Sunday, November 7, 2010

Meltzer Woods

Welcome to
The Meltzer Woods
Family Day!

An old growth forest
in the middle
of Indiana farmland?


Who is this Meltzer family?

And how have they preserved
such a treasure
over the years?

I can't answer those questions...

..but Cliff can tell you!

He and the Central Indiana Land Trust
have joined the Meltzer family
to care for this treasure
of a woodland.

And they invite us
here today
to celebrate!

I can tell immediately
this is a close-knit group.

Everyone is congratulating Maria,
their outreach coordinator.

She just got engaged last night!

And old Mrs. Meltzer
takes me on a personal tour
of the old house
where she grew up.

She tells me the stories
of the boys in high school
wanting to know
which of the many windows
was to her room.

And how, on her 87th birthday,
her daughter put 13 candles on her cake.

Why 13?

It's the countdown to 100!

Being a working farm
of course they have cats.

Tom feels right at home
with all these felines.

A tour of the woods?

Let's go!

Randy bravely leads us
out into the 40 acre forest.

The kids are amazed
at the humongous trees!

Randy shows us
pawpaw leaves...

...and huge bur oak acorns.

Of course, in a forest like this

to appreciate it's true nature -

you must look up.

And Randy points us skyward...

one championship tree...

...after another.


The kids listen to Randy...
in wonder.

They take notes...

They explore!

Here's a simple leaf...

the life of the tree

in a simple, small green packet.

Here are the roots...

ripped out of the ground

by a passing storm.

Randy looks up...

...a snag tree

a home for...




I love woodpeckers!

The biggest tree of all?

It fell down last March...

leaving a stump
the size of my Prius....

...and a gap in the canopy.

It brings light
for new saplings
to grow.

The fallen trunk
is a living organism still.

Moss, algae, fungus and bugs
team to convert the fallen giant
into rich forest soil.

The hike is over...

It's time to leave
the gold of the forest....

...and find the warm glow
of the campfire....

...mingle with friends...

...and listen to music.

It's time for me to go...

As I leave
I notice a buckeye nut
hanging from a low branch.

I see in the nut
the future for the tree.

I look back

and see
the future
for the forest.


  1. trees, kitties, and smores =) what could be better

  2. It was a wonderful event and you did a fabulous job summarizing it all, Helen! Too bad we didn't realize we were both there. But, we're hoping they invite us all back next year to see the woods and mingle with friends. Thanks! Wilda

  3. Great photos, Helen, and another wonderful blog! Thanks so much for coming and capturing the spirit of the day. Maria

  4. Hello Helen! My name is Katie Hicks and I am a college student from Bloomington, Indiana I am studying the different old-growth forests in Indiana and have been reading about this amazing forest! Helen, would you perhaps be able to help me get in touch with the Meltzer family? I would like to visit this forest and include it in my research! Please let me know, thank you!
    Katie Hicks
    my e-mail is: ktmilady at hotmail dot com