Stone Head Nature Preserve
Stone Head Nature Preserve is a 122-acre, privately-owned nature preserve set in the beautiful hills of Brown County in south central Indiana. The preserve is open to the public from dawn to dusk 365 days a year.
Stone Head Nature Preserve is leased, maintained, and managed by the Stone Head Conservancy, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 2016 for the express purpose of preserving Stone Head Nature Preserve for all future generations.
The Preserve has four basic habitat types within its borders, all of which have maintained trails so everyone can enjoy all of the Preserve. First and foremost among these habitats would have to be the Zimmerman Wetland Bird Habitat. This area has six restored wetland impoundments that sport almost all of Indiana’s species of frogs and toads, scores of bird species, as well as a wide variety of dragonflies, damselflies, spiders, mammals, snakes, butterflies, moths, and so much more, not to mention a great diversity of plant life that supports all of these wildlife species.
Another habitat within Stone Head Nature Preserve is the riparian corridor through which runs the Middle Fork of Salt Creek, one of the three major sources of water for Lake Monroe (located about 8 miles downstream). This is a constantly changing habitat with creek levels rising and falling with the recent weather. Crossing the creek to access other parts of the Preserve is possible with high-top rubber boots when the water level is sufficiently low enough.
Meadows are another important habitat at Stone Head Nature Preserve. One of them is located along Bellsville Pike on the north edge of the Preserve. Park at the Zimmerman Overlook, sit on the bench, or just wander the trails that surround this meadow. The other meadow is located south of Salt Creek. Trails around this area will bring you to Baldderwort Pond, so named for its beautiful summer-blooming bladderwort plants that cover the more shallow parts of the pond.
Finally, the largest segment of habitats at Stone Head Nature Preserve, the forest. Covering roughly 90 acres, the forests are a combination of mid-successional to mature woodlands. Dominant species include a variety of oaks, hickories, and maples, plus American beech, tulip poplar, blackgum, a wide variety of understory trees and shrubs, and numerous herbaceous plants on the forest floor, including spring ephemeral wildflowers and an array of mosses and ferns.