Holley Savanna is not spectacular, huge or especially awe-inspring. What is it though is far more important. This small preserve provides a corridor for a diverse selection of plants and animals, some that are endangered or threatened. There are several different types of habitat found within and surrounding the savanna including an oak woodland/former savanna mix, wet areas dominated by silver maple and pink oaks and an upland woods section covered with white oaks and a noteworthy population of hazelnuts in the understory. The most unique feature that many would overlook is the existence of vernal, or ephemeral, pools. Vernal pools are depressions in the terrain that seasonally fill up with water and then usually dry down during the hotter summer months. Although they do not support populations of fish and other animals requiring a constant water environment, they do provide a temporary habitat to intriguing creatures such as the freshwater fairy shrimp.
Central Tallgrass Prairie
The Nature Conservancy works with NICHES Land Trust in savanna restoration at the savanna. Periodic prescribed burns also take place at the preserve.
A diverse selection of plants and animals, some which are endangered or threatened, make their home at the Holley. In the seasonal, vernal pools the freshwater fairy shrimp lives his whole life there while the tiger salamander makes it their breeding ground along with the chorus frogs, spring peepers and leopard & gray tree frogs. If you're lucky, you may spot the slender grass lizard - a special concern specie in Indiana - or the primrose-leaved violet, a state-threatened plant.
No trail exists at the preserve at this time but the easy terrain should not be hard to manage. Please read and follow the Conservancy's Preserve Visitation Guidelines for more information.
From Rensselaer, travel west on S.R. 114 to C.R. 200E. Turn right (north) and travel roughly 2.4 miles to North State Road. Turn right (east) and travel 1.3 miles to the cemetery on the north side of the road, where there is a designated parking area. The preserve is on the north side of the cemetery.