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Shirley Heinze Land Trust

Shirley Heinze Land Trust has been protecting and preserving natural land since 1981. The organization accomplishes its work through a partnership of volunteers, donors, and professionals. More than 2,200 acres in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joseph Counties have been preserved for the public’s benefit. Shirley Heinze nature preserves feature significant scenic and ecological value, and most are open to the public for hiking and enjoying nature. The organization protects, restores, and maintains examples of the entire spectrum of northern Indiana’s rich and significant natural communities, including tallgrass prairie, high dune, oak savanna, boreal flatwoods, dune-and-swale, woodlands, marshes, swamps, ponds, fens, bogs, and riparian habitat. Five of its properties – Cressmoor Prairie, Seidner Dune & Swale, John Merle Coulter Preserve, Barker Woods, and Ambler Flatwoods – have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as state nature preserves. Shirley Heinze Land Trust recognizes the importance of educating the public about the value of land conservation. As members of the Mighty Acorns Partnership, with support from ArcelorMittal, we connect elementary school children with nature through direct and sustained hands-on outdoor educational experiences. We also sponsor year-round educational hikes and workshops for people of all ages, and provide public access to our preserves that includes trails and interpretive signage.
A bog is a rare type of habitat that forms over centuries under particular conditions. Bogs nurture a distinctive array of animals, plants and fungi, including the carnivorous pitcher plant and tamarack. Two years ago a bog was discovered outside the little town of Lydick, just west of South Bend. It is one of the last remaining bog habitats in Indiana. Last year Shirley Heinze Land Trust acquired the bog and the property surrounding it; now we are working with partners in St. Joseph County to restore it, make it accessible to the public, and preserve it for future generations. This Spring we must exercise an option to purchase an abandoned farmstead adjacent to the bog site. The property will provide space for a Trailhead, parking, restrooms, and equipment storage. We must also restore the bog by removing invasive plants, and we will construct trails and install interpretive signs to make the area accessible for hiking, birding, and environmental education programs in conjunction with organizations like Camp Ray Bird. All of that will cost about $250,000; of that amount, our immediate need is $50,000 to purchase the farmstead property.
Additional money raised will help fund our Lydick Bog Capital Improvement Project. Once the 2-acre parcel has been acquired, the existing (unusable) structures will be demolished and public amenities will be added to include a parking lot and restrooms. A pole barn will be erected to house stewardship equipment storage. Trails will be installed, a boardwalk and bog overlook will be built, and preserve and interpretive signage will be completed. A conservation plan will be developed and implemented to protect additional natural areas surrounding the Bog. Shirley Heinze Land Trust will permanently protect Lydick Bog for generations to come. This is of vital importance to the quality of life for current and future residents of St. Joseph County as there are few high-quality natural areas remaining in the South Bend area. Lydick Bog will become a preeminent nature preserve where the public – children and adults alike – can learn, recreate and enjoy nature.

109 W 700 North
Valparaiso, IN 46385

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