Shirley Heinze Land Trust kicks off series of hikes with “Birding Hotspots”.

February 26, 2020

Feature photo: Scaup and Goldeneye on Lake Michigan at Hammond by Matt Kalwasinski

The public is invited to explore the natural beauty of the Calumet Region and beyond and support Shirley Heinze Land Trust in its mission to preserve natural lands in northwestern Indiana by attending its educational hikes. Attendees are treated to a wealth of knowledge from expert hike leaders, in groups of 15 or less, at outstanding natural areas located across northwestern Indiana.

This year’s educational hike series includes four outings. It begins with an early spring “Birding Hotspots Hike” on Saturday, March 28th, from 9am until noon, at various locations in north Lake County. The hike will be led by Matt Kalwasinski, who birds extensively in Northwest Indiana and has led birding trips for the Indiana Audubon Society and Shirley Heinze Land Trust.

Depending upon bird activity and weather, participants will visit locations such as the Highland Heron Rookery, Grant Street Marsh in Gary, Seidner Dune & Swale Nature Preserve in Hammond, and Jeorse Park in East Chicago, to look for waterfowl and other early or overwintering birds. Directions will be provided to registrants, and attendees will drive themselves or carpool to each site.

Remaining hikes in the series include a Wildflower Hike on May 2nd at Bendix Woods County Park in St. Joseph County, a Reptile and Amphibian Hike on June 6th at Lydick Bog Nature Preserve in St. Joseph County, and a Botany Hike on August 29th at Jasper Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area in Jasper County.

Group size is limited to 15, and advance registration and payment is required. There is a $25 fee  per person for each hike. For full details about the hike program, and to register, please visit Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s website at You may also register by calling the office at 219-242-8558. 

 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 2,500 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. Five of its properties have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as state nature preserves.

Want to learn about more hikes like this? Be sure to sign up for the Dig the Dunes weekly e-newsletter, right here.



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