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Enjoy a fun-filled day in the dunes while learning about the city of Gary’s national park site and other green spaces. On April 25, from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will host the seventh annual Green Gary celebration to showcase of the natural beauty of Gary. Coinciding with Earth Day and promoted as a Pre-BioBlitz event, this event features free family-oriented activities presented by the Chicago Field Museum, Gary Parks & Recreation Department, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, The Dunes Learning Center, and the Gary Community Partnership.
At the Douglas Center, visitors and residents are invited to see and touch live insects, learn about and look for reptiles and amphibians in Miller Woods, and soothe their souls while saving the planet by planting native flowers and plants.
The special feature of this year’s Green Gary event will be the live Raptor demonstration by Zach Walker of Hardy Lake State Park in Scott County Indiana. The first demonstration will be at 11:45 a.m. with a second show at 1:30 p.m.; both demonstrations will take place at the Paul H. Douglas Center. Birders will enjoy a guided bird hike beginning at 12:45 p.m. and repeating at 2:30 p.m. If you are into hiking and exploring you can join the staff of the Dunes Learning Center on a wild trek through three different habitats within Miller Woods. You’ll have the opportunity to see beaver in the wild, climb giant sand dunes and fly a kite on the beaches of Lake Michigan. A free shuttle service will be available to visitors to take them back to the Douglas Center. Other activities for families to enjoy throughout the day include:
Meeting Smokey Bear with a wildland firefighting demonstration.
Exploring a tent full of activity booths hosted by local nature and civic organizations.
Becoming a Junior Ranger.
Hiking the beach or Miller Woods trail in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Birding Arts & Craft activities.
In addition to having a good time, there is a chance to learn more about future Green Gary activities and the organizations that sponsor them. Since Gary includes a major portion of a national park, 57 city parks, two county parks, several nature preserves belonging to land trusts, and a host of other green spaces, there is no shortage of places or activities to enjoy. Free maps of Gary’s green spaces and activity lists will be available during this event.
The Community Partnership presenting this Green Gary celebration is an informal coalition of over 20 private and public groups. The partnership provides a forum that helps northwest Indiana communities and the National Park Service work together to heighten awareness and develop appreciation of surrounding natural areas.
For more information or a free brochure on Green Gary, contact Christine Gooden of the Gary Parks Department at 219-886-7099 or Kip Walton of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at 219-395-1858.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 391 units of the National Park System ranging form 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 inn the northwest corner of Indiana. More than 2 million visitors come to this national park each year.