Burnett Woods is an 80-acre nature preserve in Avon, Indiana. It is the first state-dedicated nature preserve in Hendricks County and is owned by the Central Indiana Land Trust. A nature preserve is an area of land set aside to foster an environment that provides habitats for wildlife, recreational opportunities and protects rare and endangered species. Nature preserves also help to mitigate climate change and the impending biodiversity collapse because these protected spaces allow nature to be nature, without the threat of being destroyed.

Burnett Woods was purchased from Ruth Burnett in 1998 when she generously sold the original 68-acre tract to the Central Indiana Land Trust at a bargain price so that it could be protected in perpetuity. Ruth’s family owned the woods for about 70 years before it became a nature preserve and it was very important to them that the woods would continue to be preserved.

This special piece of land is an example of a wet-mesic flatwood forest system within the Central Till Plains natural region. Among other features, Burnett Woods boasts a diverse and accessible show of spring wildflowers with two species of trillium, special species of violets, bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, Jack-in-the-pulpit and many more. Additionally, Burnett Woods is home to the mining bee also known as Andrena uvularie. This special bee has not been found anywhere else in Indiana!

Although Burnett Woods is surrounded by development, people can easily escape that and come to enjoy a nice walk outside. Between the canopy trees overhead and the canvas of wildflowers beneath their feet, a visitor to Burnett Woods gets the chance to fully immerse themselves in that natural world.

Each season has something different to showcase. For example, spring is a wonderful time to see the trees blooming and wildflowers on display at their peak.

While Central Indiana Land Trust owns the land, they are also the stewards. This comes with a lot of responsibility, especially since Burnett Woods is at risk of being invaded by non-native species due to its proximity to the surrounding development.

The Central Indiana Land Trust is actively managing the preserve to make it healthier to combat these risks by planting trees and removing invasive species, all while maintaining the hiking trail system so people are able to enjoy the beautiful preserve without jeopardizing it.

Central Indiana Land Trust manages 19 other nature preserves in the state, 11 of which are open to the public. If you are interested in learning more about the other great places they protect, click here.

We are grateful to have Burnett Woods in our wonderful county. Preserving these special pieces of land is crucial to the ecosystem and well-being of our community and the Parks Foundation of Hendricks County is proud to support this effort. We are appreciative of the Central Indiana Land Trust for its tireless work in preserving some of Hendricks County’s most treasured spaces.

*Photography taken by Dick Miller.