Report from the Land Trust: Golden Hour Summer Series looks at preserve’s wildlife

The polyphemus moth is among the species found at Oliver’s Woods, located in the Clearwater area on the city’s Far Northside.

By Shawndra Miller / Communications manager, Central Indiana Land Trust

A summer event series at Oliver’s Woods takes its name from the time just before sunset known as the “golden hour.” That’s when the light is soft and warm, ideal for nature studies and outdoor photography. Central Indiana Land Trust’s Golden Hour series capitalizes on the early evening ambiance, bringing experts to share the wonders of nature.

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

Golden Hour Summer Events / Thursday evenings

  • June 20, 6 p.m.: “An Evening with the Spiders.” Dr. Marc Milne of the University of Indianapolis will lead a search for spiders on the preserve. RSVP at
  • July 18, 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 June 1 at
  • Aug. 15, 6 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 July 1 at
  • Sept. 19, 6 p.m.: “Owls at Oliver’s Woods.” Take Flight’s wildlife educator, Mark Booth, will offer a program on these birds of prey, bringing owls for an up-close-and-personal encounter. RSVP after Aug. 1 at
  • Oct. 17, 6 p.m.: “Coexisting with Wildlife.” Wildlife rehabilitator Becca Hamon will share how to support wildlife through native plants, eco-friendly deterrents, and natural landscaping. She may also bring ambassador animals. RSVP after Sept. 1 at
Searching for moths in Oliver’s Woods.

“We are grateful to our sponsor, Robert Dietrick Co., for helping us bring these local nature experts to Oliver’s Woods for our second annual Golden Hour series,” said Cliff Chapman, president and CEO of the Central Indiana Land Trust, which owns and manages Oliver’s Woods. “We had such an enthusiastic response to this programming in 2023, and we’re excited to expand the series this year.”

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