Shirley Heinze Land Trust preserves and protects natural lands and waters in northwestern Indiana, engaging people in nature and conservation.
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Preserve
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Restore
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Engage

Since 1981, Shirley Heinze Land Trust has been dedicated to the preservation and restoration of significant natural areas throughout northwestern Indiana. Today, more than 2,800 acres across Lake, Porter, LaPorte, St. Joseph, and Marshall counties are permanently protected, and most of our nature preserves are open to the public to explore and enjoy. We invite you to explore our upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and ways to donate, and see how you can help us protect northwestern Indiana’s natural areas, bringing people and nature a little closer in the process.
Featured Events
Bringing Nature Home Award
Native plant gardens provide crucial connecting habitat in an otherwise fragmented world.
The Bringing Nature Home Award recognizes the efforts of those who are creating healthier habitats for pollinators, wildlife, and people.

Submit your native plant garden for the Bringing Nature Home Award today!

Explore our neighboring nature preserves who are partners in conservation. Learn about rare plants and migrating birds from hikes led by regional experts. Tickets are $25 each. Spots fill up quickly, so sign up today!

Walks With Shirley Logo

Take a Walk With Shirley

Nature in the Arts
Shirley Heinze is hosting free public, family-friendly arts events in 2022!

Take a look at all of the events we're hosting (left), and visit the Nature in the Arts page to see our upcoming virtual events.

We hope to see you this summer!

Explore our neighboring nature preserves who are partners in conservation. Learn about rare plants and migrating birds from hikes led by regional experts. Tickets are $25 each. Spots fill up quickly, so sign up today!

Walks With Shirley Logo

Take a Walk With Shirley

events calendar
Activating Green Spaces
We're striving for equity in the outdoors.

Through our new initiative, Activating Green Spaces, we aim to provide environmental education and outdoor experiences for underrepresented communities in Gary, IN.

Explore our neighboring nature preserves who are partners in conservation. Learn about rare plants and migrating birds from hikes led by regional experts. Tickets are $25 each. Spots fill up quickly, so sign up today!

Walks With Shirley Logo

Take a Walk With Shirley

pictures of birders in Gary, Indiana

Thanks to NIPSCO for providing grant funding for this project, and to our partners Brown Faces Green Spaces, Aetna Manor Revitalization Program, Gary Community School Corporation, West Side Leadership Academy, and the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, INC.

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Upcoming Events
July 2, 2022
Mothing @ Meadowbrook

Learn about these beautiful and beneficial insects with local moth enthusiast Chris Joll and Shirley Heinze staff at Meadowbrook Nature Preserve. You'll get an up-close look at moths and other nighttime critters!

Upcoming Events
July 16, 2022
Nature in the Arts - Make Your Own Field Guide

Channel your inner artist with our Nature in the Arts series! Visit us at Ambler to walk in the woods and create a personalized field guide of your observations.

Upcoming Events
August 20, 2022
Nature in the Arts - Collages & Nature Wands

Create nature-inspired art with us! We are excited to partner with the Art Barn School of Art in leading a nature collage workshop, while the Chesterton Art Center shows you how to make your own magic through a DIY nature wand.

Upcoming Events
August 27, 2022
Rare Plants of the Tefft Savanna

Support Shirley Heinze Land Trust in preserving natural lands and waters in northwestern Indiana by attending our annual Walks With Shirley and Friends hiking series. These guided hikes are held at a variety of outstanding habitats across northwestern Indiana. Attendees will gain a wealth of knowledge

Upcoming Events
August 27, 2022
Nature in the Arts - Plein Air Painters + DIY Collage

Watch plein air painters in action as they draw inspiration from their surroundings at Lydick Bog Nature Preserve. Channel your inner artist with an art activity for all ages, led by the Art Barn School of Art.

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Read Our Latest Posts
Frogs Hopping Around Lydick Bog Nature Preserve
Frogs Hopping Around Lydick Bog Nature Preserve
Growing up with a forest in my backyard, I thought I knew all the sounds that Indiana spring nights had to offer, from the distinctive hoots of owls to the occasional chirp of bats. Apart from these somewhat rare springtime noises, it seemed like the forest, for the most part, held on to the blanket...
Streamside Sentinel
Streamside Sentinel
Immortalized in popular song, the sycamore occupies a special place on the Indiana panorama. The American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) is one of the tallest trees (up to 150 feet) on the Hoosier landscape, and it sometimes exhibits a circumference so large that its hollow stumps once served as dwellings...
INSIGHTS Spring 2022– Vol 25 Issue 1
INSIGHTS Spring 2022– Vol 25 Issue 1
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Hibernating Possibilities
Hibernating Possibilities
Since the onset of the COVID19 pandemic in 2020, a small group of like-minded individuals started meeting with Shirley Heinze Land Trust (SHLT) personnel about the concept of an emerging leaders group. I was one of those individuals who, at the time, did some volunteering at SHLT but also witnessed the...
Showing the World You Care
Showing the World You Care
Under sunny skies and spring-like temperatures, nine Shirley Heinze volunteers gathered Monday, February 21, at Meadowbrook Nature Preserve to remove invasive Black Locust saplings. The Meadowbrook Monday workday was part of the organization’s ongoing reforestation effort, which has seen staff and volunteers...
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Visit a Preserve Near You!
From globally rare dune and swale in Gary to lovely moraine forests near Valparaiso, to one of the last remaining bogs in Indiana near South Bend, there is likely to be one of our nature preserves near your community, where you have the chance to experience the natural wonders of one of the most biodiverse regions in the country.
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Your Donation Makes a Difference
The generosity of individuals is the foundation of our support. Whether a few dollars, a few hundred, or more, your donations enable us to uphold our commitment to forever protect and restore lands and waters throughout northwestern Indiana. Discover the ways that you can donate money or land to support the enduring mission of Shirley Heinze Land Trust.
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Nature Preserve Volunteer
Over 1,500 Hours Volunteered in 2021
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. Whether you’d like to spend a few hours in nature by helping to maintain our trails and preserves, or assist with workshops and workdays that bring people closer to nature, or contribute behind the scenes to help Shirley Heinze Land Trust run smoothly, we need your help.
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Say Hello!
You may find us out in the field, maintaining our preserves, or at a meeting with conservation partners, or connecting with people in communities across northwestern Indiana. You may also find us in our offices, located on the edge of Meadowbrook Nature Preserve, just north of Valparaiso. Contact us today to say hello, learn more about what we do, and find out how you can help Shirley Heinze Land Trust protect natural places for generations to come.