Chesterton Tribune

Woodland Savanna Land Conservancy aquires conservation easement

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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 their legacy.”

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 gone.”

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.


Posted 1/12/2007