Learn More about Nature and Sustainability at Conner Prairie 

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Conner Prairie stewards 1,046 acres of natural habitat and green space, including more than 6 miles of shoreline along the White River.  

Take a look at some of our education, preservation, and sustainability efforts! Plus, learn about the hundreds of species of plants and animals that call Conner Prairie home. 

Unstructured Play in Nature

Children at Preschool on the Prairie exploring nature

When kids can run freely and dig into the dirt, they discover new things about the world. At Treetop Outpost, Adventure Camp, and our nature-based Preschool on the Prairie, our young guests have the chance to do just that—explore, observe, wonder, and play with the natural materials in the world around them.  

Learning about and Connecting with Nature

Families enjoying the Trails at Conner Prairie

Through the Trails at Conner Prairie, guests can hike, run, or go for a leisurely stroll and participate in special programming like Wonder Walks and Forest Therapy.  

Additionally, developed by Smithsonian Gardens, Habitat is an exhibit throughout our grounds that highlights unique animal habitats and what we can do to protect them.  

Environmental Stewardship

Fishers High School participating in invasive plant species removal

Caring for our 1,046 acres is one of the top priorities of our grounds crew at Conner Prairie. Our staff are knowledgeable in identifying invasive plant species, which are removed regularly by staff and volunteer teams.  

We also prioritize shoreline stabilization along the White River, which restores natural freshwater habitats and improves water quality.  

Community Partnerships

Duke Energy planting trees on the Conner Prairie grounds

In partnership with the White River Alliance, we are committed to improving the 3.3 miles of White River that flow through our grounds, through the White River Vision Plan. 

We also partner with many youth-serving organizations to encourage young people to explore, adventure, and learn in green spaces.  

We will hold Indiana’s first-ever Black Birders Week program in 2024, dedicated to uplifting Black nature enthusiasts and provide opportunities to connect with the natural world and observe birds in nature.  

Wildlife at Conner Prairie

Bald eagles

Hundreds of species of plants and animals can be spotted at Conner Prairie. Have you seen any of these?  

  • Bald eagles: Did you know that a pair of bald eagles are nesting on our grounds? Their nest sits along the White River—perfect for diving and catching fish.  
  • Five-lined skinks: Though similar in appearance to salamanders, skinks are reptiles while salamanders are amphibians. Species of both animals have been spotted at Conner Prairie, but five-lined skinks are most common. You’ll see them laying in the sun and skittering cross the forest floor.  
  • Common Sootywing: In 2013, a volunteer photographed this butterfly species on Conner Prairie grounds. It was the first sighting of the species in Hamilton County! 
  • Shagbark Hickory: This tree species is easily identifiable with its long, peeling bark. Species of bats, many of which are endangered in Indiana, make cozy homes beneath the loose bark of this tree.  
  • Red-tailed hawks: Do you know what a red-tailed hawk sounds like? If you’ve seen a movie or a show that includes the call of an eagle, it’s likely you actually heard the call of a red-tailed hawk!  

About the Author

Erin Silcox Jacobs, CFRE is the Senior Manager of Annual Fund and Donor Relations, responsible for ensuring that Conner Prairie donors see and feel the impact their donations make for our guests, staff, and the community.