at Sam Shine Foundation Preserve, Fix-Stoeling Preserve, and Skylar’s World Forest. Our Summer Intern Ben Sebastian, who helped by hand-planting areas the tractor couldn’t reach, wanted to know more about the impact such […]

A Conversation with Allisyn-Marie Gillet: “It Takes a Village to Raise a Chick”

  • August 8, 2022

Join us at 7pm on Thursday, September 1, 2022, for a “It Takes a Village to Raise a Chick,” a virtual lecture and Q&A with Allisyn-Marie Gillet, Ornithologist at Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Indiana DNR monitors and manages more than 50 at-risk bird species, each facing their own unique suite of threats. Alli will […]

Conservation Connection Field Day 2022 Beanblossom Creek

  • August 8, 2022

Sycamore is partnering with Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and local landowners to host a conservation field event for landowners. Participants will visit various non-public properties to learn more about forest stand improvement, invasive plant control, wetland restoration, and tree and shrub planting.

Wildlife Photos from Skylar’s World Forest by Toby Cheeseman

  • August 1, 2022

Twenty-three acres of native trees were planted this spring to create Skylar’s World Forest at our Dan Efroymson Preserve. Toby Cheeseman lives next door and his beautiful backyard photography has been documenting the bald eagles and other wildlife who rely on this protected habitat. Below are just a few of Toby’s photos of the animals […]

“BioBlitz” at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve Highlights Wetland Biodiversity

  • June 11, 2022

Our BioBlitz at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve on June 4 in partnership with Indiana Academy of Science was a great success, helping to document wetland biodiversity and guide future habitat restoration efforts at the preserve. More than 70 researchers from multiple universities, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service […]

Free Sycamore Land Trust Nature Coloring Books

  • June 11, 2022

New: “Wetlands of Southern Indiana” Coloring Book   Click here to download our free, printable “Wetlands of Southern Indiana” coloring book, featuring 20 species of plants and animals that depend on the wetland habitat protected by Sycamore Land Trust. Beautiful artwork by Mary Connors, B.S. K-12 Education, M.A. Art Education, includes American bittern, baldcypress, Kirtland’s […]

Conservation Conversation: Carroll Ritter, author of Magnificent Trees of Indiana

  • June 10, 2022

On June 23, 2022 at 7pm, Carroll D. Ritter will join our Conservation Conversation virtual lecture series to discuss his new book Magnificent Trees of Indiana and how it can be an inspiration to appreciate our grand forest heritage. Featuring the fascinating history of Indiana’s trees, remaining old-growth forest pieces and the state champions, along […]

Beanblossom Creek Wildlife Camera Project

  • April 17, 2022

By Kate Hammel, Communications & Membership Director If you’ve ever hiked with a young child, you know the struggle of keeping boundless energy pointed in one direction. I never mind hiking slowly but with kids it can get ridiculous if you don’t go in with a plan. Luckily I am a storyteller, and as rough […]

Wetland Birding Walk at Beanblossom Bottoms: May 1

  • April 12, 2022

Join guest hike leader Cathy Meyer for a wetland birding adventure along the boardwalk and other trails at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve. RSVP here.

“The Balancer”: A Snapshot of Local Conservation in the 1960s

  • April 12, 2022

Three issues of the local conservation newspaper The Balancer were shared with us by Barbara Restle, who donated the first parcel of land to Sycamore Land Trust that would become our Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve.  The Balancer was produced in the mid-1960’s when she was one of the five Soil and Water Conservation Supervisors for […]

Arbor Day Tree Giveaway at Bloomingfoods

  • April 11, 2022

This year marks the 150th anniversary of National Arbor Day.  As a proud member of the Alliance for Community Trees, an Arbor Tree Foundation program, Sycamore Land Trust will celebrate by expanding our annual “Arbor Day Tree Giveaway” to distribute more than 800 native tree saplings for free in southern Indiana. On Saturday, April 30, […]

