This year, three organizations and six individuals were recognized by Shirley Heinze Land Trust and the Friends of Shirley Heinze for incorporating native plants in their landscaping projects and gardens. The annual Bringing Nature Home program was established in 2011 to bring attention to the important role played by native vegetation in providing a critical source of food, shelter and migration ‘waystations’ for insects, birds and other wildlife. The Friends of Shirley Heinze, a volunteer arm of the land trust, selects and inspects entrants in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties, and the St. Joseph County Parks Department performs the same function in that area.
Shirley Heinze Land Trust announces that it has acquired a 16-acre wooded property in Wills Township, LaPorte County, southeast of Rolling Prairie. The woodland is home to an extremely diverse variety of plant species, including 41 plants whose presence is indicative of high quality, relatively undisturbed habitats. It also features a rich population of spring ephemeral wildflowers. Local botanists have long been aware the woods, and its surroundings and have been advocating for its protection for some time.
"This property is part of a large, rich forest that covers many more acres. Springtime displays of many kinds of wildflowers, including blue-eyed Mary, are breathtaking, and in summer the diversity of ferns, grasses, and sedges is superb. There is also a very nice array of wildlife here" says botanist Keith Board, who along with Life Board Member Barbara Plampin, began exploring the area many years ago.
Life Board Member Myrna Newgent adds, “The property has the most wonderful display of spring ephemerals anywhere in Northwest Indiana.”
“Shirley Heinze Land Trust is proud to protect this biodiverse gem in the vicinity of Rolling Prairie and eastern LaPorte County where we historically haven’t had a project area, and we look forward to maintaining the site for generations to come” says Executive Director Kristopher Krouse.
There are currently no trails on the property. Visitation is by guided hike only until public access amenities can be created.
These lands are being conserved, in part, by funding and technical assistance made available as mitigation for habitat impacts anticipated to arise through construction of the Greentown Reynolds Transmission Line, in partnership with Shirley Heinze Land Trust and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Brian Kortum, Manager of Natural Resources Permitting at NiSource Environmental, says, “NIPSCO is very excited to be able to direct its mitigation funds toward conserving this site. The quality and diversity of this site far exceeds that of the fragmented wood lots impacted by the Greentown Reynolds project. By pooling these funds, we are able to help meet regional conservation goals as well as regional energy needs."
Shirley Heinze Land Trust has been protecting and preserving natural land in Northwest Indiana since 1981. The organization accomplishes its work through a partnership of volunteers, donors, and professionals. More than 2,400 acres in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joseph Counties have been preserved for the public’s benefit. Shirley Heinze nature preserves feature significant scenic and ecological value, and most are open to the public for hiking and enjoying nature. The organization protects, restores, and maintains examples of the entire spectrum of Northwest Indiana’s rich and significant natural communities, including tallgrass prairie, high dune, oak savanna, boreal flatwoods, dune-and-swale, woodlands, marshes, swamps, ponds, fens, bogs, and riparian habitat. Five of its properties – Cressmoor Prairie, Seidner Dune & Swale, John Merle Coulter Preserve, Barker Woods, and Ambler Flatwoods – have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as state nature preserves.
Earlier this year, we successfully concluded our first-ever Capital Campaign.
In 2013 we embarked on a project to raise $3.5 million dollars to permanently protect an additional 500 acres of environmentally significant land, provide enhanced restoration, maintenance, and management of new and existing preserves, and educate and promote conservation awareness by providing increased access to natural areas.
We celebrated 35 years of land conservation in Northwest Indiana at our annual spring benefit on June 4. The event was held at Valparaiso University’s Harre Union, with more than 400 supporters and guests in attendance.
Come out to our Next Volunteer Workday
Share your stories
Please contact us if you are interested in sharing your experiences of Shirley Heinze Land Trust events or preserves with us to share on the blog.