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Shirley Heinze Land Trust and what they do for the dunes!


Little Calumet Wetlands

As we walk the beaches, hike the trails and take in the beauty of the dunes, it’s important for us to remember some of the organizations that make this possible for us. This week I am featuring one of those organizations — Shirley Heinze Land Trust

Please take the time to read this brief post to learn more about them, what they have planned and how you can help!

 1) Who is Shirley Heinze Land Trust?

Shirley Heinze Land Trust is a vibrant partnership of volunteers, donors, professionals, business and industry, working together to preserve, protect and restore significant natural areas in northwest Indiana.  The organization has grown from a small, volunteer-run group to one of the most respected regional land trusts in the Midwest.

….And who was Shirley Heinze?

Shirley Heinze was a scholar and a scientist. She was an advocate for land conservation and an enthusiastic outdoorswoman. She had a special place in her heart for children, and she inspired young people to fulfill their dreams. By all accounts, she was a kind and generous person, a gifted professional, and a good citizen. After Shirley Heinze’s death, in 1978, at the age of 51, Robert and Bette Lou Seidner made a donation, in honor of their longtime friend, to endow a conservation organization in her name. That organization, now known as Shirley Heinze Land Trust, has thrived.


Preserve in Beverly Shores

2) What does the Shirley Heinze Land Trust do?

in a few simple words, Shirley Heinze Land Trust educates, inspires and invites the public to experience the natural wonders of our unique region.

Shirley Heinze Land Trust has been protecting natural land in the southern Lake Michigan watershed since 1981.  It manages nearly 1,600 acres in Lake, Porter, and La Porte Counties.  Included in the Heinze Trust’s holdings are examples of the entire spectrum of natural communities in this area:  tallgrass prairie, high dune, oak savanna, boreal flatwoods, dune-and-swale, woodlands, marshes, swamps, ponds, fens, and riparian habitat.  Five Heinze Trust properties are dedicated Indiana State Nature Preserves.  Shirley Heinze Land Trust is a well established organization preserving these natural areas for present and future generations to enjoy.

3) What trails/preserves does Shirley Heinze Land Trust own? And can the public enjoy them? (please list)

Shirley Heinze Land Trust owns many preserves and trails in Lake, Porter and LaPorte County. A full list can be found here. Many are welcome to the public. Maps can be found and trails are accessible off of main roads.

4) What’s in the future for Shirley Heinze Land Trust?

This year Shirley Heinze Land Trust is excited to announce their first ever capital campaign “Take a Walk with Shirley”. They are trying to raise $3,500,000 and they are almost there! Their goals for this campaign are

  1. To permanently protect an additional 500 acres of environmentally significant land.

  2. To provide enhanced restoration, maintenance and management of new and existing preserves.

  3. To educate and promote conservation awareness by providing increased access to natural areas.


Little Calumet bridge

5) What can people do to help? 

a) There are volunteer workdays, Guided by our professional staff, it’s a great way to get outdoors and learn something new. You’ll feel good about doing some meaningful work for our environment and you may even make some new friends! All volunteer workdays are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. unless otherwise stated.

For more information please contact  Jim Erdelac at (219) 242-8558 or

There is also the upcoming spring benefit at Sand Creek on Saturday, May 16. Tickets can be purchased here and they are also always looking for sponsors.

For more information about Shirley Heinze Land Trust, simply to to or check out the video that Dig the Dunes did a couple years ago!

As lovers of the dunes, it’s organizations like these that we need to continue to support. They make the trails we walk on and the beauty we see possible.

(please note: most of the information found here, was taken from their website and media kit)


Calumet River

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