Round Up With Bloomingfoods Positive Change Program

  • April 5, 2022

During the month of April, support Sycamore Land Trust by rounding up your purchase at Bloomingfoods in Bloomington through the Positive Change Program. Learn more at

Preserve-a-Preserve Third Thursday: Earth Day Edition

  • March 25, 2022

Celebrate Earth Day by helping Sycamore Land Trust preserve the land in our care! Join us for a special Earth Day edition of our “Preserve-a-Preserve Third Thursday” volunteer workdays to pull invasive garlic mustard on Thursday, April 21, 2022, at Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve. Sycamore’s “Preserve-a-Preserve Third Thursday” workdays are an opportunity to get […]

87 Bird Species Identified at Sam Shine Foundation Preserve

  • March 19, 2022

A summary by Matthias Benko Matthias, a student at Indiana University, did some walking bird surveys at Sycamore’s Sam Shine Foundation Preserve in our Beanblossom Creek Conservation Area. “He didn’t start until May, so 87 species is really good,” said Chis Fox, Sycamore’s Land Stewardship Director. “Considering we missed most of the spring migration which […]

Mussels on Sycamore’s Preserves

  • March 18, 2022

By Cassie Hauswald, former Indiana Freshwater Ecologist at The Nature Conservancy in Indiana While monitoring a remote property in Green County, Sycamore Land Trust’s Land Stewardship Director Chris Fox found two species of mussel shells on a hike through Clifty Creek. Mussels have a fascinating and odd life cycle and are very important to the […]

The future of Callery (Bradford) pear and our environment

  • February 21, 2022

By Gillian Field, member of Sycamore Land Trust, Indiana Native Plant Society, and MC-IRIS You might recognize a Callery pear tree (Pryus calleryana) if I describe it as pretty tree with white flowers that blooms in early spring and looks like a lollipop. As neat, tidy and charming as it looks, it is an invasive […]

“Dam It: How Beavers Can Save the Planet,” A Conversation with Ben Goldfarb

  • February 10, 2022

On March 10, Sycamore Land Trust’s Land Stewardship team hosted a virtual lecture with environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb, author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter.  A recording of the lecture is now available to watch at In Eager: The Suprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, Ben […]

“Leave No Trace” Volunteer and Hike at Tangeman Woods

  • January 19, 2022

Join us on February 4th at Tangeman Woods in Bartholomew County to learn more about the Principles of Leave No Trace and volunteer to clean up our preserve. We will conclude with a short hike to experience the beauty of Tangeman Woods trails in winter. Leave No Trace is a movement that protects the outdoors by teaching people how to […]

“Nature’s Best Hope,” a Conversation with Doug Tallamy

  • January 11, 2022

 Join Sycamore Land Trust for a conversation with Doug Tallamy, entomologist and author of Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard. In this virtual Zoom lecture and Q&A, Doug Tallamy discusses simple steps that each of us can take to reverse declining biodiversity and will explain why we, […]

“Leave No Trace” Hike at Touch the Earth Natural Area

  • January 4, 2022

Space is limited, register here!

Collecting Native Seeds at Sycamore’s Preserves

  • December 30, 2021

Sycamore has been collecting seeds from native plants like milkweed and ironweed at Sycamore preserves this fall with the help of Indiana Native Seed Communities, a group that promotes growing with locally-sourced seeds to produce hardy plants adapted to our region. These seeds will be grown in a dedicated greenhouse and the plants will be […]

Beanblossom Creek Wildlife Camera Project

  • November 28, 2021

A new window into the world of southern Indiana wildlife, our 2021 Wildlife Camera Project has released 20 minutes of wildlife footage captured on our nature preserves surrounding Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve in Monroe County. Sycamore wants to get to know the animals that live on the land we protect. This summer, we set up […]

  • Beanblossom Bottoms,
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Sycamore’s New Education Director, Mary Welz

