Chesterton Tribune



Donation box installed at Migratory Bird Sanctuary

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Volunteers at the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary recently installed a donation box to encourage financial support of the Sanctuary. The box is painted a bright green and is located just off of the parking lot, near the Nelson Gazebo. The box was made by Fort Knox and is highly secure.

The Sanctuary’s current funding needs are for shrubs and trees, and repair and maintenance of the heavy equipment. Volunteers would like to improve Griffin Lake on the west boundary to make a more welcoming habitat for birds. Materials and supplies are also needed to eliminate the invasive growth on the water.

This summer has been very productive at the Sanctuary. Significant progress was made in efforts to eliminate invasive species in the wetland and upland area. The upland area is where the former “unofficial” town garbage dump existed. The dumping ceased in the early 1960’s but remnants of garbage are still being found. Coming upon items from 60 years ago really emphasizes the point about what we dump, where and what happens to it. This summer clearing of the upland area, officially known as the “north side of the north trail”, of invasive shrubs and vines, was accomplished thanks to awesome volunteers. The area will be capped and replanted with shrubs and trees that support birds, butterflies and bees.

A new loop trail has been established on the south side of the Sanctuary, off of the south trail which leads to the Rotary/Realtors Deck. The trail is mulched and close to the wetland area. This area of the Sanctuary was not part of the unofficial dump.

The Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary is seeing an increase in visitors this year. It is a great place to social distance and enjoy nature. The picnic tables, donated by Cargill and the Boy Scouts, have been repositioned and spread out around the Sanctuary to encourage social distancing.

For the past several years the Sanctuary has enjoyed the return of a Sand Hill Crane “couple.” This year they are raising twins. Many have enjoyed spotting the family of four.

All of the work at the Sanctuary is carried out by volunteers, mostly a group of returning dedicated people who have transformed this formerly overgrown land into the Sanctuary of today. The sanctuary has also benefited from Boy Scout/Eagle Scout projects, church groups and groups of school children led by dedicated teachers. A group of Valparaiso University students have also come out several times for the Saturday work mornings.

The Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary, at 1050 South 11th Street, Chesterton, is a project of the PorterCo Conservation Trust, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization.



Posted 9/22/2020




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