LIBERTY TOWNSHIP | A free hike and refreshments will be offered July 20 at Meadowbrook Conservation Center and Preserve compliments of Shirley Heinze Land Trust.
The hikes will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon at 109 W. County Road 700 North.
The free guided hikes offer Shirley Heinze Land Trust an opportunity for neighbors and area residents to learn about the property and the mission of the organization.
Jim Erdelac, education volunteer manager for Shirley Heinze Land Trust, said tours will leave the parking area about every 15 minutes led by a staff member or volunteer.
The former Meadowbrook Girl Scout Camp is Shirley Heinze Land Trust's most recent land acquisition and the location of its new office. This 74-acre site includes mixed-age woodlands, deep ravines, shrub lands and reclaimed crop fields in the Valparaiso Moraine.
Erdelac said there are more than three miles of hiking trails at the site. He said plans are in the works to install signs at the site to better guide visitors through the property.
Since acquiring the former Girl Scout camp, Shirley Heinze Land Trust staffers and volunteers have overhauled the interior of the building there, and they are still working on the exterior, he said.
Shirley Heinze Land Trust manages about 1,300 acres of natural land in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. Five of its properties — Cressmoor Prairie, Seidner Dune and Swale, John Merle Coulter Preserve, Barker Woods and Ambler Flatwoods — have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as state nature preserves.
Included in the Heinze Trust’s holdings are examples of the entire spectrum of natural communities in this area: tallgrass prairie, high dune, oak savanna, boreal flatwoods, dune and swale, woodlands, marshes, swamps, ponds, fens and riparian habitat.
The Heinze Trust also has made contributions toward buying natural areas owned by other entities, including the Indiana DNR, The Nature Conservancy, LaPorte County Parks, Lake County Parks and the Portage Parks Department.