  • November 2, 2021

Welcome Mary Welz, Sycamore’s new Education Director! Mary has joined Team Sycamore to lead our Environmental Education program, which offers free nature education for all ages. “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 […]

Trailhead Improvement Planned for Beanblossom Bottoms Funded by Duke Energy Foundation

  • October 29, 2021

The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded Sycamore Land Trust a grant of $10,000 to enhance the visitor experience at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve.  The funding will enable Sycamore to expand and enhance the parking lot, install a split rail fence around the parking area, and install a welcome education kiosk to provide information about the […]

Welcome Madeleine Thompson, our new Communications & Development Fellow

  • September 28, 2021

Welcome Madeleine Thompson, our new Communications and Development Fellow, who joins us as part of the O’Neill Service Corps Program. The O’Neill Service Corps is a program of the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, which leverages Federal Work Study funds to provide graduate students the opportunity to contribute […]

Streambed Restoration and Closure at Powell Preserve

  • September 13, 2021

Powell Preserve has been temporarily closed due to damage to the parking area caused by erosion. This closure will last approximately one year to facilitate the streambank restoration process and protect public safety. The project will be partially funded by a generous grant from the LARE program to keep the preserve open to the public […]

2021 Annual Celebration: “Taking Care”

  • August 23, 2021

Join us for a virtual celebration of habitat restoration in southern Indiana.  Once land is owned by Sycamore, we begin the important work of protecting it through consistent, capable stewardship. This 45-minute video celebration takes a closer look at our land stewardship and habitat restoration projects to take care of the land entrusted to us […]

Kids’ Nature Discovery Art Contest

  • August 18, 2021

Sycamore invites all young artists and nature lovers to submit their artwork for our Kids’ Nature Discovery Art Contest!  Create a picture of something you can discover in nature and submit it by October 3, 2021, for a chance to be featured in our beautiful 2022 Kid’s Nature Discovery Calendar.  This new, limited-edition calendar will […]

Our Vital Wetlands

  • August 18, 2021

By Kate Hammel, Communications & Membership Director Spring flowers surround the wooden boardwalk in the bottomland forest habitat at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve. Chris Fox Each spring, as the winter world wakes up with the warming soil, the chorus of frogs at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve begins. Soon you can hear them long before you […]

Wetland Plant Identification Hike: Sedges of Beanblossom Bottoms

  • August 18, 2021

Take a virtual hike with Executive Director John Lawrence and Dr. Paul Rothrock, biologist and author of Sedges of Indiana, to explore Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve and learn about the vibrant plant community at this important wetland habitat. Over 200 plant species have been recorded at Beanblossom Bottoms. On this hike, we discover a new […]

On the Banks of the Beanblossom

  • August 17, 2021

Sycamore’s Enduring Protection of a Critical Ecological Corridor By Ellen Bergan, Land Stewardship Assistant The creek beckons as Chris Fox, Land Stewardship Director, and I trudge through the sodden cornfield at Fix-Stoelting Preserve. Breaking through the brush at the field’s edge, it’s only a few more steps past blooming ephemerals and spicebush until we’re standing […]

Our Wetland Community

  • August 17, 2021

By Chris Fox, Land Stewardship Director Throughout this issue of The Twig, we have highlighted several species, both common and rare, that depend on wetlands. I have been fortunate to witness many of these species on our preserves as I go about my land stewardship duties. I have been face-to-face with a beaver as I […]

Wetland Restoration

  • August 17, 2021

Sycamore begins ambitious projects along Beanblossom Creek By Rob McCrea, Land Preservation Director Farmland at Sam Shine Foundation Preserve, the future site of a wetland restoration project. Sycamore Land Trust has exciting news for wetlands in the Beanblossom Creek Bicentennial Conservation Area. This summer, Sycamore will be starting work on two major habitat restoration projects […]

Skylar’s World Forest

  • August 17, 2021

By Ann Connors, Development Director Skylar (in pink pants) and her family gather at the dedication ceremony for the future 20-acre Skylar’s World Forest to be planted along Beanblossom Creek. Last December, on a cool and sunny afternoon along Beanblossom Creek in northern Monroe County, an extended family came together at a former farm field […]

“Keep renewing, Mother Nature.”

