all-volunteer, non-partisan Dunes Action! has been awarded the Frontline
Advocate of the Year by the Hoosier Environmental Council.
Dunes Action! is a
northwest Indiana organization dedicated to the preservation of the cultural
and natural heritage of the Indiana Dunes. The group was formed in February
2015, after area residents were alarmed to discover the Indiana Department
of Natural Resources had signed a lease with a private developer, Pavilion
Partners LLC, to construct a large conference/banquet center adjacent to a
historic Pavilion at the Indiana Dunes State Park, effectively
commercializing the park.
further alarmed by the lack of transparency and public participation
regarding the plans, and ultimately established Dunes Action! to raise
awareness, hold IDNR accountable to public disclosure rules, and to compel
the agency and developers to follow all applicable laws and regulations.
Dunes Action! was
given the award Saturday in Danville, IN, at the Hoosier Environmental
Council’s 10th annual “Greening the Statehouse” forum, which is Indiana’s
largest annual gathering of environmental-minded citizens.
“We’re very pleased
to receive this award from the Council. In spite of many hurdles, we're
continuing our efforts to stop commercialization at the state park, and to
advocate for transparency and community input,” said Jim Sweeney, co-founder
of Dunes Action! “Many thanks to the Hoosier Environmental Council for
recognizing our work.”
“Dunes Action has
done so much to protect our cherished Indiana Dunes State Park situated
along the shores of Lake Michigan including the historic Dunes Pavilion from
irresponsible and damaging development. HEC is honored to recognize Dunes
Action with this award,” said Kim Ferraro, senior staff attorney and
agriculture policy director for HEC.
The HEC Annual
Awards is an ongoing part of Greening the Statehouse (GTS), Indiana's
largest annual gathering of environmental-minded Hoosiers, an event that is
in its 10th year. GTS 2017 featured panel discussions on grassroots
organizing in urban, suburban, and rural communities; engaging
environmental-minded Hoosiers across the political spectrum; and influencing
local government decisions. The event was capstoned by a keynote address by
Reverend Mitch Hescox, president and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental
Network, one of the nation’s leading conservative Christian advocates for
caring for creation.
thirty-five years ago, the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) aims to
advance solutions that are good for the economy and good for the