Land Trust report: Golden Hour Summer Series Looks at Preserve’s Critters

By Shawndra Miller, communications manager, Central Indiana Land Trust

Just before sunset, there’s a golden hour when the light is soft and warm – ideal for nature studies, outdoor photography, and reverie.

A new summer series at Oliver’s Woods takes its name from this hour. The third Thursday of each month through September, this free series brings scientific experts to share a different perspective on the preserve.

Each Golden Hour features a specialist-guided exploration of the nature preserve, with a focus on plants and wildlife native to central Indiana. Free tickets for each event become available the first of the month prior.

Golden Hour Summer Events

  • June 15, 7:30 p.m.: A Night with the Spiders. Dr. Marc Milne of the University of Indianapolis and Dr. Sérgio Henriques of the Indianapolis Zoo will bring an arachnid lens to the preserve. RSVP at (waitlisted)
  • July 20, 7:30 p.m.: Where Are the Fireflies? Dr. Sérgio Henriques of the Indianapolis Zoo returns to share fireflies’ wonders — and their importance to the ecosystem. RSVP after June 1 at
  • Aug. 17, 7:30 p.m.: Welcome to the Dark Side: Mothing in Indiana. Friends of the Sands President Jeanette Jaskula will detail moths’ stunning colors, patterns, and behaviors, as well as their important role in the food web. RSVP after July 1 at
  • Sept. 21, 7:30 p.m.: Secrets of the Bats. Wildlife biologist Dr. Tim Carter of Ball State University will introduce participants to two “ambassador bats,” then use specialized equipment to listen for bats’ ultrasonic calls in the preserve. RSVP after Aug. 1 at

“We are excited to invite these local nature experts to Oliver’s Woods for our Golden Hour series,” said Cliff Chapman, president and CEO of the Central Indiana Land Trust, which owns and manages Oliver’s Woods. “Experiencing the preserve through their eyes is a great opportunity to get a new perspective on its flora and fauna.”

Located at 8825 River Road, Oliver’s Woods features 16 acres of woods, 37 acres of prairie-savanna restoration, and a mile of White River frontage. Many volunteers have helped build trails, plant native plants and trees, and remove invasive species from the property. This special care is allowing native species like wild ginger, rare butternut trees, waterleaf, wild hyacinth, and trillium to flourish.

Headquartered on the Old Northside, the Central Indiana Land Trust stewards nature preserves throughout the central third of the state. Find out more and sign up for events at PHOTO ABOVE: Fireflies will be the subject of the July 20 installment of the Golden Hour Summer Series.