Meet Patty Kostro! Patty is a recent graduate from Indiana University Northwest where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Geology. She currently holds an adjunct faculty position at IUN where she teaches students about rocks, minerals and topography for the Introductory to Earth Science labs. She is passionate about water and now that she has graduated, she hopes to pursue her career in hydrogeology. Hydrogeology is a science that studies surface and ground water flow in relation to rocks and soils. Patty will be a featured blogger on digthedunes.com as she will be writing each month and teaching readers about the “Geology of the Dunes”. We are very excited to have Patty come aboard!
What brought you to the dunes? I have always been drawn to water. My passion for water started as a child when I would fish with my grandfather at Shafer Lake. As an adult, I lived in Chicago and would take the train to work from Wrigleyville to downtown. I would walk or rollerblade the seven mile trek home in the summer evenings just to be next to Lake Michigan. But, moving to Miller Beach sealed my friendship with our beaches and sand dunes. Where else can you go and enjoy every sunset and sunrise of every season? However, I am fortunate. I recently received a degree in geology. This enabled me to fully understand and learn about these great sand dunes along Lake Michigan’s shorelines. My passion has turned into something new. I am able to look at Lake Michigan in a different light from “her” times of calmness to the after effects of a huge storm that thrashes enormous waves against the shoreline. Although, these storms can churn, cut into and destroy an entire section of a dune, it is fascinating to witness the power of Lake Michigan.
How long did you live here? I lived in Miller Beach for ten years.
What is your favorite thing to do in the area? This question is limitless to me. I love being a beachgoer, an avid hiker in the trails or helping teach students about the different pebbles on the beach during field trips.
Tell us a secret about the dunes. I don’t know if the secret is about the dunes or myself. But, if you want to embrace nature or need a getaway, the dunes is the best medicine to ground yourself and feel brand new.
Give us your top three “hidden treasures” (restaurant, shop, trail, beach, event…really anything!)
a) Cowles Bog trail off of Mineral Springs is my absolute favorite place to be for two hours of any day!
b) Flamingo Pizza in Miller has the best filet mignon along the shoreline.
c) Sunsets from any vantage point along the lake.
What would you like to teach people about the dunes? I want people to stop littering. I know that sounds old fashioned and kind of “hippie-ish”, but plastic never ever degrades. Plastic in all forms is left on our beaches. Plastics are found in our sand as small as a sand grain. These smaller plastics can affect not only our ecology, but you may be breathing them in as you lay on the beach or take a stroll on a windy day. So, I would like everyone who loves the dunes to be proactive on helping clean the beach even when it is not your litter. Just pick it up and throw it away.
Anything else? Since I am in my lecture mode… Stay off the Marram grass! This grass is what keeps the sand in place. Humans not staying on designated trails and trampling these grasses allows the sand to escape and destroys our dunes.