VALPARAISO | Shirley Heinze Land Trust has purchased the former Meadowbrook Girl Scout Camp in Liberty Township, north of Valparaiso.
The Trust will operate the 74-acre property as a natural area and a center for environmental education and outdoor recreation. Existing structures along County Road 700N will house the organization’s administrative offices and its stewardship and education arms.
“Meadowbrook represents a turning point in our organization’s history,” said Margaret Williford, president of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust Board of Directors. “It’s a splendid addition to our holdings of natural land in Northwest Indiana, but it also provides long-needed office and storage facilities to support our growing programs.
"The hiking trails and outdoor amphitheater are perfect for the Mighty Acorns educational program we administer for local elementary school students. After 30 years occupying cramped rental quarters, we are delighted to finally have our own home.”
An open house is planned for spring and a community hike later in the year. For more information, call (219) 879-4725 or visit www.heinzetrust.org.
“The permanent preservation of Meadowbrook significantly enhances air and water quality in our area,” says Shirley Heinze Land Trust Executive Director Kris Krouse. “The site hosts a variety of habitats and natural communities: upland forest, a deep ravine along a stream, mixed-age woodlands reclaiming former crop land, shrub lands, scattered patches of evergreens, and a forested wetland.
"The property. . .provides important wildlife habitat, as well as migratory, nesting, and wintering grounds for numerous bird species.”
“This acquisition comes after a year of negotiations with Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, who retired the facility after completing a two-year, volunteer-led, long-range planning review of all its properties in 2011,” Krouse said.
"The Girl Scouts agreed to a reasonable price to ensure the property’s environmentally focused future. The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation provided a loan to cover the entire cost of the purchase. The Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust granted $240,000 toward the purchase price. Nearly 20 entities submitted letters in support of our grant applications. We are very grateful to all our friends for making this possible.”