Merry Lea
Merry Lea in Noble County Merry Lea in Noble County © Christopher Jordan/TNC

Places We Protect

Merry Lea

Indiana

A natural sanctuary promising a glimpse of what northern Indiana originally looked like.

Why You Should Visit 

Only 3 percent of Indiana's natural wetland is left in northeastern Indiana with Merry Lea in Noble and Whitley Counties being one of them. The Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center allows its visitors to see what used to cover about 24 percent of Indiana hundreds of years ago. Most of the habitats found in northeastern Indiana are present along with a few unique geological features such as peat bogs, a marl pit, and glacial gravel formations. Merry Lea was dedicated as a State Nature Preserve in 1980.

What the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center is Doing  

In order to preserve the restoration already done to Merry Lea, management practices include wetland maintenance, wildlife habitat improvement, wildlife food plantings, no-till farming, and walnut culture. The preserve is owned and managed by Goshen College.

What to See: Plants and Animals

Merry Lea's 1,150 acres feature the serene beauty of wetland habitats including bogs, dens, swamp forests, shallow marshes, shrub-carr, wet meadows, and seasonally flooded basins. The diversity of ecosystems provide habitat for 170 species of birds, 32 fish, 28 mammals, and 17 amphibians. Some of the bird species that may be spotted are the Pileated Woodpecker, Great Horned Owl, Scarlet Tanager and Indigo Bunting. Mammals include mink, muskrat, fox squirrel, big brown bat, and the gray fox. The blue-spotted salamander, western chorus frogs, Northern leopard frogs, and pickerel frogs are a few of the amphibians found in this wetland. Massasauga rattlesnake, blue racer, Eastern box turtle and the endangered Blanding's turtle are some of the reptiles that also make their home at Merry Lea.

The easy terrain and developed trails make for a pleasant hike through the preserve.

For More Information

Goshen College's Merry Lea Preserve or Goshen College 260-799-5869