Northern Indiana Citizens and Corporations Helping Ecosystems Survive

The process of revitalizing and protecting natural areas is an ongoing cycle, and NICHES Land Trust works year-round to restore the rich bio-diverse landscape that was once ubiquitous across Indiana.

Our region is ever changing with human development. What was once a vast cornfield is now a cul-de-sac dotted with houses, and some views are now punctuated by a cluster of modern high-rise buildings. However, not everyone knows that West Central Indiana is (and in some cases “was”) an ecologically significant mix of woodland and prairie habitats.

Nearly thirty years ago, a group of concerned citizens formed a volunteer-driven organization called “Northern Indiana Citizens Helping Ecosystems Survive.” This group has evolved into NICHES Land Trust, a nonprofit that protects, restores, and sustains natural areas for the enjoyment of future and current generations. The organization’s main objective to provide bio-diverse habitats as free, publicly accessible nature preserves to the community.

In addition to a dedicated staff and numerous volunteers, NICHES has many wonderful partners that help with restoration projects, including converting agricultural land back to open prairie. In 2023, NIPSCO and the NiSource Charitable Foundation awarded NICHES $25,000 to support ongoing stewardship needs to protect and restore biodiverse habitats at 20 properties totaling 1,406 acres within the overlapping service area of White, Jasper, Carroll, Newton, and Howard counties of Indiana. NIPSCO and its parent company NiSource share values of environmental stewardship and community access to natural areas for recreation and enjoyment.

This generous grant allowed NICHES to dedicate numerous hours to restoration projects across a wide area. The organization’s stewardship team and volunteers performed vital tasks including the removal of non-native invasive species, prescribed fires, and the removal of non-desired tree species to provide more light to native flowers and grasses.

“NICHES would like to thank NIPSCO and the NiSource Charitable Foundation for their support through this grant which will help us move our remnant natural areas and restorations toward stable ecological trajectories and maintain as well as improve current biological diversity well into the future. These grants are an investment NICHES stewards in perpetuity,” says NICHES Stewardship Director Bob Easter.

NICHES continues working on projects in preserves in the NIPSCO service area, including: 

All of these preserves are free and open to the public. You can see a complete property list along with visitor amenities here.


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