A new executive director of Save the Dunes has been named.
Nicole Kamins, 39, was tapped last week to replace Tom Anderson, who retired
in the spring after many years at the helm of Save the Dunes.
Kamins’ commitment to this mission is reflected in her 11 years of work in
advancing the City of Chicago’s Calumet Initiative, a project which included
acquisition and restoration of more than 3,000 acres of open space in
southeast Chicago, the group said in a statement.
Through her work on the Calumet Initiative, Kamins successfully secured
grant funding and implemented the area’s largest restoration project at
Hegewisch Marsh. “Kamins is known for her skill in working with diverse
populations—local, state and federal government agencies, environmental
organizations, academia, museums, nonprofits, residents and industry
groups—to develop consensus on challenging projects,” the statement said.
“I am thrilled to become part of this incredibly powerful advocacy
organization,” Kamins said. “The grassroots volunteers, board and staff of
Save the Dunes have worked tirelessly for more than fifty years to protect
this region’s most important ecological resource—the Indiana Dunes.”
Save the Dunes was founded in 1952 by citizen conservationist Dorothy Buell
to preserve and protect the Indiana Dunes.
The volunteer-driven organization campaigned against industrial destruction
of the region’s natural areas while advocating creation of a national park
in the dunes.
The Council’s efforts achieved partial success with the creation of the
Indiana Dunes Lakeshore in 1966. From 1966 to 1992 the group continued to
lobby successfully for expansion of the park.
The Council has also worked to block parking and hotel developments in the
Indiana Dunes State Park and worked successfully to protect the majority of
the State Park with Nature Preserve status.
In recent years, as the Michigan City-based group has expanded its paid
staff, it has added to its grassroots lobbyist role by putting more
resources into environmental education and land stewardship activities.
“Without this organization, we simply would have lost the Dunes, and with
them a national treasure,” Kamins said.
Deborah Chubb, president of the organization’s board of directors, said, “We
are absolutely thrilled to have Ms. Kamins take on the leadership of Save
the Dunes. Her technical, environmental, marketing, and organizational
skills coupled with such a strong commitment to advocacy make her the best
possible person to move Save the Dunes to the next level of achievement.”
Kamins holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a certificate in
environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master
of Arts in geography and environmental studies from Northeastern Illinois
University. She comes to Save the Dunes from the Chicago Department of
“Kamins has her
roots in the outdoors,” Save the Dunes said. “As a child she spent many
weekends playing in the water and enjoying the respite the Dunes provided
with her grandmother in Porter Beach. She learned about preservation of the
Indiana Dunes, as barbed wire was finally installed at the foot of a Dune to
prevent its destruction from off-road vehicles and climbers . . . She has a
passion for local, sustainable farming and serves on the board of directors
of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association.”