Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is a land conservancy or land trust?
A land conservancy/trust is a nonprofit organization that conserves land by acquisition or by holding conservation easements. Land trusts are currently the fastest growing segment of the conservation community, with over 1,700 land trusts across the U.S. The Land Trust Alliance serves as an umbrella organization for land trusts, and Ouabache Land Conservancy is a member of the Alliance.
What is a conservation easement?
A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows the landowner to continue to own and use his/her land and to sell it or pass it on to heirs, with the restrictions in place. More details…
Are your properties open to the public?
Many of our preserves are indeed open to the public! You are welcome to visit many of the properties we own, which are listed here. The properties that we protect via conservation easement remain in private ownership and are not open to the public.
What areas does Ouabache Land Conservancy cover?
Our service area includes 5 west-central Indiana counties, including Clay, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan,Vigo and Vermillion. For land trusts serving other areas of Indiana, see our Indiana Land Trusts page.
Do I have to own land to be part of Ouabache Land Conservancy?
This is a common misconception. Ouabache Land Conservancy is for everyone! The basic idea behind a land trust is that I can’t buy 1,000 acres by myself, and chances are neither can you. But 1,000 of us together can. People from across the political spectrum and of varying financial means are critical in helping OLC protect more greenspace for us all to enjoy. Learn more about becoming a member for just $25 a year.
Where do you get the funds to protect land?
Our members are the primary source of funding for our work! Your donations are critical for acquiring land and performing ongoing stewardship for the land we already protect. We also tap into foundation grants and special matching funds for land acquisition from government, but our members are our most important ongoing source of funding.
How can I get involved?
There are many ways to get involved with Ouabache Land Conservancy! You can attend a hike or other event to meet like-minded folks. We have a wide range of volunteer opportunities, such as working outside to maintain our preserves, helping with mailings and other tasks, photography, and events. You can also get involved by visiting our preserves and taking along friends to show them what Ouabacahe does. Last but definitely not least, become a member! As mentioned above, individuals and families are essential to our work, so you’ll be making a direct impact on this beautiful place we call home.
How do landowners find out about Ouabache Land Conservancy?
Most landowners come to us via the Internet or word of mouth. There are also many cases where we reach out to people who own particularly high quality land or land near our existing preserves, just to let them know they have options if at some point they are interested in preserving their land.
How does Ouabache Land Conservancy decide which properties to protect?
OLC protects many different types of land. Each property is evaluated individually after careful consideration of its resources and qualities. Depending on the property, sometimes one factor alone is significant enough to merit protection, such as critical habitat for rare and threatened wildlife or plants. Other times several factors contribute to the property’s conservation value. Generally, we consider whether a property:
- includes important natural habitat for wildlife and plants, or buffers important habitat.
- is in a relatively natural, undisturbed condition.
- is adjacent or close to land already protected by OLC.
- is adjacent or close to public land or other permanently protected private land.
- is in active farming or other agricultural use.
- includes or protects a significant river, stream or wetland.
- is large enough that its conservation values will likely remain intact despite possible future changes in adjoining land use.