Chris Fox, land stewardship manager with Sycamore Land Trust, stops to listen to a bird call while carrying some of the material used to build the new boardwalk at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve in Monroe County. The preserve was closed in July so about a mile of the boardwalk could be replaced. The nature preserve is expected to reopen to the public in early 2019. Courtesy photo
Sycamore Land Trust has helped conserve 526 more acres in south-central Indiana so far this year.
The land trust, with headquarters in Bloomington, had its largest land donation ever — 257 acres in Orange County being donated by Martha Barclay-Giel upon her death. Barclay-Giel had already given 10 of the acres in 2004 as down payment for the land located south of Paoli and Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest. The total acreage is now known as Barclay Woods and had been family owned for more than 100 years, according to John Lawrence, interim executive director of Sycamore Land Trust.
Barclay Woods consists of upland forest with karst topography with sinkholes and likely caves underground. There is no parking area or trail on the property and none is planned for the near future, according to Lawrence.
The other land acquisitions made this past year are a patchwork of properties scattered in Monroe, Brown and other counties. The land trust’s objective is to purchase land with woods or other natural features worth preserving to help create a natural corridor that, along with state and federal lands, can provide habitat for wildlife and occasionally recreation for people.
To that end, 88 acres were added to the Beanblossom Creek Conservation Area that follows Beanblossom Creek from the edge of Lake Lemon north and westward to near Gosport. The conservation area was established in 2015 and includes Sycamore Land Trust’s Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve. The new land added includes a 66-acre parcel named Grandchildren’s Woods that had been owned by the same family for decades. The impetus for the name came from the idea of preserving land for future grandchildren — and all people are grandchildren.
The land is mostly bottomland hardwood forest and has a great blue heron rookery with about 30 nests tucked into treetops along the creek that meanders through the property.