  • July 23, 2021

Thanks to a grant from Bartholomew County REMC, Sycamore staff have designed trailhead signage to highlight what makes Touch the Earth such a special place. New educational signage at Touch the Earth Natural Area focuses on the preserve’s unique successional forest habitat as former farmland reverts back to forest. 25 years ago, on August 12, […]

Request a Nature Preserve Guide

  • July 15, 2021

Interested in learning more about hiking trails in southern Indiana?  Our beautiful 2021 Nature Preserve Guide includes hiking maps and information about Sycamore Land Trust’s public nature preserves.  We’d love to send you a copy!  Just fill out the form below.  Copies are also available at the Bloomington Visitors Center at 2855 N. Walnut Street, […]

Phenology Trail at Touch the Earth Natural Area

  • July 4, 2021

Phenology is the study of nature’s calendar and tells us how weather and seasons play a role in the life cycles of plants and animals. Sycamore Land Trust’s Touch The Earth Natural Area is now a Phenology Trail, where visitors can use a citizen science method to observe and collect native plant, animal, and insect […]

Thank You “Sponsor a Preserve” 2021 Sponsors

  • June 20, 2021

Sycamore Land Trust is grateful to the generous sponsors of our “Sponsor a Preserve” Summer 2021 Campaign. These passionate, dedicated supporters and lovers of nature have committed to help us continue our important stewardship work this summer by sponsoring their favorite nature preserve. Caring for nature preserves takes dedication and hard work but the rewards […]

Midwestoration Podcast: Beanblossom Bottoms with Chris Fox and Rob McCrea

  • June 8, 2021

On a perfect, sunny day, the Midwestoration Podcast met our land stewardship team at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve to discuss what is so special about this bottomland hardwood forest habitat and Sycamore’s ongoing efforts to preserve and restore wetlands and other important ecological areas in the Beanblossom Creek watershed. One of the first pieces of […]

  • Beanblossom Bottoms,
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The Cedars Preserve is Closed to Public Access

  • May 27, 2021

Sycamore Land Trust has closed The Cedars Preserve to public access beginning May 25, 2021. This nature preserve has experienced a significant increase in visitation over the past year and sensitive natural areas have been adversely impacted by the increased number of hikers. Sycamore has decided to close the preserve to allow the land time […]

Arbor Day 2021 Native Tree Seedling Giveaway sponsored by IU Health

  • April 26, 2021

Help wildlife and beautify your yard with a native tree seedling! To celebrate Arbor Day 2021, Sycamore Land Trust and our generous sponsor IU Health will provide free native tree seedlings on Saturday, May 1, 2021, at Bloomingfoods East (3220 E 3rd St.) and Bloomingfoods Near West (316 W 6th St.) starting a 10am while […]

Protected Forever

Big News! 56 Acres Acquired Adjacent to the Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill

  • March 26, 2021

Sycamore Land Trust is excited to announce the addition of 56 acres of protected land to the Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill, thanks to the generous support of the Laura Hare Charitable Trust and Sycamore members. “This property was available for sale on the open market,” explains Rob McCrea, Sycamore’s Land Preservation Director. […]

  • acquisitions,
  • Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill,
  • Preserves,
  • wildlife,
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Creating Habitat to Study and Protect Endangered Species

  • March 25, 2021

How can we create habitat that supports the Kirtland’s snake, Crawfish frog, and other endangered species at our preserves? At the Sam Shine Foundation Preserve and other properties in our priority Beanblossom Creek Bicentennial Conservation Area, we are hard at work to restore wetland and other important wildlife habitats. We have partnered with the Indiana […]

