Chesterton Tribune



Shirley Heinze fundraising focus is on protecting Little Calumet River corridor

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Shirley Heinze Land Trust welcomed nearly 300 supporters and guests to its 12th annual spring benefit, ‘Finding Connections,’ on Saturday, May 16, at Sand Creek Country Club, in Chesterton.

The Master of Ceremonies was Leigh Morris, former Mayor of LaPorte. Shirley Heinze Board President Margaret Williford welcomed attendees and thanked the event’s sponsor, Northern Indiana Public Service Company, as well as Karner Blue sponsor, ArcelorMittal.

Supporters of the organization’s annual “Funding the Cause” program raised nearly $60,000 to help connect currently protected natural areas along the Little Calumet River.

Last year, a coalition of approximately 20 partners in the bi-state region succeeded in getting the Little Calumet River Corridor approved as an Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust Conservation Area, joining four other designated project areas in the state. One million dollars has been set aside by the trust for acquisitions within this corridor, to be matched locally dollar for dollar.

Kris Krouse, Executive Director of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, asked guests to imagine more than 10 miles of permanently protected river corridor. “Our effort is dedicated to raising funds and leveraging these Bicentennial Nature Trust dollars to help us connect existing protected areas along the Little Calumet River. It will help connect forests to adjacent wetlands, providing habitat for wildlife. This will improve water and air quality and reduce sediment load and flood impacts by maximizing the quality of the floodplains over time. It will advance the NIRPC Greenways and Blueways Plan and the Chicago Wilderness Green Infrastructure Vision.

“It could play an integral role in developing a National Heritage Corridor for the Calumet Region. This project will connect kids, adults, neighbors, schools, municipalities, and businesses to an important natural area, where recreation and tourism benefits will be felt and people can restore their connections to the land by hiking, fishing, kayaking, birding, and botanizing, from Chesterton, through the Town of Porter, and into Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore,” said Krouse.

Shirley Heinze Land Trust manages approximately 1,600 acres of natural land in LaPorte, Lake, and Porter Counties. Five of its properties have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as State Nature Preserves. Included in the Heinze Trust’s holdings are examples of the spectrum of natural communities in the region: tallgrass prairie, high dune, oak savanna, boreal flatwoods, dune and swale, woodlands, marshes, swamps, ponds, fens, and riparian habitat. Shirley Heinze Land Trust has also made contributions toward the purchase of natural areas owned by other entities, including the Indiana DNR, The Nature Conservancy, and local park departments, many of which are open to the public.

To learn more about Shirley Heinze Land Trust visit


Posted 5/29/2015