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.
ArcelorMittal restored ten acres of globally rare dune-and-swale habitat on its campus at 3001 E. Columbus Drive in East Chicago. The Field Museum and The Nature Conservancy were partners in the project which saw the cessation of mowing on seven acres of remnant prairie and the installation of natives on another three acres.
The City of Gary established a 4,600-square-foot native planting along the east side of the Gary Redevelopment Commission’s building located at 839 Broadway, using a variety of native plant species that are well-suited to the conditions of the site.
The Town of Munster undertook a variety of native planting projects at its 200-acre Centennial Park, located at 1005 S. Centennial Drive. They include a 30-acre planting on a landfill; three acres of natural area around a built pond, including native aquatic plants, and a bird and butterfly garden; three vegetated bioswales in the parking area; and a half-acre planting along public walkways.
This year’s recipients in the individual gardener category are Deborah Marr of South Bend, Ken and Carol Sibbrell of Valparaiso, John Clevering of Dyer, James Doran of Ogden Dunes, and Nicole Jen of Munster.
For more information about the Bringing Nature Home program, visit http://www.heinzetrust.org/bringing-nature-home.html