Dutro-Ernst Woods

Dutro-Ernst Woods is a 33-acre urban nature preserve on the site of the former Ernst Nursery. It is dedicated to the Ernst Family and Ruth Dutro, a local biology teacher who inspired countless students. The flat, wide walking trail meanders through a prairie-in-restoration and early successional woodland. Because of the ecological restoration process, native plants and wildlife populations are increasing and beginning to thrive. Stop by often to observe seasonal transitions and changes in the land.

When you visit, be sure to stop by Red-tail’s Chronolog monitoring station. Follow directions listed on the sign and join an important citizen science project just by taking a picture with your cell phone. Your photo will add to a digital time lapse which helps Red-tail’s land managers and our community track changes in the newly restored prairie as it changes over days, seasons, and years. See the most up-to-date time lapse on Red-tail’s Chronolog page.

Visit our Current Conservation Projects page to learn more about restoration efforts at this site.

History of Dutro-Ernst Woods

From 2012 to 2015, Red-tail Land Conservancy acquired the 33-acre Dutro-Ernst Woods in Delaware County, Indiana to preserve and protect forever. Dutro-Ernst Woods is an urban nature preserve whose history and landscape can be told in two parts– that of the western woodland named after Ruth Dutro, a local biology teacher, and the eastern prairie, named after the Ernst Family. The story behind Dutro-Ernst Woods is one of vision, passion, and persistence which honors people whose dedication to making the community a more beautiful and resilient place will last for generations.


Acres: 33

Accessibility: Open to the Public

Features: Parking lot, hiking trail (1 mile), interpretive signage, play area (near entrance)

Driving Directions: » Click Here