The Shirley Heinze
Land Trust has announced acquisition of a 70-acre property that is adjacent
to the northeastern boundary of Meadowbrook Nature Preserve in Valparaiso.
The acquisition increases the total amount of protected land in the preserve
to just over 224 acres.
The majority of the
new addition is currently in agricultural use. Shirley Heinze plans to
reforest the property, which will enhance habitat for native plants and
animals by increasing connectivity between Meadowbrook, nearby Sunset Hill
Farm County Park, and Moraine State Nature Preserve.
The western portion
of the new property contains approximately four acres of relatively high
quality second growth. The forest is dominated by young red maples and
contains a suite of spring ephemeral wildflowers similar to those found
elsewhere at Meadowbrook, including Dutchman's breeches, cutleaf toothwort,
trout lily, and woodland phlox. The site also contains many large-flowered
trillium, which are rare at Meadowbrook.
"We never imagined
Meadowbrook becoming a 224-acre nature preserve when we first acquired the
74-acre Girl Scout camp in 2013," said Executive Director Kristopher Krouse.
"It's quite an achievement, and we're just as excited that reforestation of
the addition will commence in 2018."
The purchase was
made possible with matching funds from the Indiana Bicentennial Nature
Trust. Funding and technical assistance was also made available as
mitigation for impacts caused by the construction and maintenance of the
Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership, 6B Pipeline, in partnership with the
Conservation Fund and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Shirley Heinze Land
Trust has been protecting and preserving natural land in Northwest Indiana
since 1981. The organization accomplishes its work through a partnership of
volunteers, donors, and professionals. More than 2,300 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. The organization protects, restores, and maintains examples
of the entire spectrum of Northwest 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. Five of its properties - Cressmoor Prairie, Seidner
Dune & Swale, John Merle Coulter Preserve, Barker Woods, and Ambler
Flatwoods - have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as state nature
information on the work and nature preserves of Shirley Heinze Land Trust,
visit www.heinzetrust.org, call
(219) 242-8558, or visit the Facebook page at