Beanblossom Creek Conservation Area

Beanblossom Creek is a major tributary of the West Fork White River. Sycamore Land Trust has made this area of Monroe and Brown counties a conservation priority since our first acquisition in 1993.

The Beanblossom Creek Conservation Area is Sycamore Land Trust’s ongoing project to protect and restore wetlands and other important natural areas in and along the floodplain of Beanblossom Creek, a major tributary of the West Fork White River. Beanblossom Creek was Sycamore’s first focus area for conservation, and continues to be a top priority.



History of Sycamore’s acquisitions at Beanblossom Creek in Monroe County

In 1993, Sycamore received our first donation of land in the Beanblossom Creek area from Barbara Restle, who had also donated adjoining land to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. A few years later Sycamore made our first land purchase, then called “Habitat for Herons,” which we added onto over the years and grew into the now 826-acre Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve. A donation from Patsy Powell added even more land along the creek, closer to the White River.

A great blue heron nests in the heron rookery at Grandchildren’s Woods, a parcel in the Beanblossom Creek Bicentennial Conservation Area purchased with an anonymous donation in 2019. | John Lawrence

In 2015, Sycamore began acquiring even more important natural land along the creek through our Beanblossom Creek Conservation Area project. Funding has come from many generous donors, including the Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust, the Sam Shine Foundation, the Laura Hare Charitable Trust, the Efroymson Fund, the Ropchan Foundation, Oliver Winery, and more than 200 individuals and businesses including landowners who sold land at a reduced price. With more than $3 million of support, Sycamore purchased almost 1,100 acres from 2015 through the end of 2022. In 2023, Sycamore completed construction of over 60 acres of new wetlands at the Sam Shine Foundation Preserve and adjacent Fix-Stoelting Preserve.

In 2023, Sycamore purchased a 113-acre wetland property along Beanblossom Creek in Monroe County. The property includes a house that Sycamore is developing into the future Carl Ziegler Wetlands & Education Center. Renovations are expected to be complete in 2025. This acquisition was supported by Carl H. Ziegler, the Sam Shine Foundation, Raymond Foundation, Alexandra “Sandy” Lynch and Jack Shelton, Kathleen Weller and the Next Level Conservation Trust.

In 2024, Sycamore added two new nature preserves to expand the Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve complex of connected nature preserves. The 26-acre John Allen England Nature Preserve connects the Restle Natural Area, Sycamore’s first acquisition in the Beanblossom Creek area in 1993, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Restle Unit of the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge. This purchase was supported by Marian England, Jim Diehl, and Indiana’s Next Level Conservation Trust. A new 62-acre nature preserve connected to Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve was donated by Bill and Kathleen Oliver of Oliver Winery.

Altogether, with your help, we now preserve over 2,400 acres in the Beanblossom Creek area of Monroe and Brown Counties. Our two largest preserve complexes are located in northwest Monroe County.


Why is Beanblossom Creek special?

Beanblossom Creek runs through Monroe and Brown counties in south-central Indiana, serving as a watershed for the nearly 92 square miles that drain into it. It serves as an important part of the White River watershed, which supplies drinking water for over a million Hoosiers and provides habitat for countless species of plants, animals, insects, and more.

The limestone bedrock of this area provides for sinkholes and swamps, creating wetlands that support incredible biodiversity. On the land that Sycamore protects in the Beanblossom Creek watershed, at least 20 endangered, protected, and special-concern species have been identified. They include native orchids, American bittern, American bald eagle, Henslow’s sparrow, and the Indiana bat (pictured here in the hands of biologist Andy King during a 2012 study at Beanblossom Bottoms).

Wetlands are also immensely important for keeping our air, water, and soil clean and combating climate change. Ecosystems with high biodiversity such as wetlands are more stable, adaptable to increasing storms, and likely to survive changes in species makeup as populations change due to higher temperatures and drought.

Read more about our work to protect Beanblossom Creek:

  • The Diversity of Life: cover story from The Twig highlighting interesting species on Sycamore’s preserves, including the cypress firefly and native orchids at Beanblossom Bottoms
  • Stewardship Stories: cover story from The Twig exploring recent stewardship projects, including at the Sam Shine Foundation Preserve and Dan Efroymson Preserve in the Beanblossom Creek Bicentennial Conservation Area
  • A Beanblossom Creek Vision: the history and future of Sycamore’s acquisitions and stewardship along Beanblossom Creek
  • From 40 Acres to Forever: cover story from The Twig devoted to the boardwalk renovation project at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve
  • Facing a Changing Climate: cover story from The Twig illustrating the connection between conservation and climate change mitigation
  • The Twig: The Water Issue


Do you have land near Beanblossom Creek or one of Sycamore’s nature preserves?

We’d love to talk with you about your options for working with Sycamore to preserve your land as a natural area forever. Please get in touch with Chris Erickson, our Land Preservation Director, at or 812-336-5382, extension 106.


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