A $10,000 donation from 1st Source Bank to the Lydick Bog Nature Preserve Project will enable Shirley Heinze Land Trust to meet a $25,000 challenge grant awarded by the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County. All funds will be used to develop public access amenities at the preserve, which protects one of the last remaining bog habitats in Indiana. A master plan for the nature preserve calls for the construction of a parking lot, trails, signage, a maintenance garage, and a boardwalk, at least some of which should be completed next year.
About 70 people attended a recent open house at Lydick Bog. Kristopher Krouse, Executive Director of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, welcomed guests and provided updates on the project. During the program, Matt Vessely, Regional President of 1st Source Bank, presented the donation to Pete Morgan, Director of Foundation Relations for the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County.
“1st Source Bank is pleased to support Shirley Heinze Land Trust with funding that will help them bring their remarkable vision for the Lydick Bog Nature Preserve to life,” said Vessely. “Their work to protect, preserve, and bring public access to a unique natural area enhances the quality of life in our community by giving our current and future residents a great place to learn about, appreciate, and enjoy nature.”
“We are very grateful for this support from such a strong community partner,” Krouse said. “Their high level of commitment to initiatives such as the protection of Lydick Bog Nature Preserve is invaluable and sets the stage for Shirley Heinze Land Trust to fully advance our mission in the South Bend community.”
“We are pleased to be a part of this,” Morgan added. “The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County awards matching funds through our Special Projects Grants for exactly this reason. An organization like Shirley Heinze, doing excellent work, can make everyone’s charitable efforts multiply.”
Attendees toured sections of the preserve via guided hikes. The 178-acre nature preserve located west of South Bend on U. S. 20, is not yet open to the public. It contains wetlands, forested areas, and approximately 12 acres of rare bog habitat. Shirley Heinze intends to manage the property as a natural area, undertake restoration work to enhance its environmental value, work to protect more of the bog and surrounding habitat and, with the proposed public access improvements, make it available as a community resource for educational and recreational activities.
Other partners in the protection of Lydick Bog Nature Preserve are the Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, The Conservation Fund, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, NIPSCO, the South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society, the Stanley A. and Flora P. Clark Memorial Community Trust Foundation, and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. This 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.
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. Five 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.
To learn more about Shirley Heinze Land Trust and how to become involved, visit the website at www.heinzetrust.org or call (219) 242-8558.