CHESTERTON | Six decades ago, Queen Elizabeth II took the throne, the "Today Show" began airing and Mad Magazine went into publication.
That was also the year Save the Dunes Council was founded, Tom Serynek, past president of Save the Dunes, told a group of members, advocates, elected officials and friends during Saturday night’s gala celebration at Sand Creek Club.
Serynek shared childhood memories of the dunes with guests at the 60th anniversary event and thanked them for their efforts in helping to preserve the natural landscape for his children, grandchildren and all people.
“We have 60 years of preserving the park and 60 years ahead to continue to preserve the areas that need it,” Serynek said.
Current President Jeanette Neagu also spoke of her memories as a child living next door to Dorothy Buell, founder of Save the Dunes and pioneer of dunes conservation.
“With the next generation, the commitment to preserve the dunes is going to live, and we will all continue to save the dunes and protect the Earth,” she said.
Guest speaker U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, said he would preface his speech by saying “nothing.”
“In 2010, we were not able to secure any land acquisition for the Indiana Dunes. In 2011, we were not able to secure any land acquisition for the Indiana Dunes. In 2012, we were not able to secure any land acquisition for the Indiana Dunes. And we have no fiscal money to spend on any land acquisition for 2013. People are resigned to doing nothing. But we are in a position, and it is imperative, to protect this land for the next generation, so thank you for what you have done, because you are doing something,” Visclosky said.
Also in attendance were state Sen. Karen Tallian and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Superintendent Costa Dillon.
Keynote speaker Henry Henderson, Midwest program director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, spoke about anticipated opportunities and challenges that will impact the Indiana Dunes and quality of life in Northwest Indiana and underscored reasons why continued collaboration will be critical to future success.
A documentary titled “Eternal Vigilance” featured memories and historical footage of important pioneers of the Indiana Dunes, including Jens Jensen, Frank Dudley, Dorothy Buell, Paul Douglas, and Herb and Charlotte Reed. The Reeds also were in attendance.
“We collected signatures in 1958 and took Frank Dudley’s paintings with us on the bus to Washington, D.C., and propped them up in the congressional rooms where the hearings were held. We did it!” Sylvia Troy, a past president of Save the Dunes, said in the film about the creation of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.