‘Friends’ lend a hand to people in sand
By Kitty Conley firstname.lastname@example.org April 23, 2013 12:10PM
Mayor David Uran joins the Geminus Head Start full-day classroom at the Holy Name location in Cedar Lake to read “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” in honor of the Week of the Young Child, observed April 15-21. Head Start is a federal program that provides preschool services. The Holy Name location services children from Crown Point, Cedar Lake, Lowell, Dyer and Schneider. | Photo provided
Updated: April 23, 2013 12:21PM
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of State Parks and Reservoirs has been celebrating this week as National Volunteer Week at state parks.
Our region’s state park is the Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton, sitting on the southern edge of Lake Michigan, the second largest of the Great Lakes, and the only one that is totally within the United States.
It is the responsibility of the Indiana Dunes State Park to care for its share of the base of this Great Lake. Helping the state park employees are the Friends of Indiana Dunes.
Zella Olson, chairperson of the Friends of Indiana Dunes said, “Our motto is ‘Enhancing the visitor experience today and tomorrow.’”
According to Olson, the Friends are individuals who care about, preserve and promote the Indiana Dunes. Through financial and volunteer support the Friends sponsor a variety of activities and events that enhance the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the Indiana Dunes.
This state park is surrounded on three sides by the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; the north side is Lake Michigan.
The Friends provide funds for the park’s outreach coordinator to conduct a series of three week-long day camps.
In 2012 the Friends became 30 years old. To celebrate they bought an all-terrain wheelchair and tow Honda ATVs for the park. They were awarded the Partnership of the Year Award from the state parks department.
Every year the Friends conduct a native plant sale in April. This is their primary source of income and also promotes the use of native plants in area yards.
“We need your help,” Olson said. “By becoming a Friend, your dues will help provide vital financial assistance. You can also help by choosing to work as a Friends volunteer.”
Find the Frinds of the Indiana Dunes on Facebook to provide support.
Jody Heaston, the volunteer coordinator for DNR State Parks and Reservoirs, suggests using its links to the Friends group at StateParks.IN.gov/2442.htm.
Heaston said, “When the individuals in the group put their passions for the outdoors together it equals amazing results for the visitors’ enjoyment of that property.”