top of page

Meet your Neighbors: Annette Hansen

Meet Annette Hansen! Annette is involved with the dunes in many ways! She is an art teacher at Discovery Charter School and is also involved in many groups like MOMS club, 4-H and the Dunes Learning Center. She is also the superintendent of Porter Co 4-H Beekeeping and works with community youth to “Save the Bees” – which is instrumental in the repopulation of the honey bee.

What brought you to the dunes? I bought a home in the Dunes on Highway 12 in 1998. I was raised in a south suburb of Chicago so I’m a transplant. At the time, I was in advertising in Chicago and looking for a home in peaceful nature, but that was still close to transportation (South Shore Line). I changed careers for a family and have 2 sons that are lucky enough to call themselves natives of the Dunes. My family owns Hansen & Sons Construction and I am an art teacher at Discovery Charter School. I see myself pushing up daisies here in the Dunes and I will probably spend my old age teaching art & conservation to children, taking care of animals and trying to save the Earth from right here.

How long have you lived here? Nearly 20 years living in the Dunes now. For the last 13 I’ve been involved in community groups like MOMS Club of Duneland, Field Station Preschool Coop, Discovery Charter School and 4-H. For the last 7 years I have volunteered to bring 4-H programming to Porter County and bi-monthly art lessons to Discovery Charter School students as art was not in the original budget since its 2010 opening. I have recently been hired full time as the Art Teacher for the coming 2017/18 at Discovery and couldn’t be happier about it! (Kids will get art 1/week now!)

What is your favorite thing to do in the area? I enjoy conservation of the Duneland area. My 4-H group, the Discovery Trackers, and I focus on conservation of wetlands, wild public spaces and good general practices to ‘Save the Earth’. I am a member of the Porter County Chapter of Izaak Walton League and it’s current Executive Director. Unlike most Ikes chapters, PCC doesn’t have a boat launch, club house or gun range; we spend our volunteer hours creating wildlife habitat, doing wetland restoration and providing opportunities for public conservation education.

Tell us a secret about the dunes. This secret is creeping out of the bag…farm animals are returning to historic Chellberg Farm in Porter!  I became involved with Dunes Learning Center through the pollinator education I do and it evolved into my volunteering to place a steer at the farm for the summer of 2017. My sons and I care for it daily and since his arrival he has been joined by a goat and 3 ducks that friends have offered to donate or loan.

Another secret is that you can watch us open up the Chellberg barn in the morning this summer at around 7:30am each day.

Give us your top three “hidden treasures” (restaurant, shop, trail, beach, event…really anything!)

a) Chellberg Farm on Mineral Springs at highway 20 is a free family experience. Visit a historic farm and see barnyard animals. Home of the Maple Syrup Festival. Lots of great walking trails through woods, connecting to Bailly Homestead and Bailly Cemetary too.

b) Frame Family Little Calumet Conservation Area @ 1288 County Line Road, Michigan City (porter co side) — our new nature playground will be unveiled during our Fairy Festival. Also see the wetland restoration project in progress. Migratory bird reforestation habitat. Property bordered by Reynolds Creek and Little Calumet River. or PCCIWLA@Facebook

c) Gnomes Day Out…Duneland’s Fairy Festival on June 17, 10-3 at Frame Conservation Area.  It’s a family-friendly fundraising event for NWI conservation by 501(c)3 PCC-IWLA: Facebook@GnomesDayOut

What would you like to teach people about the dunes? I would like to teach my neighbors to care for their environment. It’s so diverse with so many moving ecological parts; everything we do plays a part. If my duneland neighbors only recycle or compost and pull garlic mustard in their yard, they are making a huge difference.  …but if they want to know more about how they can support their own Duneland and next-door wild spaces with me, they can call me 219-241-7431. Kids and families conservation practices assisted through Trackers 4-H Club (Purdue Extension), and adults and families through PCC Izaak Walton.

Anything else? 

June 17, 10-3 at Frame Family Little Calumet Conservation Area.

1288 N. County Line Road, Michigan City (Porter County side)–look for us 4 miles south of 20, 6 miles north of 6, 1 mile north of Burdick [near county line, look for signage facing east]. A family-friendly fundraiser for NWI conservation by Porter County Chapter of Izaak Walton League of America. Guests are encouraged to wear fairy and fantasy costumes.  Grand Opening of the new Nature Playground @ Frame during festival. Travel with Gnome down the Fairy House Trail, shrink to fairy size, explore the Fairy Village, meet the Fairy Queen, quest the scavenger hunt, watch jugglers, storytellers and play games. It’s fundraising event for NWI conservation by 501(c)3 PCC-IWLA: Facebook@GnomesDayOut

Our Duneland Family  business:  Hansen & Sons Construction: Greg Hansen, Owner. Facebook@hansenandsons2006 or contact Annette in the office 219-241-7431

Discovery Trackers 4-H Club:  The Trackers continue to amaze me as they grow into leaders of their community. Any Dunes (PoCo) family can get involved with Trackers by attending a meeting Sept-June on the 1st Tuesday of the month at the Baugher (Library Service Center)r from 5:30-6:30pm6:30pm.  It’s never too late to join 4-H!  See 4-H projects at the Porter County Fair this year to get inspired for 20187/18. Or call the 4-H Ext Office of Purdue at 219-365-4555 for the perfect 4-H fit for you! Or Annette Hansen at

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page