Wake Up, Woods cover

Wake Up, Woods! Spring Ephemerals Emerge on our Preserves

  • March 25, 2021

Spring ephemerals — wildflowers that bloom in early spring for only a short time, provide an important source of food for pollinators, and rely on ants to disperse their seeds — are emerging now on our preserves as life on the forest floor awakens from its winter sleep. You can learn more about what to […]

Bluebird Houses for Habitat Restoration at Sam Shine Foundation Preserve

  • March 23, 2021

Our bluebird houses are ready for installation at Sam Shine Foundation Preserve! Built by our Land Stewardship Manager Chris Fox, these boxes will help us monitor breeding success of cavity nesting birds and test a few designs recommended by the North American Bluebird Society to see which is the most successful on our preserves. Sycamore’s […]

Virtual Hike with John

Virtual Hike: Beanblossom Bottoms After Flooding

  • March 5, 2021

 Join Executive Director John Lawrence on this virtual hike of Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve after recent flooding. Find out where to spot the bald eagles’ nest, get serenaded by chorus frogs and spring peepers just emerged from their winter rest, hear red-shouldered hawks give each other the “what for,” identify tracks on the boardwalk, […]

Ellen Bergen Building Trails

To Build a Trail: Routing, Building, Maintaining, and Sustaining our Public Trails

  • March 5, 2021

By Ellen Bergan, Land Stewardship Assistant   From our Winter-Spring 2021 issue of  The Twig, “The Trails Issue”: On the day of Sycamore’s 30th birthday celebration this past November, I ventured to our Trevlac Bluffs Nature Preserve in Brown County. As I followed the preserve’s upper Yellowwood Trail through its mixed hardwood forest and along […]

Brian Besser

Sanctuaries in Southern Indiana: A Faith-Based View of Sycamore’s Work

  • March 5, 2021

By Rabbi Brian Besser   From our Winter-Spring 2021 issue of  The Twig, “The Trails Issue”: Nature is my oldest, deepest source of spiritual renewal. I fell in love with hiking in the Green Mountains of Vermont, where I spent all my childhood summers. In 1988, I trekked 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada on […]

Heth-Washington Woodland Restoration

Bridging Nature and the Classroom: A Woodland Restoration Project at Heth-Washington Elementary

  • March 5, 2021

By Shane Gibson, Environmental Educational Director   From our Winter-Spring 2021 issue of  The Twig, “The Trails Issue”: “Don’t go to the woods! There are snakes in there!” These words were often uttered by teachers at Heth-Washington Elementary in Harrison County when I first met with Principal Nissa Ellett in 2017. The two acres of […]

Maple Tapping at Cedars Christian School

Backyard sugarin’:
The basics of making maple syrup at home

  • February 25, 2021

By Shane Gibson, Environmental Education Director   In January 2021, Sycamore’s Environmental Education Program visited Cedars Christian School to teach the basics of tapping maple trees and practice on school property.  The school purchased every student a stile to continue their outdoor learning at home with their families. Freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw. This is the […]

Untidy Gardens Make Good Winter Wildlife Habitat

  • February 20, 2021

By Shane Gibson, Environmental Education Director   Passers-by may look at the prairie I planted, the ditch in front of my house, and the flowerbeds and wonder why I didn’t tidy up those areas this fall. There was a reason for leaving the stems and seed heads.  A quick view out of my windows provides the evidence. […]

Native Prairie Planting at Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve

  • February 1, 2021

Feeling ready for spring wildflowers? Sycamore Land Trust’s new prairie planting at Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve is too! Last month, with the help of Eco Logic LLC, Sycamore planted native wildflower and grass seeds to work into the soil during the freeze and thaw cycles over the remaining winter months. These wildflower and grass […]

Creekside Trail building

The New Creekside Trail at
Trevlac Bluffs Nature Preserve

  • January 31, 2021

The new creekside trail at Trevlac Bluffs Nature Preserve, which we began last year before the pandemic hit, is nearly complete after some hard work by our Land Stewardship team (and a break to climb a sycamore tree to get to a better view!) Ellen Bergan, our Land Stewardship Assistant, finding a happy place. The […]

Kate Hammel

Hello from our new
Communications & Membership Director!

