CHESTERTON | The unique plant diversity found in Indiana's dunes have attracted scientists for more than a century. On Saturday, August 3, 2013, Dunes Learning Center and the National Park Service will provide visitors with an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of a historic expedition that took place 100 years ago.

From July to September 1913, an international group of ecologists led by Henry Chandler Cowles traveled the country to observe local environments and plant communities in their native habitats.

Cowles brought his colleagues to the landscape that had shaped his most important ecological research: the Indiana Dunes. The dunes were an important stop on a month-long scholarly exploration called the International Phytogeographic Excursion. Members of the expedition were impressed with the dunes, regarding them as one of the wonders of the United States.

Dunes Learning Center, in cooperation with Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the U.S. Geological Survey, will celebrate the centennial anniversary of this expedition with a day-long tour of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

The “Cowles Curiosity Tour,” will depart from Dunes Learning Center, where participants will board a bus at 8:30 a.m. They’ll be met at Cowles Bog by National Park Service (NPS) Botanist, Dan Mason, and Park Ranger, Bill Smith, who will lead a tour of the location explored by excursion scientists in 1913.

At 11:30 a.m. hikers will return to Dunes Learning Center for lunch and a program by Victor M. Cassidy, author of "Henry Chandler Cowles: Pioneer Ecologist.”

Following lunch, participants will continue on to the park's Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education near Miller Beach, IN. Following a short program, USGS ecologist, Noel Pavlovic, and NPS Education Programs Manager, Kim Swift, will lead a hike through Miller Woods—another location visited in 1913.

Tickets for this look at the unique natural history and ecology of the dunes are $60 per person. The ticket price includes, transportation, lunch and a copy of "Henry Chandler Cowles: Pioneer Ecologist." For information, or to purchase tickets online, visit or phone Dunes Learning Center at (219) 395-9555 x4.

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