Conservation group lands $1M to protect biodiverse forest

January 2, 2022 GMT

TRAFALGAR, Ind. (AP) — A conservation group has landed a $1 million gift aimed at protecting and improving a central Indiana nature preserve that’s part of one of the state’s most biodiverse forested areas.

The donation from Leonard and Kathryn Betley and their family to the Central Indiana Land Trust is earmarked to protect and support reforesting portions of the newly renamed Betley Woods at Glacier’s End, a 300-acre (121.4-hectare) nature preserve.

The money will also establish an endowment for protecting the Hills of Gold Conservation Area, which encompasses the nature preserve. That conservation area is home to rare plant and animal species, including a state-endangered plant called timid sedge, and the federally endangered Indiana and Northern long-eared bats, the Daily Journal reported.


“When you have diversity of plants, you get a diversity of insects, and it carries on to mammals, reptiles, birds and so on,” said Cliff Chapman, the land trust’s executive director.

Located in Johnson County just north of Brown County, Betley Woods at Glacier’s End sits where a line of glaciers stopped pushing southward at the end of the last ice age. The landscape, which includes steep bluffs, exposed bedrock and shale-bottom streams, provides a rich natural habitat.

A recent state botanical inventory found 484 plant species at the nature preserve, which is located near Trafalgar, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Indianapolis.

Although Betley Woods at Glacier’s End is not currently open to the public, Chapman said the Central Indiana Land Trust is seeking a grant and hopes to soon build a publicly accessible trail there.