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$1M donation to help expand protected Indiana woodland

Bloomington trees are expanding in number at a rapid rate

(File Photo) (Sean/WFIU)

A conservation group plans to use a $1 million donation to help reforestation work and add property to a 700-acre woodland it protects in central Indiana.

The Central Indiana Land Trust said the donation from Leonard and Kathryn Betley and their family will also establish an endowment for the Hills of Gold Conservation Area in Johnson County.

The organization is renaming a nature preserve near Trafalgar about 25 miles south of Indianapolis as Betley Woods at Glacier’s End.

The nature preserve in the Hills of Gold Conservation Area is where glaciers stopped their southward march thousands of years ago, resulting in a mix of both glaciated and unglaciated land that became one of the state’s most biodiverse woodlands and a haven for rare species of birds and bats, the organization said.

Land Trust executive director Cliff Chapman said the donation helps “ensure that Indiana’s natural heritage remains accessible for generations into the future.”

Leonard Betley is a retired managing partner of the law firm Ice Miller, as well as the retired CEO of The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. Katie Betley has spent 50 years serving as a leader on boards of organizations including Newfields, the Indianapolis Zoo, and the Indiana chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

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