written by: Kelley V Phillips, Outreach Coordinator
Muncie, IN, December 8, 2020 – The Sherman and Marjorie Zeigler Foundation has awarded $21,250 to local nonprofit Red-tail Land Conservancy for renovations at Red-tail Nature Preserve, one of their most popular preserves in Delaware County. This investment will improve and beautify the parking area and other infrastructure that helps visitors have enjoyable and safe experiences such as trails, wildlife observation areas, and gathering spaces.
Since 2002, Red-tail Nature Preserve has connected the Cardinal Greenway to the southernmost trails of Prairie Creek Reservoir. It acts as a natural corridor for cyclers, hikers, and wildlife as they transition from one natural area to another. The 100-acre property is primarily a prairie that features wildflowers and grasses throughout the year but is ringed by mature oak trees and contains a wetland which supports increasingly rare plant species.
The wooden plaza near the entrance of the nature preserve has acted as a gathering point for educational programs and casual rest stops for decades. Colored paving stones outline the silhouette of a hawk soaring into the grassland with the plaza’s edge carved into the iconic shape of a hawk’s head. Kelley V. Phillips, Red-tail’s Outreach Coordinator said, “We have seen many special moments take place at the preserve’s plaza, from engagement and graduation photos to families having a snack break before continuing a bike ride. It’s a delight to see children figure out they are walking on the shape of a hawk.”
Red-tail Land Conservancy’s primary tenant is to permanently protect habitats like forests, grasslands, wetlands and rivers in east central Indiana from human disturbance. “Stewardship of special places is strengthened when people feel connected to the land. The generosity of the Sherman and Marjorie Zeigler Foundation paves the way for visitors to fully experience nature and create that essential desire to protect it. We are grateful for their support of habitats where wildlife and people thrive,” said Phillips.
Visitors can expect the parking lot to be closed for renovations in the spring of 2021. More information on alternate parking options and renovation updates can be found on Red-tail’s Facebook @fortheland or website www.ForTheLand.org.