NICHES Land Trust Gains National Recognition


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

Thank you!

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.

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

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

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)

NICHES Land Trust connects with local service organizations

As Education and Outreach Coordinator, I have the privilege and pleasure of visiting with and presenting to various social organizations throughout our service area. One such presentation, to the Lafayette Kiwanis, was recorded and shared, you can check it out if you like.

If you are a member of a club, group, or organization who would like to have a NICHES presentation, contact Brooke to discuss: or call 765-423-1605.

Why should you care about invasive species?

Well, there are many and diverse reasons to care about invasive species. This video explores a variety of perspectives: outdoors folks (fisherfolk, hunters), farmers, forestry researchers, forestry managers…

While the video is produced in and about Appalachia, the principles, impacts and reasons to care about invasive species apply here in Indiana.
Take a few moments and listen to what these folks have to say.

With gratitude and appreciation to Roy Whistler Foundation

NICHES benefits from the generous support of the Roy Whistler Foundation on many conservation projects. The Whistler Foundation asserts that, “Through our endowed resources, it is the mission of the Foundation to preserve and restore wild properties and wildlife in the Central Indiana Region for generations to come.” Check out their website to learn more about this conservation organization.

To see a list of projects funded by the Roy Whistler Foundation, including those for NICHES Land Trust, visit this page.

Clegg Memorial Garden houses the Roy Whistler Library.

Visit the Whistler Nature Reserve and Granville Sand Barrens in Tippecanoe County, or one of the many other properties supported by Roy Whistler Foundation.

Box Turtles – species of concern in Indiana

Both the eastern box and ornate box turtles are species in need of protection in Tippecanoe County, and Indiana. The eastern box turtle is listed as a ‘species of special concern’ in Tippecanoe County, by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The ornate box turtle is an endangered species in Indiana according to the DNR.

Habitat destruction is one of the major influences to species survival.

NICHES Land Trust protects and restores native ecosystems that support both species. We are excited that a population of ornate box turtles has made a home at Granville Sand Barrens.

We have recorded eastern box turtles at many of our properties, as well.

Our land management protects the ecosystem and preserves the habitats for these and other native wildlife species.

Prairie and Poetry

Come out to Fisher Oak Savanna Nature Preserve today for a Prairie and Poetry event sponsored by NICHES Land Trust and Brick Street Poetry.

Local poets, including Joyce Brinkman, Indiana’s first poet laureate from 2002 – 2008, will read an array of poems, including a collaborative poem from the Bicentennial project “Mapping the Muse.”

Experience the inspired words at the edge of the prairie, abloom with Indiana native wildflowers and rich with wildlife.

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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)