Shirley Heinze Land Trust invites the public to explore the natural beauty of the Calumet Region and beyond by participating in its annual series of educational hikes. Led by a variety of experts, this year’s series includes four hikes at nature preserves across the region, including Trillium Ravine Nature Sanctuary in Berrien County, Michigan; Clark and Pine Nature Preserve in Lake County; Springfield Fen in LaPorte County; and Cowles Bog at Indiana Dunes National Park in Porter County.
On Saturday, May 4, from 9 am – noon (Eastern time), botanist Scott Namestnik, will lead a spring wildflower hike at Trillium Ravine, a 15-acre Michigan Nature Association preserve. The property is home to a diverse community of spring wildflowers, especially trilliums, as well as sedges, ferns, and many other native plants. This hike will take place on an established trail on level ground.
On Saturday, June 22, from 9 am – noon (Central time), Emily Stork, Regional Ecologist for the Indiana DNR Division of Nature Preserves, will lead a hike at Clark and Pine Nature Preserve, a property that is not open to the public. The preserve features dune and swale topography, one of Indiana’s rarest habitat types. The site has no trails. Participants should be prepared to hike through vegetation and wet, uneven terrain. High waterproof boots are recommended.
On Saturday, July 13, from 9 am – noon (Central time), Derek Nimetz, Regional Ecologist for the Indiana DNR Division of Nature Preserves, will lead a hike at Springfield Fen Nature Preserve. The preserve protects an upland forest community and numerous wetland habitats, including a high-quality example of a calcareous wetland known as a prairie fen. It harbors many rare plant and animal species. Participants should be prepared for uneven and muddy terrain.
The final hike in the series will take place on Saturday, August 24, from 9 am – noon (Central time). Mycologist Dr. Greg Mueller will lead hikers to look for and identify mushrooms at Cowles Bog. Dr. Mueller is Chief Scientist and Negaunee Foundation Vice President for Science at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Group size is limited to 15, and advance registration and payment are required. There is a $25 fee per person for each hike. For full details, visit Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s website at www.heinzetrust.org/hike-program.html. To register for the hikes, call 219-242-8558, or email Sarah Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Six 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.
For more information on the work and nature preserves of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, visit www.heinzetrust.org, call (219) 242-8558, or access its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/heinzetrust.