Chelsea Flatwoods in Jefferson County
Chelsea Flatwoods Chelsea Flatwoods in Jefferson County © The Nature Conservancy

Places We Protect

Chelsea Flatwoods

Indiana

As the name suggests, this southeastern Indiana preserve is quite flat. It is also pretty wet.

Why You Should Visit 

One of the largest, wettest and most diverse examples of the Bluegrass Tillplain flatwoods in Indiana, Chelsea Flatwoods in Jefferson County is a forest offering various wildflowers, ferns and an interesting mix of trees. American beech, sweet gum, sugar maple and a variety of oaks dominate the woods while a number of ferns cover the forest floor.

What The Nature Conservancy is Doing/has Done

Stewardship activities include invasive removal - garlic mustard and bush honeysuckle, for example - and reforestation of the adjacent agricultural fields. Prescribed burns have also been applied to ensure the enhancement of rare plant species. The Conservancy plans to secure the last remaining flatwoods in the area to provide a small buffer zone around the preserve's core.

This work is done in partnership with the Indiana Heritage Trust.

What to See: Plants and Animals

The preserve homes uncommon wildflowers like the whorled pogonia orchid and the Virginia meadow-beauty which is best seen in the late summer. Numerous sedges - such as the rare Wolf spikerush - and fern species make a pretty understory for an array of mix of trees including American beech, sugar maple, pin oak, sweet gum, swamp chestnut oak, white oak and southern red oak (which is unusual as it is the most northern limit of its range at this preserve).

In the springtime, it would be best to bring some boots as the flatwoods are at its wettest. The forest is extensive, and with the seemingly unchanging terrain, it is easy to get turned around. As there is no established trail on the preserve, a compass is strongly recommended.