Meet your Neighbors: Brad Bumgardner


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Meet Brad! Brad is the interpretive naturalist at Indiana Dunes State Park, Chesterton, Indiana.  He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources, with specializations in Environmental Education and Ornithology.  Brad is project coordinator for bird banding and the ever popular owl banding program at Indiana Dunes State Park.  He has been employed with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for fourteen years and was just recently awarded the Lt. Governor’s Hoosier Hospitality Award.  He is also the past-president of the Indiana Audubon Society.

What brought you to the dunes? A job transfer from Pokagon State Park originally brought me here eight years ago. Of course, with many parks to choose from, the Dunes had the most appeal. The diversity in natural and cultural resources lead to lots of stories to talk about for a heritage interpreter.

How long have you lived here? I remember it exactly. My first day in the dunes was June 18, 2007. I was camping in the campground the first two weeks as I searched for a place to live in the area.

What is your favorite thing to do in the area? Birding the dunes has become my favorite hobby. Especially in the spring and the fall when you never know what is around the corner.

Tell us a secret about the dunes. We focus so heavily on the land and the dunes that we often overlook the resources of Lake Michigan. From natural to cultural, the lake defines us much more than the dunes do in my opinion.

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

a) Ecology Cove at the state park. Where trails 4 and 7 meet the beach. It’s sheltered in a deep cove from Mt Tom and a hidden beauty.

b) Owl banding at the Indiana Dunes State Park 

c) Santiago’s salsa

What would you like to teach people about the dunes? As a park interpreter, we’re teaching folks about the diverse plant and animal communitites that create such a biorich area. It’s also neat to see how we can create compatible recreational opportunities (such as the pavilion upgrade) and still preserve and protect the resources that we’ve been instilled with protecting.

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You can read about more “neighbors” right here!