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Shirley Heinze Land Trust Acquires Rare Bog

Shirley Heinze Land Trust announces that it has acquired a 176-acre property in St. Joseph County. The property contains one of the last remaining bog habitats in Indiana, and it represents a milestone for the organization as its first land conservation project outside of Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties.

"It’s truly exciting to have Lydick Bog as Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s first acquisition in St. Joseph County," says its board president, John Swanson. "This is an extremely high-quality natural area, which will now be restored and preserved in perpetuity. We appreciate the encouragement and support we received from environmental and community leaders in St. Joseph County to make this happen."

Located west of South Bend, the property contains wetlands interspersed with high ridges and islands of upland forest. Wetland habitat encompasses approximately 65 acres of the property. Many interesting plant species characteristic of bog habitats have been identified on site, including round-leaved sundew, pitcher plant, winterberry, tamarack, and large cranberry. Twenty acres currently in agricultural production will be reforested. Plans are underway to develop public access.

Evelyn Kirkwood, Director of St. Joseph County Parks, says "The protection of the Lydick Bog, with its unique plant life, is a significant acquisition and an important step in preserving the natural heritage of St. Joseph County. We are thrilled that Shirley Heinze Land Trust has committed to working in St. Joseph County, since a land trust has been sorely lacking here. We are looking forward to collaborating with Shirley Heinze Land Trust, its staff and outstanding volunteers, on future educational projects and endeavors that connect people to our natural resources."

"This acquisition came about thanks to many relationships and partnerships within the St. Joseph County Community," says Executive Director Kristopher Krouse. "We look forward to continuing to develop these partnerships and to advance land conservation in the area."

"Shirley Heinze Land Trust now protects 2,100 acres of natural land. We have a goal to increase that total to 3,000 acres within the next five years," adds Krouse.

The Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, The Conservation Fund, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and NIPSCO were integral to this achievement. The land is being conserved, in part, by funding and technical assistance made available as mitigation for impacts caused by the construction and maintenance of the Reynolds Topeka Electric System Improvement Project in partnership with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

David Farren, Executive Director of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, said, "The Foundation has proudly supported Shirley Heinze Land Trust since 2005. We are pleased to have played a role in the financing of this project through our Program Related Investments program."

Shirley Heinze Land Trust has been protecting and preserving natural land since 1981. The organization accomplishes its work through a partnership of volunteers, donors, and professionals. Shirley Heinze nature preserves feature significant scenic and ecological value, and most are open to the public for hiking and enjoying nature. The organization protects, restores, and maintains examples of the entire spectrum of Northwest 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. Five of its properties – Cressmoor Prairie, Seidner Dune & Swale, John Merle Coulter Preserve, Barker Woods, and Ambler Flatwoods – have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as state nature preserves.

For more information on the work and nature preserves of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, visit www.heinzetrust.org, call (219) 242-8558, or access its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/heinzetrust.

Main image: Shirley Heinze Land Trust Executive Director Kris Krouse speaks at a press event about Lydick Bog.

Below, Evie Kirkwood, Director of St. Joseph County Indiana Parks, is interviewed by WNDU, South Bend.

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