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Indoor, outdoor fun at winter fest

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At a glance

◆ Winter Wonderland at Wolf Lake festival. Free.

◆ From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. Morning activities at Environmental Education Center, 2405 Calumet Ave., Hammond. Afternoon activities start at 12:45 p.m. at Southeast Sportsmen’s Club, 13139 S. Avenue M, Chicago.

◆ For more information or to make advance arrangements for a shuttle pickup from the train station, call 933-7149.

Updated: February 19, 2013 1:53PM



There are some people out there who are hoping for cold, snowy weather. One of them, Michael Boos, has good reason.

As executive director of the Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative, he hopes the conditions will be right for visitors to try ice skating, cross-country skiing and even ice boating at the free Winter Wonderland at Wolf Lake festival Saturday, Jan. 19.

Regardless of the weather, activities are planned indoors and out, including presentations on area biology studies and history, nature and art hikes, opportunities to meet local authors and to see the work of an area videographer.

The event begins at 9 a.m. with the welcome and recognition of event poster contest winners on the Indiana side of Wolf Lake at the Environmental Education Center, 2405 Calumet Ave. in Hammond.

Next, if the weather is right, there will be opportunities to experience cross-country skiing, ice boating, to go ice skating (for those with their own skates), or to go on a hike.

“Something new we’re dong this year is the Hike for Art’s Sake. This will led by a student of Calumet College (of St. Joseph), going from the Environmental Center to see an art exhibit at the Bernard Gallery at the college. This will also be the inaugural event for a new part of the (bike/hike) trail that goes along George Lake and connects with Calumet College,” Boos said.

Concurrent indoor possibilities begin with the opportunity to see exhibits about the ecology of Wolf Lake, the work of event speakers, and to learn about the facility’s indoor refrigerated trout stream. Then, a wide range of presentations will be offered.

“For the past 40 years, Les Marszalek has studied Native American sites, mostly in the suburbs of Chicago but also in Northwest Indiana. He’ll give a presentation on his work (at 10 a.m.), then we’ll have videographer, Kevin Murphy. He’s documented many events at Wolf Lake and in the Calumet Region over the last 10 years, and will talk about that.

“Next, Young Choi from Purdue Calumet will talk about work he’s done monitoring wildlife, especially the plants and invertebrates at the lake. He had done a study about 10 years ago before the restoration of the shoreline. The comparison should show the effect of the restoration on the wildlife there,” explained Boos. “And then, Alan Resetar of the Field Museum has been doing research in this area since the 1970s and will speak about the reptiles and amphibians at Wolf Lake.”

At noon the program breaks for lunch and for a change of venue.

The afternoon sessions will be held on the Illinois side of the lake, at the Southeast Sportsmen’s Club, 13139 Avenue M in Chicago, beginning at 12:45 p.m. with skating and hockey for those who brought skates, weather permitting, and a later opportunity for an ice-safety class and activity. The exhibits on Wolf Lake and the work of the speakers will be on display.

“New this year will be the author’s corner featuring local writers, including Kevin Murphy who writes mystery novels, Cynthia Ogorek with books on the South Shore Railroad and Highway 30, Dave Dabertin with his walking tour of Whiting and Hammond, and photojournalist, Rod Sellers. He’ll also lead a session at the end of the day on memories of Wolf Lake for anyone who would like to share their stories.

“We’ll have a discussion (beginning at 1:15 p.m.) on the Underground Railroad in the area. Scholars have found that slaves, who were often bound for Detroit, went from Riverdale along the Michigan City Road into Hammond,” Boos said.

If you’re like me, a highlight of driving past Wolf Lake is a chance to see swans. Avid local birder, Walter Marcisz, will lead a birding tour beginning at 2:30 p.m.

The event ends with pizza by a bonfire.



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