A state panel has given two northeastern Indiana wildlife areas that are popular stops for Scout groups and school field trips the status of nature preserves.
The move by the Indiana Natural Resources Commission will protect the rare plants and animals found at both properties from development.
One of the new preserves is the 56-acre Evelyn and Wendell Dygert Nature Preserve near Columbia City in Whitley County. It's noted for its high quality oak-hickory forest and its spectacular wildflower displays.
The other new preserve is the 94-acre Wildwood Nature Preserve near Silver Lake in Kosciusko County. Its oak-hickory forest is mixed with uplands and a forested swamp.
The two new nature preserves boosts Indiana's total number of preserves to 229.