College students help with bog restoration at National Lakeshore
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent June 12, 2012 3:02PM
Hailee Pavisich, of Lake Forest College, prepares to create a hole as Spencer Campbell, of Dominican University, readies a native Carex Scoperia for planting at Cowles Bog Tuesday June 12, 2012. Students from across the midwest helped reclaim parts of the bog lost to invasive species as part of a voluneer day at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore site. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 23, 2012 11:23AM
PORTER — A group of Midwestern college students found themselves deep in the national parks experience Tuesday — very deep.
Like knee-high-in-waders-in Cowles-Bog deep.
After a morning of speakers on advocacy for the Great Lakes national parks — including the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, where the program was held — the 30 or so students from Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin headed to the bog for a restoration project, planting native species after non-natives were removed.
This was the second year for the program, a partnership between the National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association, which has a Midwest regional office in Chicago.
The first half of the day, which included presentations by Costa Dillon, superintendent of the National Lakeshore, and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, focused on advocacy, policy and fundraising, “and how all that comes into play in the protection and enhancement of the national parks,” said Naureen Rana, Midwest program manager for the NPCA.
The National Lakeshore is the most accessible national park for much of the Midwest, she added.
Students from Illinois colleges, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Valparaiso University, Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College participated in the program.
The group included John Stewart, a Valparaiso University sophomore from LaGrange, Ill., and Nick Liu, an Indiana University Bloomington sophomore who lives in Valparaiso.
“I’ve always been interested in environmental stuff and helping the environment,” said Liu, a biochemistry major.
He was born in China and moved to the United States at age 6. Though his homeland is improving, China seems polluted and overpopulated compared to this country.
“America stresses it more, and I want to be involved,” he said.
Stewart, a biology major, conducts water quality tests at the Chain of Lakes on Valparaiso’s north side and at the Great Marsh in the national lakeshore for a research program at VU.
“I think it’s great to be outside, but it’s nice to have the insight and the impact that I’m having” in advocacy for the park, he said.