GARY | Thea Bowman Leadership Academy's Eagles 4-H Club took advantage of the mild weather in December to hike the trails at the Douglas Center for Environmental Education at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
After receiving a brief introduction from park rangers about the importance of staying on the trails, students set out to explore the habitats found around the Douglas Center in the Miller area.
Students used journals to draw pictures of the wetlands, oak savanna and dunes. They also wrote about the things they saw on their hike.
The hikers encountered a beaver lodge, deer and coyote tracks, and several types of trees and plants. They learned about erosion and the importance of staying on the trails, how the dunes were formed and what keeps them in place.
After lunch, they went to West Beach and hiked the new stairway path to the beach.
"It was the perfect day for an adventure and the students had a great time," said Tammy Tiede, 4-H volunteer and high ability coordinator at the school. "Many of our students did not even know this place existed, even though it is in their own back yard. It is so important to provide these opportunities for our students to get outside and explore nature."