Founded by a small group of citizens concerned with conservation of natural areas, NICHES protects, restores and sustains Northern Indiana’s ecosystems by providing habitat for native species and offering natural places for the education, appreciation and enjoyment of current and future generations.’
The above mission directs NICHES daily activities and long term vision. With the help of dedicated volunteers and generous donors, NICHES provides public access to high quality natural areas, acquires land for conservation, and stewards the land once acquired.
“NICHES” stands for “Northern Indiana Citizens Helping Ecosystems Survive.” NICHES is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation formed in 1995. NICHES Land Trust Federal Tax ID: 35-1964901. We recognize that a strong economy and a continued high quality of life in our area of Indiana is ultimately dependent upon and related to the state of our environment.
NICHES is non-adversarial; we work cooperatively with land owners, other nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and various other entities. NICHES actively seeks to protect a broad array of natural areas ranging from small green spaces to pristine nature preserves of high biological integrity. NICHES serves Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fountain, Howard, Jasper, Montgomery, Pulaski, Newton, Tippecanoe, Warren, and White Counties.
NICHES is a member of The Land Trust Alliance, the national organization of land trusts. NICHES is currently in the process of accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance.
NICHES Believes That:
- The Northern Indiana landscape is home to ecosystems of native plants and animals that should be protected.
- Access and connection with natural areas and open space improves the quality of people’s lives. People in our region should be able to live among sustainable, healthy, attractive landscapes.
- Private landowners have an important role to play in helping to provide larger ecological and social benefits for the local community.
- Fostering an ethic of stewardship for the land and water is an important step to achieving lasting protection of native plants and animals.
- The study of our natural resources of our region contributes to our understanding and appreciation of the lands and waters.
- The long term viability of our Organization is a critical component to being able to achieve our vision so that future generations can enjoy the same quality natural experiences as today.
NICHES stewards entrusted land to maintain high quality native ecosystems with rich biodiversity. All NICHES properties are open to the public, free of charge from dawn to dusk December 1 through October 31, and some are open daily year round.
NICHES educates and works with private landowners, local and regional organization, government agencies, and other entities to provide large scale conservation. By working with such a wide array of individuals, groups and landowners, NICHES fosters an ethic of stewardship and empowers private landowners to steward their property; thereby contributing to larger ecological and social benefits for the community.
NICHES Stewardship Managers constantly make observations and collect in the field data providing valuable information about flora, fauna and natural systems. Outside researchers, including Purdue Students, both graduate and undergraduate, conduct research on NICHES properties. The access to natural areas, native ecosystems of various types, enables educational and research opportunities as well as valuable knowledge.
NICHES long term capacity to operate and be sustained is essential to achieving our mission, to meeting our goals, to realizing our mission. NICHES success is contingent on our relationship with members and the community, on the contributions by volunteers, and donations by supporters.
NICHES’ long-term vision: (link to strategic plan)
- NICHES geographic region contains large connected areas of terrestrial and aquatic habitat sustaining populations of thriving native species.
- Local communities integrate ecologically sustainable, aesthetically appealing landscapes offering abundant public opportunities for enjoyment of natural areas.
- Local communities minimize negative human impacts on local ecological processes and use local environmental resources in a sustainable manner; thereby improving region’s quality of life.
- Multiple and diverse stakeholders from local communities engage in protection, restoration and stewardship of the landscape in an open and participatory manner.