The Woodland Savanna Land Conservancy has announced that it has accepted the
donation of a conservation easement on a 26-acre woodland property in
unincorporated Washington Township.
The easement, secured through an agreement with landowners Judith Cieslak
and Jean Prebis, means that the conservancy has assumed legal responsibility
for protecting the property in perpetuity as green space.
The easement is located on property fronting C.R. 450E adjacent to the
Moraine Ridge Wildlife Rehab Center, which also acquired its property
through a donation from Cieslak and Prebis in 2003.
The woods feature a mix of native and introduced trees and shrubs, as well
as an assortment of ephemeral spring wildlflowers. Surrounded by
agricultural fields and increasing development, the property provides refuge
for native birds and wildlife. The Moraine Ridge Wildlife Rehab Center will
use the woods as a release site for rehabilitated wildlife.
“We are delighted to receive this generous donation,” said Don Evans,
President of the Woodland Savanna Land Conservancy. “This is the largest
property we have protected to date, and we are pleased to be working with
Jean and Judith to fulfill their dream of keeping these woods green and open
for the benefit of the entire community. We are committed to preserving
Cieslak said maintaining the land as green space was her and Prebis’ goal
since acquiring the property 38 years ago. “When we arrived, most of the
property was open pasture, and we planted literally thousands of tree
seedlings that have grown to be the woods that now offer shelter and
sustenance to our local native wildlife,” she said. “It is comforting to
know that our land will be protected from development even after we are
Woodland Savanna Land Conservancy, a not-for-profit organization, is one of
Indiana’s newest land trusts. It is a member of the Land Trust Alliance, a
national organization representing more than 1,400 regional land trusts. In
addition to its newly acquired easement, Woodland Savanna owns property in
Pine Township and is developing a program to preserve and restore the
remnant sand islands in the Grand Kankakee Marsh.