Significant Johnson County forest land now under Land Trust’s protection

By Shawndra Miller / Communications manager, Central Indiana Land Trust

In another victory for nature, the Central Indiana Land Trust has protected a large property in southern Johnson County. Callon Hollow, as it is known, spans 109 acres of environmentally significant forest land.

Callon Hollow extends a block of protected forest in the Hills of Gold Conservation Area, a strategic area of focus for the land trust. This makes a total of more than 1,500 acres in that area that will be protected forever (by CILTI or its partners).

This forest hosts several avian species of special concern – worm-eating warblers, hooded warblers and broad-winged hawks. Spotted wintergreen, a plant species on the state watch list, also thrives here.

“By adding to the Hills of Gold area, we are protecting crucial habitat for so many rare and endangered species. Indiana doesn’t have a lot of big blocks of forest remaining, so adding this preserve within a larger conservation area does a lot to help plants and animals to thrive,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of CILTI.

Callon Hollow is not yet open to explore, but the nearby Laura Hare Preserve at Blossom Hollow is part of the same Hills of Gold area and is open to the public. Visitors to Blossom Hollow can see much of the same terrain, wildlife and plant life as at Callon Hollow.

In addition to Blossom Hollow, Hills of Gold encompasses a CILTI-managed conservation easement on privately owned land. It also includes Betley Woods at Glacier’s End, which has been documented as one of the most biodiverse places in the region. It is not yet open to the public, but the land trust is collaborating with the Indiana Wildlife Federation on developing sustainable trails through this beautiful property.

These generous donors contributed to Callon Hollow’s protection: the Sam Shine Foundation, the Anonymous Fund of the Indianapolis Foundation, contributors to CILTI’s Evergreen Fund for Nature, and American Electric Power, Indiana Michigan Power’s parent company, under a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states, and 13 citizen groups. The land trust’s generous members and supporters also supported this project.

Headquartered in the Old Northside, CILTI stewards nature preserves throughout the central third of the state. For more information or to plan a nature preserve outing, visit

PHOTO ABOVE: The hooded warbler is among the avian species for whom the Callon Hollow environment is of special importance.