VALPARAISO — Shirley Heinze Land Trust has acquired a 70-acre property adjacent to the northeastern boundary of Meadowbrook Nature Preserve.
The acquisition increases the total amount of protected land in the preserve to just over 224 acres.
The majority of the new addition is currently in agriculture. The group plans to reforest the property, which will enhance habitat for native plants and animals by increasing connectivity between Meadowbrook, nearby Sunset Hill Farm County Park and Moraine State Nature Preserve, according to a news release from Shirley Heinze Land Trust.
The western portion of the new property contains about 4 acres of relatively high-quality second growth. The forest is dominated by young red maples and contains a suite of spring ephemeral wildflowers similar to those found elsewhere at Meadowbrook. The site also contains many large-flowered trillium, which are rare at Meadowbrook.
"We never imagined Meadowbrook becoming a 224-acre nature preserve when we first acquired the 74-acre Girl Scout camp in 2013," said Executive Director Kristopher Krouse. "It’s quite an achievement, and we’re just as excited that reforestation of the addition will commence in 2018."
The purchase was made possible with matching funds from the Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust. Funding and technical assistance was made available as mitigation for impacts caused by the construction and maintenance of the Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership, 6B Pipeline, in partnership with the Conservation Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.