Indiana Dunes Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk

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South Shore's bike service starts April 2

March 17, 2016 - Andrew Steele, The Times

PORTAGE — The South Shore commuter rail line's long awaited bikes-on-trains service is set to start April 2 and continue on weekends through the end of October.

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District General Manager Michael Noland discussed the service at Thursday's Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission meeting.

"For a long, long, long time bikes weren't allowed," Noland noted. "There was a lot of advocacy to make that a reality."

National Park Service to Hire Youth Workers for the Summer

March 2, 2016

INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has jobs for 12teenagers this summer. The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program is a work-learn-earn program for 15-18 year-olds. Deadline to apply is April 22, 2016.

Participants are paid $7.25 an hour for the 40-hour work week. The program runs from June 6 to August 13, 2016, and applicants should be prepared to work the entire length of the program. Youth jobs include working as part of a crew to do a variety of manual labor tasks, normally outdoors. The crews perform work such as staining, painting and caulking the exterior of park buildings and work as grounds maintenance (mowing grass, picking up trash, cleaning restrooms, etc.) and trails rehabilitation.

No experience is necessary. Participants will be selected by random draw from the pool of applications.

National lakeshore superintendent Paul Labovitz invited all interested teenagers to apply. “This is a great chance for local youths to become involved in their national park and earn some money,” said Labovitz. “It’s an opportunity for youths to work outside in the beauty of the national lakeshore and learn more about the area they live in.”

To be eligible participants must be U.S. citizens and 15 years old before June 6, 2016, but not turn 19 years old before August 13, 2016, the ending date of the program. The YCC application form is available through high school guidance offices or from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Office at 219-395-8585, extension 1772. The forms are also available on the national lakeshore website at: http://www.nps.gov/indu/parkmgmt/jobs.htm

It’s all about the Wildflowers at Indiana Dunes in May

May 15, 2015 - Kim Swift, Education Program Manager at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

We have all heard the adage, "April showers bring May flowers." That is especially true here at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. When I hike in May, I try to find three special plants-May Apples, Wild Lupine, and pink Lady's Slippers.

May Apple at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 

May Apples (Podophyllum peltatum) are part of the spring ephemeral wildflower parade that takes place in rich, clay soils along the Little Calumet River. Check out the Heron Rookery or Little Calumet River trails to see some of these white wildflowers blooming. From early April through May, you can catch different flowers each week. To learn more about early spring wildflowers, check out the short video clip we produced about spring ephemerals recently on our Facebook page here.

Birding Expert and TV Host James Currie to Appear at Indiana Dunes Birding Festival

April 24, 2015 - Brad Bumgardner, Indiana Dunes State Park and Bruce Rowe, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

James Currie, host of the popular TV series Nikon’s Birding Adventures on NBC Sports and Nat Geo Wild TV’s Aerial Assassins, will headline the inaugural Indiana Dunes Birding Festival set to take place May 7–10. The festival features more than 50 different activities including birding field trips, workshops, a live birds of prey talk, and special programs for children and beginning birders. Organized by the Indiana Audubon Society, the festival is hosted by both the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park.

Currie, born in South Africa, but who now lives in Florida, will present the festival’s keynote presentation on Saturday, May 9, at the Spa Banquet Center. The keynote includes dinner, as well as silent auction and vendor marketplace. His presentation, “Not Your Grandma’s Audubon,” looks at Currie’s experiences hosting and producing his birding television series. Mr. Currie worked for over a decade in Africa as a wildlife and birding tour guide before becoming the managing director of the Africa Foundation, a nonprofit working to protect rural lands across Africa. After moving to the U.S., he created his first TV series in 2009 on a regional network in Florida before taking it national in 2012.

To register for the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival Registration go online at: www.indunesbirdingfestival.com. Children’s rates are available. In addition to the festival website, more information can be obtained at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, located at 1215 N. State Road 49, just south of the intersection of 49 and US 20 in Porter, Indiana. Interested participants can also contact the information desk at 219-395-1882 or the State Park Nature Center at 219-926-1390. Visit the park’s on the web at www.nps.gov/indu or www.dnr.in.gov/parklake/2980.htm.

Dunes Learning Center summer camp open houses set for March 11 and April 11

Chesterton, IN – Dunes Learning Center invites families to explore its summer camp residential facilities within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at their upcoming open houses on Wednesday, March 11 from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, April 11 from 10 to 1 p.m. These free events offer parents and campers an opportunity to tour the campus, meet staff and ask questions about the upcoming summer camp season, June 22 through August 14.

This summer camp program provides children a chance to explore the diverse landscape of the national lakeshore and to participate in a variety of activities, including crafts, games, night hikes, ice cream socials, campfire sing-alongs and beach outings.

"There is more to a walk in the woods than meets the eye," said Erin Crofton, Education Director of Dunes Learning Center. “The experiences children have at camp help build confidence, resilience, skills and friendships that will benefit them for a lifetime.”

Overnight and day camps are available for ages six to seventeen. Camp sessions are supervised by first-aid and CPR trained staff. Residential campers overnight in climate-controlled cabins with indoor bathroom facilities.

Dunes Learning Center is located at 700 Howe Road in Chesterton, Indiana. For more information, attend an open house, call (219) 395-9555 or visit DunesLearningCenter.org.

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Dunes Learning Center (DLC) provides year-round curriculum and standards-based experiential environmental education programs for learners of all ages. DLC’s onsite and offsite programs inspire curiosity, scientific literacy, environmental stewardship and community involvement. Located within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the DLC campus occupies 63 acres of rolling woodland at the southern tip of Lake Michigan and is located less than an hour from Chicago. To learn more, visit DunesLearningCenter.org or follow us on Twitter @DunesLearning and on our Facebook fan page.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of the 407 units of the National Park Service, ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of beach, woods, marshes and prairie in the northwest corner of Indiana. More than 2 million visitors come to this national park each year. More information can be found at NPS.gov/INDU.