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Purdue professors' gift becomes Turtle Bend nature preserve

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Central Indiana Land Trust

What has been a secluded retreat for two Purdue professors and their families for decades will soon open to the public.

Drs. Harry Potter and Ray Rymph, and their families, have donated 64 acres in southeastern Parke County to the Central Indiana Land Trust. The site has been named Turtle Bend after one of it's unique features - an S-shaped stream that meanders through it. The tributary to Raccoon Lake is full of life, with a lot of fish diversity.

“In the stream is a sharp S-shaped curve where a half dozen turtles or more would hang out on the bank,” said Harry Potter. “That’s the reason we picked the name ‘Turtle Bend.’”

The Potter and Rymph families purchased the land in 1974 as a retreat spot. They recently donated it to the Land Trust. The land will be protected from future development and open for public use, and a generous gift from the Dr. Laura Hare Charitable Trust will fund long-term protection and improvements.

Turtle Bend is located off Ferndale Road and is not far from Turkey Run State Park. The property has sand bluff and sandstone deposits created by the stream. There also is a variety of younger and older forest with very few non-native species and a lot of diversity, including five species of ferns.

Plans for 2013 include volunteer workdays and building a small parking lot. Land Trust members are invited to celebrate the acquisition on June 13 at 5 p.m. at the Land Trust offices, 1500 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis.