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Service Learning Project


Backup Date: 

Work Day Description:  Participants will join Central Indiana Land Trust staff and volunteers to remove invasive exotic honeysuckle in the high quality woodland.  Participants must wear clothes appropriate for outdoor field work.  Long pants and closed toe shoes are required (NO Crocs or Keens).  Lunch, water, gloves, and equipment will be provided.

Meeting Location: Park and meet in the back parking lot of the Light and Life Methodist Church. 

Additional Resources: Visit the environmental service learning Resources Link for information related to topics discussed during or related to service learning projects and work days. Please refer to your instructor's guidelines for specific requirements regarding course paper research.


History of Burnett Woods Nature Preserve

The Burnett Woods Nature Preserve is a 68-acre woods located in Hendricks County, Indiana managed by the Central Indiana Land Trust Incorporated (CILTI).  CILTI is a land trust purchasing and protecting some of the few remaining natural areas in central Indiana.

Burnett Woods Nature Preserve was purchased by CILTI in 1998 from Mrs. Ruth Burnett, who wished to preserve this 68-acre wooded portion of the Hendricks County land that she and her husband farmed beginning in 1927.  The woods had been maintained in the DNR Classified Forest Program for 30 years before the family learned of land trust options and CILTI.  It was purchased through a very generous bargain sale from Mrs. Burnett and her family with additional funds obtained through the Indiana Heritage Trust Fund, Cinergy Corporation, and from organizations, businesses and individuals in the local community.

Burnett Woods is an outstanding deciduous forest near Avon in Hendricks County in an area of intense commercial and residential development. It is an exceptional example of Central Tillplain Flatwoods which was once the most common natural community type found in Central Indiana.   Flatwoods are known for their profusion of wildflowers carpeting the forest floor.   In addition to wildflowers, Burnett Woods has a variety of mature tree species including oak and hickory, and diverse understory shrubs such as pawpaw and spicebush.   This diverse vegetation provides important habitat for a variety of migratory and nesting birds, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.  Burnett Woods was dedicated as an Indiana State Nature Preserve after purchase by CILTI and is the only one in Hendricks County.  A low impact nature trail with two boardwalks and guideposts is the only modification made in the woods. Visitors are required to restrict their activities to nature study and hiking on the trail to prevent any impact on or degradation of the natural quality of this exceptional woods.  CILTI's objective is to preserve Burnett Woods as an example of what once was common in this region and what our ancestors encountered when they arrived in Central Indiana.

Spring is full of the myriad of wildflowers and migrating warblers, summer nights provide a concert of tree frogs and katydids that is deafening, fall displays the beauty of the trees as they turn colors, and walking through the snow covered woods in winter is more reminiscent of the wilderness of Canada rather than one of the fastest growing towns in Indiana. 

At the property’s dedication, CILTI board member Denise Deig asked Mrs. Burnett when she decided to preserve the woods and she said she always knew that she wanted to keep the land as it is. She was unclear as to how to preserve it until she learned about land trust options and CILTI.  When Denise thanked Mrs. Burnett for her generosity in preserving Burnett Woods she said, "I am a firm believer that you hold nothing in your hands except that which you give away."  Mrs. Burnett passed away shortly after she sold Burnett Woods to CILTI for a very small fraction of its appraised value. But, she achieved her goal of preserving the woods in its natural state for future generations, as it carefully has been for the past seventy years by her and her family.  The Burnett family members are indeed remarkable people, offering all of us a unique link between the past and future.

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