The Valparaiso Public Library was recently recognized for their Native Planting Project during the Shirley Heinze Land Trust Partnership Luncheon.
The Parking Lot Bioswale Project represents a nearly four-thousand square foot area around the parking lot that was planted with native plants, shrubs, and trees that not only provide scenery, but help reduce the runoff of rainwater and melting snow from the parking lot.
Phyllis Nelson, the Library’s Assistant Director, is also a Master Gardener, and conducts maintenance oversight of the bioswale. In the application Phyllis stated, “The Library is pleased to be a part of making downtown Valparaiso a green and welcoming place to all visitors, both human and animal. There have been many sighting of birds, butterflies (including a chrysalis), snakes, rabbits, and even a fox! We seek to be a bridge between the urban and natural world.” Partners in the design and installation of the project included the Troyer Group of Mishawaka, and Cardno Native Plant Nursery of Walkerton. More information about the Bringing Nature Home Program may be found at http://www.heinzetrust.org/bringingnaturehome.html.
During the luncheon, Board President Kelly Carmichael acknowledged the recent passing of environmentalist Lee Botts, a founding member of the organization’s Advisory Council and known for her efforts to protect of Lake Michigan and the environment in Northwest Indiana.
Additionally, Stewardship Director Eric Bird talked about the “Bringing Nature Home” program, which seeks to encourage home gardeners and landscapers to use environmentally sound practices in their gardens and plantings. These practices include using plants and trees that are native to this region, and avoiding the use of invasive plant species that can spread into neighboring natural habitats and choke out the plants and trees growing there.
Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s Executive Director Kristopher Krouse provided an overview of the land conservation mission and work of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, highlighting three sites: Lydick Bog Nature Preserve in St. Joseph County, Meadowbrook Nature Preserve and Conservation Center in Valparaiso, and preserves along the East Branch of the Little Calumet River. Krouse concluded the presentation by showing a brief video about the organization which was produced as part of a 2018 National Excellence Award from the Land Trust Alliance. To watch the video, visit http://www.heinzetrust.org/video.html
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.