Merry Lea

Why You Should Visit 
Only 3 percent of Indiana's natural wetland is left in northeastern Indiana with Merry Lea 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.

Noble & Whitley Counties

North Central Tillplain

1,150 Acres

State Nature Preserve, 1980

Owned & Managed By
Goshen College

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.

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 seasonal 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, Norther 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


From Columbia City, travel north on S.R. 109 to C.R. 350 South, turn left (west). Travel roughly one mile turning north on C.R. 500 West. Continue for 0.5 mile to the entrance. The preserve is part of the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. Please check in at the Nature Center upon your arrival.   


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Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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