Shirley Heinze Land Trust, an Indiana non-profit corporation, works to protect and restore ecologically significant natural areas in Northwest Indiana. Endowed as a charitable trust in 1981 through a gift by Mr. & Mrs. Robert L. Seidner, it was named to honor the memory of Dr. Shirley Heinze, an Ogden Dunes resident who was actively involved in the protection of the Indiana Dunes. Dr. Heinze, who died in 1978, was a psychologist and faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Since inception, Shirley Heinze Land Trust has acquired for preservation over 2,300 acres of natural land in Northwest Indiana. This includes almost 2,000 acres owned outright, 100 acres held as conservation easements, and roughly 30 acres transferred to the National Park Service and Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Five of our 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. The Heinze Trust has also made contributions toward the purchase of natural areas owned by other entities, including the Indiana DNR, The Nature Conservancy, LaPorte County Parks, Lake County Parks, and the Portage Parks Department.
Included in the Heinze Trust’s holdings are examples of the entire spectrum of natural communities in this area:
In addition to preserving and restoring natural areas, our community education programs raise awareness of the scientific and cultural relevance of preserving our unique ecosystems. Shirley Heinze Land Trust has published four books of environmental interest and conducted numerous educational hikes, workshops, lectures, and other public presentations. We are members of the Mighty Acorns Partnership for environmental education program for elementary schoolchildren.