At 98 acres, Gantz Woods features a range of habitats typical of Daviess County, Indiana. There are short sandstone cliffs on the eastern end of the property, which are typical of the Shawnee Hills Natural Region. Following the stream to the west reveals a rich forest community that supports a high diversity of plants and animals, including scarlet tanagers, eastern box turtles and bobcats, along with many woodland plants such as Jack-in-the-pulpit, Dutchman’s breeches and fire pink.
The trees on the south-facing slopes are a mix of white oak, chestnut oak, and shagbark hickory dominating the overstory, with greenbriar and dogwood in the understory. On the north-facing slopes, tulip poplar, beech, sugar maple and white oaks are more dominant.
Gantz Woods History
Gantz Woods was donated to The Nature Conservancy in 2017 by Mr. Kent Ryan Jr., Mrs. Linda Ryan and Ms. Nancy Sabari, in memory of Ralph and Carrie Gantz, who originally purchased the property in 1945. In 1945, Gantz Woods was an undeveloped property with a mix of young forest and open land. The Gantz Family built a cabin and eventually a small lake. The only evidence of development on the property today is an old chimney from the cabin and the dry lake bed that is quickly reverting to forestland. The forests on the property have recovered from past clearing and grazing. The recent timber harvest has improved the forest, and it will continue to improve in the coming decades.
Future of Gantz Woods
The Nature Conservancy will manage Gantz Woods as part of its Forest Bank program. The Conservancy will use sustainable timber harvesting and other forest management practices to develop the natural forest community types, control invasive plants and provide habitat for native wildlife and migrating songbirds.