Guest Contributor

a line of colorful autumn trees at Meadowbrook Nature Preserve

Student Experiences in Conservation Program

Shirley Heinze Land Trust had ten high school and college students participate this year with our Student Experiences in Conservation program. These experiences covered a wide variety of topics including water quality, wildlife monitoring, climate resiliency, interpretive programming, and environmental stewardship. A big thank you to our faculty partners from University of Notre Dame, Holy …

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michelle benson of swcd with a student

Porter County Soil and Water Conservation District: Partnerships Make an Impact

By the people and for the people is how the Porter County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) came to be. Hundreds of Porter County landowners successfully petitioned the State of Indiana for its creation and in 1952 the SWCD was established as a sub-division of state government. From the start, the SWCD office was …

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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 …

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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 and outbuildings on early-settler farms. The …

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path in a forest, all covered in snow

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 organization take on new …

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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 plant 50,000 trees on the property in the past seven years, said volunteer …

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Saying Goodbye to Garlic Mustard

By Audra Ebling Growing up as a city kid, I regarded any plant that bloomed as beautiful and “good,” a worthy specimen, a garden treasure. I knew better than to pick the flowers my mom cultivated in our backyard borders but the yellow dandelions in the grass were fair game and she kindly received many …

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Close Up of Glass Lizard's Head

The Secretive Legless Lizard

By Evan Kaiafas The sand prairie regions of Northwest Indiana and Northeast Illinois are filled with an incredible diversity of reptiles and amphibians. Many of these species are what I like to call “sand specialists” because, through evolution, they have become perfectly equipped to deal with the unique conditions of a sand prairie ecosystem. These …

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Mink Monitoring Part 5: Earth Day Edition

By: Jim Haniford Well, here we are, a little over five months into Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s trail cam monitoring project at Meadowbrook Nature Preserve.  We’re marking Earth Day on the west branch of the tributary of Salt Creek, a waterway that rambles carelessly through the bottomlands of the ancient moraine.  The occasion is attended …

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