NICHES NEWS

NICHES Land Trust Gains National Recognition

Accreditation-Seal

NICHES Land Trust is excited to announce that it has gained accredited status from The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an entity promoting the highest national standards for ensuring permanence in the conservation of lands within the United States. The Commission, an independent collaboration of the Land Trust Alliance, awards accreditation to land trusts that meet standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure that their conservation efforts are permanent.

“The one thing that separates land trusts away from other non-profits, is that we make the bold claim that we will be around forever. The Land Trust Accreditation ensures that claim with high standards and organizational ethics. I feel secure knowing NICHES will be around in 2117 for future generations to appreciate natural lands!” – Gus Nyberg, Executive Director

The Commission requires accredited land trusts to endure an arduous application process in which extensive documentation of management practices is submitted for review. NICHES Land Trust, as well as 20 other land trusts, now joins 372 accredited land trusts in the United States. NICHES Land Trust has been working to protect, restore, and sustain native ecosystems in northern Indiana since 1995. NICHES President, Dan Towery, says NICHES accreditation means that it has met the highest standards for land conservation. This means landowners and supporters can be confident that NICHES Land Trust is an organization you can trust and be assured that the promise of perpetuity will be kept.

More than 3,000 acres over 13 counties in west-central Indiana have been preserved for the education, appreciation, and enjoyment of current and future generations. NICHES Land Trust’s properties feature significant scenic and ecological value, and are open to the public year-round. With approximately 15 miles of public hiking trails, over 3,000 acres of prairie, woodland, and wetland, NICHES asks you to join us outside!

IRA Charitable Rollover Tax Benefits

 

IRA Charitable Rollover Tax Benefits
Individuals age 70 ½ or older can donate up to $100,000 of IRA assets to qualified charitable organizations.
Benefits of making charitable contributions via IRA rollovers include:

  • Reduced taxable income
  • Distributions are not included in the taxpayer’s gross income
  • IRA rollovers can be used to satisfy the donor’s annual required minimum distribution
  • Because the distribution generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, even those who do not itemize their returns receive the benefit

It is important to note that tax-free gifts from your IRA can not be withdrawn by the donor, but instead must be paid directly by the IRA custodian to one or more qualified charitiesPlease consult your financial or legal adviser for additional information, and notify the intended recipient(s) that a gift is coming.

If an IRA Charitable Rollover is an option in your particular situation, we hope you will consider naming NICHES Land Trust, a qualified 501 (c)(3) charitable organization, as a beneficiary.

For additional information about NICHES Land Trust, or to make a direct gift online, go to www.nicheslandtrust.org.

Thank you!

EQUIP applications Due January 15, 2017

NICHES believes in and works toward landscape level conservation. When neighbors each are practicing conservation on their land, the level of impact achieved collectively increases. If you are a land owner in agricultural or forest production, you may be eligible to participate in the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQUIP). Look into it to find out the program requirements.

Below are some useful links:

EQUIP defined and explained at the national level

Indiana specific informaiton

For more information, contact your local NRCS office, or County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Bison return to Kankakee Sands

The Nature Conservancy of Indiana are reintroducing a native mammal to the habitat. Their website states, “It’s been almost 200 years since [bison] roamed free in Indiana.  In November 2016, bison will return to the prairies of Kankakee Sands. Learn more about the restoration of this iconic mammal.

Visit the Nature Conservancy website to learn more.

NICHES will be watching the reintroduction with avid interest.

Carroll County Libraries host “All-in Block Party” in Delphi

NICHES, both excited and honored, participates in the All-in Block Party hosted by Carroll County Libraries as part of the Bicentennial Torch Relay on October 6, 2016 in Delphi, IN.

NICHES Mary I. Gerard Nature Reserve lies adjacent to the Monon High Bridge Trail, one of many properties NICHES owns in Carroll County.

We will be present and celebrating local natural, geological and cultural history along with the rest of the community. Come on over to Delphi and join in the All-In Block party.

