Land Protection

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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Tom Murphy in front of his crops

Interview with Valparaiso Farmer Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy, a Northwest Indiana farmer, partners with Shirley Heinze Land Trust on the Agricultural Land Program, developed with local farmers and agricultural organizations in order to surface resources and planning guidance to preserve NWI farmland for generations to come. Murphy has been instrumental in helping Shirley Heinze reach farmers and strategize effective means to …

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Photo of Rick Goltowski Granger Community Church

Flower Power: Plant Natives with Bringing Nature Home

The Bringing Nature Home Award is due August 20, 2022. Apply here! Native plants are pretty groovy—they have the power to sustain wildlife, protect our homes, and beautify communities. Shirley Heinze Land Trust works hard to restore natives throughout our nature preserves, and we also recognize the power a person holds to restore natural habitat. …

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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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Invasive Species Awareness Week: Burning Bush

By: Mary Nell Murphy While driving on Hwy 12 near the Indiana Dunes parks last fall, I stopped at a wayside for a stretch break and looked across the road to a sea of watermelon pink under the forest canopy. Delightful? No! As I suspected, and as I confirmed “upon further review of the field” …

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Invasive Species Awareness Week: Oriental Bittersweet

By: Glenn Major As a child, our mother sent us out to collect Bittersweet vines. Their attractive fruit mixed with gourds from the garden made for a festive holiday decoration of table or mantle. Folks wove them into colorful Christmas wreaths and candle rings. There lies the problem; these attractive vines imported from Asia in …

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