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New Partnership Promotes Taxonomic Research and Bioinventories on Nature Preserves in Indiana

This partnership provides small grants to support taxonomic research and study of important natural areas throughout the State.

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Land Protection Alliance (ILPA) and Indiana Academy of Science (IAS) announce a new partnership to provide small grants to support taxonomic research and study of important natural areas throughout Indiana. In this first year, grants are being awarded to NICHES Land Trust (NICHES) and Indiana Karst Conservancy (IKC).

“We are thrilled to launch this new program with the Indiana Academy of Science. By uniting Indiana’s science community with Indiana’s conservation community, this new partnership will significantly enrich land protection and land management strategies throughout the state. Together, we are facilitating opportunities for Indiana’s scientists to use their knowledge and expertise in a way that directly impacts local communities,” stated Andrea Huntington, executive director, ILPA.

NICHES Land Trust, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, protects land in west central Indiana. NICHES will use the support to document rare and declining plant species at Fall Creek Gorge, a 160-acre State Dedicated Nature Preserve. “NICHES is thrilled to have been awarded a Bioinventory Grant through the Indiana Land Protection Alliance/ Indiana Academy of Science. Conducting this bioinventory 30 years after a detailed study was completed at Fall Creek Gorge will fill gaps in the taxa recorded at the site, show how species occurrence, distribution, and abundance has changed in the last 30 years and provide a baseline for the state of the preserve as NICHES begins management of the preserve, following transfer from The Nature Conservancy,” stated Bob Easter, stewardship director, NICHES.

“As Chair of the Biodiversity and Natural Areas Committee (BNAC) of the IAS, I am thrilled to see the creation of such an exciting partnership between ILPA and the Academy,” said Glené Mynhardt. “The Committee’s primary mission is to promote the study of natural history in our state, and what better way to do this than to provide support for land trusts and other Indiana-based organizations to better understand the areas they are trying to protect. This new collaboration also gives taxonomists and naturalists an opportunity to explore biodiversity in areas that may be in critical need of baseline biodiversity data.”

Indiana Karst Conservancy, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, protects unique karst features in Indiana. Karsts are regions characterized by the presence of limestone or other soluble rocks, where drainage has been largely diverted into subsurface routes. The topography of these areas is dominated by sinkholes, sinking streams, large springs, and caves. “We are so excited, as a recipient of this new grant, to be able to determine what vascular plant diversity we have on this property. This will allow us to be the best stewards of native species we can be and to plan how to make the most of the land for years to come,” stated Danyele Green, director, Indiana Karst Conservancy. IKC will use the support to complete a vascular inventory on three special areas of Wayne Cave Preserve.

The President of the IAS, Dr. Marc Milne, spearheaded the creation of these grants with the help of the director of ILPA, Andrea Huntington. Milne stated, “These grants were designed to help land trusts and other land conservation organizations throughout Indiana conduct the bioinventory work that is so desperately needed on their preserves in order to better understand what exists on their properties. Having this knowledge will help these organizations better manage their properties for the benefit of those organisms and the public visiting those properties. We’re thrilled to be able to partner with the ILPA to aid these organizations protect essential biodiversity within Indiana.”