Volunteer Follows Conservation Ethic to Indiana Dunes
Porter, Indiana – The Great Outdoors has always been appealing for a variety of reasons. But more and more young people are heading to places like Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore because they want to give back to the environment while exploring possible careers in conservation.
Lindsay Raab, an intern with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), recently arrived as a volunteer from Apple Valley, Minnesota to work as an environmental educator at the National Lakeshore. Raab spends most of her time with the park’s division of interpretation conducting education programs for local school children. She also works one day a week with resource management staff helping to restore and maintain the natural resources of the park.
Raab hopes that this valuable experience will bring her a step closer to working as a park ranger in a national park. Conservation of the environment and spending time with children have always been important in her life. "The enthusiasm and excitement the kids have is contagious. The students usually arrive at the school programs raring to go and ready to learn. Their energy and willingness to learn makes all the hard work worth it," Raab stated.
Staff at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore work with SCA interns throughout the year and have benefited from their services for over 20 years in areas such as environmental education, wetlands restoration, and invasive species control. SCA interns learn a conservation ethic through their hands-on service, and it benefits both the land and the individual. The experience leads many of them to become lifelong stewards of the land and 60% of SCA interns go on to successful careers in many areas of conservation.
The Student Conservation Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging young people to help conserve the nation’s natural and cultural resources. The organization places nearly 3,000 high school, college, and graduate students in the field each year and they provide more than 1.5 million hours of volunteer service in national parks, forests, and other public lands.
For more information about the National Lakeshore, contact education manager Kim Swift at 219-926-7561, ext. 245. For information about the SCA, contact Kevin Hamilton at 603-543-1700, extension 185, or visit their website at www.theSCA.org
Did You Know?
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has more than 1,135 native plant species distributed over six plant communities. Among all the national parks in the United States, it ranks seventh in plant diversity. This is an amazing feat for 15,000+ acres.