Shirley Heinze Land Trust held its annual Spring Benefit on Saturday, May 19th, at Purdue University Northwest’s Westville campus, with 350 supporters and guests in attendance.
Board President Kelly Carmichael welcomed and thanked attendees. He spoke of the responsibility of the organization to ensure that its natural lands are protected for generations to come, and of the progress that has been made to advance the board’s strategic objectives, including achieving accredited status from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission in 2017.
Executive Director Kristopher Krouse thanked the event’s Benefactor Sponsor, Northern Indiana Public Service Company, and the Karner Blue sponsor, ArcelorMittal, along with the rest of the sponsors, volunteers and the host committee.
The evening’s program was highlighted by a series of testimonials from six individuals who are representative of the organization’s many partnerships. Each spoke briefly of a particular aspect of the mission of Shirley Heinze Land Trust: permanence, resilience, conservation, stewardship, future, and inspiration. The speakers were: John Bacone, Director of the Division of Nature Preserves, Indiana Department of Natural Resources; Therese Vande Hey, Associate General Counsel, ArcelorMittal; Arthur Pearson, Director of the Chicago Program of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; Jim Haniford, Meadowbrook Nature Preserve site steward; Olivia Burkhart, Marquette Catholic high school student and volunteer; and Ralph Lerner, donor and past board member.
The evening’s Funding the Future Paddle Auction featured a dollar-for-dollar match, and raised sixty-eight thousand dollars toward a goal of one million dollars, which will be used to establish a permanent operating fund. The fund will strengthen long-term preservation and stewardship efforts, and help to sustain the organization’s mission to protect natural places in northwestern Indiana in perpetuity. To date, the organization has reached eighty-five percent of the one million dollar goal. Those who would like to contribute to the remaining balance of one hundred fifty thousand dollars are asked to call Andrea Huntington, Director of Development, at 219-242-8558 for more information.
Since 1981, Shirley Heinze Land Trust has protected, restored and maintained northwestern 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. More than 2,400 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. Five of its properties have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as state nature preserves. The organization also works to educate people of all ages to appreciate the importance of land conservation, and to experience the natural wonders of this unique region. Its work is accomplished through a partnership of volunteers, donors, and professionals.
To learn more about Shirley Heinze Land Trust and how to become involved, visit the website at www.heinzetrust.org or call (219) 242-8558.