Red-Tail Land Conservancy
201 E. Jackson Rd. Muncie, IN 47308, Delaware County
Local Land Conservation for East Central Indiana Red-Tail Land Conservancy was founded in March of 1991 and has been striving to fulfill their mission from the beginning. Red-Tail Land Conservancy preserves, protects, and restores natural areas and farmland in east central Indiana while increasing awareness of their natural heritage. To accomplish their mission Red-Tail offers conservation options to land owners by public speaking, education, and stewardships.
In speaking with Founder and Executive Director of Red-Tail Land Conservancy, Barry Banks, he says that he believes passionately that he can make a difference, and is doing so one step at a time. Red-Tail currently holds 18 conservation agreements including the protection of eight different natural preserves. They are currently protecting 1939 acres of natural areas and farmland.
Banks explained the different agreements that Red-Tail Land Conservancy holds with their customers. The first of these agreements is when a title is transferred to Red-Tail, this could be through purchased land, gifted land, or land that has been willed to them. The second type of agreement is a conservation agreement, in which the title never transfers, and they are not owners of the land; Red-Tail is there to conserve and protect that land.
Although there have been numerous measurable outcomes since Red-Tail Land Conservancy has been founded, in Bank’s eyes on of the most measurable would be the educational programs that Red-Tail provides, and their endowment accounts that help to secure their financial future, alongside all of the land that they have managed to protect over the past 21 years.
Banks says he is excited for what the future holds for Red-Tail and he looks forward to hiring more staff and possibly repositioning his office into a different facility. Currently Red-Tail has one salary-paid staff member and he is excited to hire more, but the funding right now won’t allow them to do that. Banks says that he accepts all types of volunteers from different students, scouts, school groups, and more. Red-Tail usually has a roughly estimated 300 volunteers, including board members, throughout the course of a regular year; and Banks is grateful for every single one of them.
Red-Tail Land Conservancy presently collaborates with Natural Preserves Division, Indiana Land Protection Alliance (ILPA), and land trusts in Indiana soil and water conservation district Delaware. Although all these organizations help one another and it is very beneficial to have these collaborators, Banks is most excited about the recently announced Bicentennial Nature Trust. The governor publicized the initiative in his State of the State Address. The trust is designed to designate $20 million to be set aside to buy and protect Indiana’s finest natural areas.
So what exactly makes it all worthwhile for Barry Banks and Red-Tail Land Conservancy? He sums it up perfectly by saying, “Land owners’ thanking me for giving them piece of mind, citizens thanking me for preserving natural areas for the future generations, and kids thanking me for letting them walk in a big woods. It’s about as gratifying as you can get.”
This story written by Brittany Weaver, Ball State student intern for Sustainable Indiana 2016.