The Central Indiana Land Trust has purchased an agricultural field adjacent to the Meltzer Woods Nature Preserve in Shelbyville with a plan to plant more than 20,000 trees. The trust says the $260,000 purchase was made through the organization’s Evergreen Fund for Nature and its members. A portion of the funding also came from American Electric Power under a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states and 13 citizen groups.
“By converting the agricultural land to forest, we’ll allow species in the old-growth ecosystem to expand their territory over time and magnify this venerable site,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of CILTI.
CILTI says the 60-acre preserve has been left undisturbed for more than a century. The 35-acre addition to the preserve will add to the preservation of trees in the area, which was recognized in 1969 by Purdue ecologist Alton Lindsey’s book Natural Areas in Indiana and their Preservation. The preserve was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974 and includes oak and hickory trees estimated at more than 300 years old.