WESTVILLE — More than 300 guests attended a recent spring benefit hosted by Shirley Heinze Land Trust.
The event at Purdue University Northwest’s Westville campus raised money to support the Trust’s mission to expand and connect natural lands throughout Northwestern Indiana, build resiliency for tomorrow's challenges, and increase public access to local nature preserves for inspiration, recreation, and enjoyment.
Board Secretary Larry Stanton welcomed guests and spoke of the organization’s mission. On behalf of the board, he acknowledged and thanked Executive Director Kristopher Krouse for his leadership and focus on the organization’s mission.
Stanton also thanked the many partners and individuals who make this work possible, including the evening’s Benefactor Sponsor, Northern Indiana Public Service Co., and the Karner Blue sponsor, ArcelorMittal, along with all corporate and individual sponsors.
Jennifer Montague, Vice President of Communications and External Affairs, said the company is proud of its role as a long-time contributor and partner of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, and mentioned several successful projects and accomplishments that have resulted, including the protection of Lydick Bog and Meadowbrook.
Keynote speaker Andrew Bowman, President and CEO of the Land Trust Alliance (LTA). Bowman presented an overview of the work of the LTA, a national nonprofit conservation organization that serves as the voice of the land trust community through its advocacy, capacity building, convening, and leadership. He congratulated Shirley Heinze Land Trust on its receipt of the LTA’s 2018 National Excellence Award.
Krouse also announced the Shirley Heinze Land Trust has achieved last year’s goal of creating a $1 million quasi-endowment fund. He noted the endowment project was largely made possible by a bequest from a member of the organization’s Legacy Circle donors, and encouraged members of the audience to consider joining this group. Finally, Krouse acknowledged the death of Charlotte Read, who was Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s first executive director, from 1984-1987.
Since 1981, Shirley Heinze Land Trust has protected, restored and maintained northwestern Indiana’s rich and significant natural communities, including tallgrass prairie, high dune, oak savanna, boreal flatwoods, dune-and-swale, woodlands, marshes, swamps, ponds, fens, bogs, and riparian habitat. More than 2,400 acres in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joseph counties have been preserved for the public’s benefit. Shirley Heinze nature preserves feature significant scenic and ecological value, and most are open to the public for hiking and enjoying nature. Six of its properties have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as state nature preserves.
The organization also works to educate people of all ages to appreciate the importance of land conservation, and to experience the natural wonders of this unique region. Its work is accomplished through a partnership of volunteers, donors, and professionals.