Always adventuresome, Red, an energetic Irish setter, gets lost as he and his friends explore the northwestern Indiana nature preserves of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust.
But losing his way becomes an educational experience for Red in James Dworkin’s third book about the lovable canine’s escapades, "Red’s Nature Adventure," illustrated by artist Michael Chelich.
“As Red tries to find his way, he wanders through all these different land formations and sees all the diverse types of plant and animal life that live there,” says Dworkin, chancellor emeritus at Purdue University Northwest and a professor of management at Purdue University.
“Red gets to meet so many animals, and they help him as they show him around the nature preserves.”
Working in partnership with the Shirley Heinze Land Trust, Dworkin, who will be signing copies of his book from noon to 2 p.m. on Aug. 18 at the Indiana Welcome Center, located at 7770 Corinne Drive, in Hammond, is donating all the proceeds from sales of "Red’s Nature Adventure" to the non-profit.
The Trust, an organization founded in 1981 with a mission to preserve, protect and restore significant natural areas in Northwest Indiana encompasses 2,400 acres of prairie, tallgrass, high dune, oak savanna, boreal flatwoods, dune-and-swale, woodlands, marshes, swamps, ponds, fens, bogs, and riparian habitat.
“I really believe in what they’re doing,” Dworkin says. “And I felt this was a way I could help them in perpetuity and also introduce kids of all ages to the importance of land stewardship.”
Though the book is aimed at readers from third grade and up, Dworkin says that it can be also be read to younger children.
“Little kids will enjoy the story while older kids can learn about the environment,” he says, noting that Chelich’s wonderful illustrations portray Heinze Trust nature preserve locations in Gary, Hammond, Hobart, Portage, Chesterton, Valparaiso, Michigan City, and South Bend.
“This book has multiple possibilities. Teachers can make interesting assignments based on the book, and there’s an appendix in the back that has information about the importance of protecting these natural places and how to visit them.”
Dworkin has written two other books about Red, including "The Dog and the Dolphin."
“I got the idea for that one when I was sitting on the beach on Sanibel Island and I kept seeing this dog walking back and forth,” he says.
“I wondered what he was doing and then I saw a dolphin out in the water and the dog swam out, and they started playing.”
Since he started writing children’s books, Dworkin and his wife, Nancy, have made over 250 appearances at schools, hospitals, stores, book signings and readings. He doesn’t charge for any of it and if anyone is interested, he says to contact him at 219-363-2970 or firstname.lastname@example.org.