  • January 30, 2021

Kate Hammel, Membership & Communications Director Hello Sycamore friends, I am so touched by the warm welcome I have received in my first two weeks as the newest addition to Team Sycamore. As an enthusiastic Sycamore member that spends many happy hours out on the trails, I am passionate about open space preservation and grateful […]

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Touch the Earth

Touch the Earth Natural Area Ribbon Cutting

  • January 27, 2021

 Sycamore Land Trust’s staff, supporters, and community members gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony on January 27, 2021, to celebrate the completion of new improvements at the beloved Touch the Earth Natural Area in Bartholomew County, including expanding and enhancing the new parking area to accommodate eight cars and building a new educational kiosk […]

  • Preserves,
  • Team Sycamore,
  • Touch the Earth Natural Area,
  • video,
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Eva Lapp

A Farewell from Eva Lapp,
Communications & Membership Fellow

  • January 15, 2021

Last month Sycamore Land Trust said goodbye to Eva Lapp, Communication & Membership Fellow.  Eva had a wonderful impact at Sycamore in her time here as our O’Neill graduate fellow. “I am grateful for the many things I have learned in my brief time at Sycamore Land Trust. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Sycamore […]

Extend Your Outdoor Hobby Into the New Year

  • December 18, 2020

by Lauren Dexter-Burns, guest contributor and Sycamore member Have you hit the trails more than usual this year? You’re not alone. Sycamore staff and volunteers have seen that visitation to our public nature preserves has increased significantly during the pandemic. Trail managers throughout Indiana and across the country are experiencing a surge in activity, with […]

Grass I.D. Gone a-Rye

  • November 10, 2020

by Shane Gibson, Environmental Education Director Header photo: Japanese stiltgrass at Sycamore’s Latimer Preserve in 2010 Prior to my work at Sycamore Land Trust, I worked for Eco Logic LLC, a native plant restoration company based out of Bloomington, Indiana. At Eco Logic, I worked alongside some of the best botanists I’ve ever met, and […]

A Farewell from Abby Henkel

  • October 27, 2020

Dear Sycamore friends, I can’t believe it, but my last day as the Communications Director for Sycamore Land Trust is here. Next Monday, I’ll be starting a new position as the Development Manager for the Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University. I’m excited to help this amazing team of experts address climate change in Indiana […]

Tree Identification Basics

  • October 22, 2020

by Shane Gibson, Environmental Education Director This article originally appeared in the fall 2020 issue of The Twig, our member newsletter. To see a PDF of the print version, more articles, and past issues, click here. Tree identification can be made simple. That doesn’t mean you will determine the exact species 100% of the time, but […]

From the Field: Holding on to Hope

  • October 22, 2020

by Chris Fox, Land Stewardship Manager This article originally appeared in the fall 2020 issue of The Twig, our member newsletter. To see a PDF of the print version, more articles, and past issues, click here. Photo of Chris Fox by Robert Stoffer. This past winter the stewardship staff spent many hours creating a plan for […]

Lessons from Sycamore’s History

  • October 22, 2020

by Abby Henkel, Communications Director This article originally appeared in the fall 2020 issue of The Twig, our member newsletter. To see a PDF of the print version, more articles, and past issues, click here. Do you remember your 30th birthday? (Apologies if you haven’t had yours yet.) For most of us, our 30th birthday […]

Connecting Youth to Nature and Habitat Restoration

  • October 7, 2020

Timing can be everything. From when you plant a seed in winter to when a bird begins its migration to when a new educational partnership begins. The timing for the partnership with Sycamore’s Environmental Education Program (EE) and Cedars Christian School was indeed no coincidence. Last spring, Cedars’ teachers and administrators had been utilizing their […]

