Next Level Conservation Trust finalizes purchase of Fern Station Nature Preserve, permanently protecting 570 acres of forestland in Putnam County, Indiana; land--now owned by Central Indiana Land Trust--was purchased through 3:1 state partner match

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INDIANAPOLIS , June 21, 2023 (press release) –

Governor Eric J. Holcomb joined the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Central Indiana Land Trust, and local partners today to announce the permanent protection of 570 acres of undisturbed forestland through the Next Level Conservation Trust (NLCT).

“When I think about this land, I couldn’t be more thrilled we’re preserving the natural wonders of Hoosier landscapes like these,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Through this first investment from the Next Level Conservation Trust, we are preserving land not just for today, but for generations of future Hoosiers to enjoy, protecting habitats and promoting quality of life.”

Fern Station Nature Preserve is the first NLCT property purchase to finalize. With $25 million in funding, the NLCT is the largest infusion of dollars in Indiana for conservation in the state’s history.

Fern Station Nature Preserve, located west of Greencastle in Putnam County, is a biodiverse forest that provides a safe harbor for species including cerulean warblers, eastern box turtles, a high-density population of Kentucky warblers, and many diverse species of ferns. The land, now owned by the Central Indiana Land Trust, was purchased through a 3:1 state partner match, with $3.1 funded by the NLCT and more than $1 million funded by donors to the Central Indiana Land Trust.

Partners that helped the Central Indiana Land Trust raise its required $1 million match included The Efroymson Family Fund, The Herbert Simon Family Foundation, The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Meyer Family Fund, The Sam Shine Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, The Putnam County Community Foundation, Indiana Native Plant Society, Amos Butler Audubon Society, and over 30 CILTI donors.

“This property has been on our wish list since first exploring it in 2008 because of its size, pristine condition and rich biodiversity,” said Cliff Chapman, Central Indiana Land Trust president and CEO. “Plus, it’s near another protected property – Fern Cliff Nature Preserve. Anytime you increase the critical mass of protected land, you provide a safer place for wildlife and plants to thrive.”

As required with NLCT funded projects, the Central Indiana Land Trust will work to create opportunities for outdoor recreation at Fern Station in the near future. The state now owns a conservation easement on the property, which means that its protection will continue forever.

The NLCT funding is sourced by the federal American Rescue Plan dollars appropriated by the General Assembly.

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