The story of how a species escapes landscaping use and negatively impacts native ecosystems

This straightforward and engaging video tells the tale of the Japenese Barberry, a plant long used in landscaping that has escaped to populate native habitats. The story also clearly indicates, through the story of a single specific species, the process of how other non-native species can become invasive.

A new Japanese Barberry video by University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is available.  The video was jointly created by Angela Gupta with Extension, Emilie Justen with MDA and Audrey Robinson Favorito with Wild Carrot Productions.  They did a terrific job.

Grasses, how do you tell them apart?

Want to learn more about grasses? Craving skills at identifying the many and varied grasses that grow in our region? Like to learn new things and gather with folks with a shared interest in ecology and botany?

Well – here is a workshop that may be for you:

Grass Identification Workshop hosted by Illinois Native Plant Society

Saturday, September 24, 2016, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Illinois Natural History Survey’s Forbes Building, 1816 S. Oak Street, Champaign, IL

Join us to learn the basics of grass identification and terminology. The workshop will include both classroom and field instruction. No previous botanical experience is necessary. Bring water, your lunch, and a hand lens if you have one. Microscopes will be supplied during the classroom session. The grass family (Poaceae) is the 5th largest plant family in the world and 2nd largest in Illinois. Don’t ignore them any longer! Grasses are important as characteristic species of many habitats in Illinois. Registration required (limit 12): contact Paul Marcum (marcum@illinois.edu)

 

 

Learn about forestry management from experts

Attend the upcoming Forestry and Wildlife Habitat Field Day, organized by the Tippecanoe County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) on Saturday, October 29 from 9 am – 3pm. For full details see the flyer: forestry-and-wildlife-habitat-field-day.

NICHES Land Trust encourages landowners and the public to learn about conservation and stewardship concepts and techniques. The field day provides just such an opportunity, including informative sessions and site visits to local natural areas.

photo by Brooke Criswell

photo by Brooke Criswell

A boot brush and a car wash help prevent spread of invasive seed.

Controlling invasive plant species populations is a complex and challenging problem that takes planning, timing, persistence, and collaboration.

Bob Easter, NICHES Stewardship Manager, shares some insights and suggestions to help minimize spread of seed.  Recently he mowed an area infested with invasive grasses. The intent was to mow the grasses before they could produce seed and to do so in such a manner that the stems and leaves cut smoother the current stems. After mowing, Bob thoroughly washed the truck (used to haul the mower into the field) and the mower including the blades. “[Even though the chance of] spreading seed from mowing done before flowering is likely limited to seed from soil getting stuck to tires, it is possible that [former seasons] seed be kicked up from the ground and stick to the grass under the mower deck.” The thorough washing of mower and truck ensures that seed from one site won’t be transferred to another site.

Bob also prepared portable boot brushes to enable boot cleaning between properties. Such methodical attention to potential spread of invasive species seeds helps minimize the spreading.

Please get or make yourself a portable boot brush and keep it in your vehicle. Brush your feet at the end of a hike before transporting seeds into your vehicle or carrying seeds to another site.

Preventing spread of invasive plant species is an important step to control invasive species infestation. Thank for doing your part.

 

Sand Savannas – some interesting information

Sand savannas, unique and fascinating ecosystems of sand soil, exist in the northern portion of NICHES service area. NICHES Land Trust promotes and supports sand savanna conservation by meeting with land owners interested in protecting and conserving sand savannas on their properties in Jasper or Newton County, educating the public about sand savannas, and of course stewarding the sand savannas at Fisher Oak Savanna Nature Preserve in Jasper County, and Holley Savanna in Newton County.

You can experience the sand savanna ecosystem by visiting either property. You can learn about Fisher Oak Savanna by watching our informative and engaging documentary.   If you own land with a sand savanna and want to learn more about conservation strategies or opportunities, contact niches@nicheslandtrust.org

Here is a link to information on sand savannas presented by Illinois State Museum.

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Fisher Oak Savanna Nature Preserve

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Fisher Oak Savanna Nature Preserve 40.846741, -87.043948 Fisher Oak webpage (Directions)
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Holley Savanna

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Holley Savanna 40.985965, -87.327827 Holley webpage (Directions)