Sycamore’s online Birthday Party: What to expect

  • September 11, 2020

We’re excited to invite you and all our friends to Sycamore Land Trust’s 30th birthday party! Maybe you got the postcard in the mail, or you learned about it through Facebook, Instagram, or e-news. You know you want to be a part of the celebration, but you’re not quite sure how we’re going to have […]

Why we’re changing the name of a nature preserve

  • August 28, 2020

August 28, 2020 Contact: Abby Henkel, Communications Director, When the Indiana Department of Natural Resources announced in May 2020 that Sycamore Land Trust’s Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest was the newest state-dedicated nature preserve, the public was thrilled. And so was everyone at Sycamore! This beautiful, hilly hardwood forest with canyons and ravines in Greene County […]

Coyote and bobcat research spotlight

  • August 11, 2020

August 13, 2020 Earlier this year, Purdue University contacted us about collaborating on a predator research study at one of our Brown County preserves, the Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill. The primary objective of the project was to collect data to better estimate the population of both coyotes (Canis latrans) and bobcats (Lynx […]

Learning about Birds: thoughts from a new birder

  • July 8, 2020

by Eva Lapp, Communications and Development Graduate Fellow header photo: eastern phoebe at Cedar Crest, Jaime Sweany Here at Sycamore Land Trust, every staff member has a deep and abiding passion for continued learning about wildlife conservation. As the newest member of the team, I don’t come from an environmental background but I have been […]

  • Birding,
  • birds,
  • black birders week,
  • species,
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(Not) sorry to bug you

  • June 16, 2020

by Chris Fox, Land Stewardship Manager This article originally appeared in the summer 2020 issue of The Twig, our member newsletter. To see more articles and past issues, click here. Being a land steward has its perks! Not the least of which is having the great outdoors as your office. However, it also has its drawbacks. […]


“My favorite plant is whatever new plant I discover.”

  • June 16, 2020

by Abby Henkel, Communications Director This article originally appeared in the summer 2020 issue of The Twig, our member newsletter. To see more articles and past issues, click here. Peine Farm has been in the family for 50 years, but these days you might instead call it Peine Nature Oasis. In every season, the family’s 196-acre […]

“Your land will never be timbered”

  • June 16, 2020

by Rob McCrea, Land Preservation Director This article originally appeared in the summer 2020 issue of The Twig, our member newsletter. To see more articles and past issues, click here. The best part of my job at Sycamore is working with property owners who want to protect their land. There is much more to protecting the […]

Life on a log

  • June 16, 2020

by Shane Gibson, Environmental Education Director This article originally appeared in the summer 2020 issue of The Twig, our member newsletter. To see more articles and past issues, click here. Not all wildlife encounters are as obvious as a deer crossing the road, a squirrel on a birdfeeder, or a hawk on a roadside fence post. […]

Insects in our ecosystem

  • June 12, 2020

by Abby Henkel, Communications Director This article originally appeared in the summer 2020 issue of The Twig, our member newsletter. To see more articles and past issues, click here. Cover photo by Rick Malad, @cadmea: A mining bee visits spring beauty, a delicate spring ephemeral flower, at the Malad Preserve in Monroe County, a private property […]

Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest becomes State-Dedicated Nature Preserve

  • May 27, 2020

Update: The Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest has been renamed the Canyon Forest Nature Preserve. Contact: Kate Hammel, Communications Director, Sycamore Land Trust A nature preserve owned and protected by Sycamore Land Trust has become the latest natural area to earn the distinction of State-Dedicated Nature Preserve by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Dilcher-Turner Canyon […]

Announcing weekend closure: Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve

  • May 14, 2020

Due to an extraordinary increase in visitation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve will be closed on weekends and holidays. The parking lot will be gated at 8:00 pm on Fridays and reopen at 8:00 am on Mondays. Sycamore’s primary mission is to preserve and restore natural lands and we work […]