Red-Tail Land Conservancy Aims to Protect Local Nature and Farmland
Writer / Kylee White
Nature is able to tell stories in so many different ways – through the change in the leaves, or even the seasons. The team at Red-Tail Land Conservancy is working hard to make sure that places in nature are protected, so they can continue telling their stories.
Red-Tail is a group that preserves and protects natural areas and land in east-central Indiana. Julie Borgmann serves as executive director and believes in the importance of exploring and visiting nature.
“I was a pharmacist for the first 25 years of my life,” Borgmann says. “I care a great deal about connecting people to nature, and all of the health and well-being aspects of that.”
Borgmann had gotten involved with Red-Tail after making a career change from being a pharmacist. When she found Red-Tail, she began volunteering her time with the group and eventually became the first part-time education outreach employee.
“I believe spending time in nature is really vital to our health and well-being,” Borgmann says. “I’ve tried to raise my kids teaching them to play and explore, and adventure outside. It wasn’t easy for me to find places and experiences to do that. I thought that if I’m working this hard and I know it’s important, how do people who don’t know how important and vital being outdoors is navigate that?”
Kelley Philips also works for Red-Tail as the communications and outreach manager. She began her time with Red-Tail after living and working in San Antonio, Texas.
“I completed a big project there in a park system and I was looking for something new,” Phillips says. “I was fortunate enough to run across Red-Tail in that search for a new adventure. Since I came from a parks background, it was really exciting to move into this conservation category of land protection and preservation.”
The staff members and volunteers focus on preserving land, rather than focusing on getting people to gather and play outdoors.
“Nature preserves are sort of living museums,” Borgmann says. “The goal of nature preserves isn’t to put in trails, but really to preserve habitats and wildlife, with people being a part of that experience. When people go to our nature preserves they aren’t going to see the same amenities they’d find at a state park. They’re not going to find bathrooms, picnic facilities, big, wide trails and a big parking lot. You’re going to tend to find more narrow trails. You might find poison ivy on the trails, but you’re also going to see giant woodpeckers, and hear the warblers migrating in the spring.”
A few Red-Tail areas are accessible to everyone, including those with wheelchairs or walkers, and those with limited abilities.
“If you are a senior or someone with limited ability, Red-Tail nature reserve is a good place to visit because directly from the parking lot, there is a nice flat plaza that overlooks nature,” Phillips says.
Land can sometimes be tricky in how people can observe it, simply due to unpredictability. Narrow paths can sometimes be obstructed, and areas can sometimes be littered. Red-Tail has been able to thrive through the help of not only Borgmann and Phillips, but also the volunteers who share their time to help in the preservation of these lands.
“I think that we really made an accomplishment with our volunteer group,” Phillips says. “It’s really meaningful work. What we do, we just can’t do without volunteers Being able to see how many people will donate their time and service to be able to give back to the land and community, I am really proud of all the volunteers and of what they’ve helped us accomplish.”
A large amount of volunteers are retirees who dedicate their time to restoring nature and spending time outdoors. They also offer an adult learning opportunity known as the Indiana Master Naturalist program. This class allows individuals to learn more about nature. It’s held every fall and is open to anyone with any experience wanting to join.
To learn more and get involved with Red-Tail Land Conservancy, visit fortheland.org. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.