Shirley Heinze Land Trust 10th Annual Summer Benefit

By: Shirley Heinze Land Trust Last Updated: June 18, 2013

On Saturday, June 8th, Shirley Heinze Land Trust welcomed 330 friends and supporters at Sand Creek Country Club for their 10th Annual Summer benefit. This year’s benefit celebrated four of Indiana’s Natural Gems: Ambler Flatwoods, Ivanhoe South, Little Calumet Wetlands, and Meadowbrook. The evening included a champagne greeting, elegant food and hors d’oeuvre stations, a live and silent auction, and a Funding the Cause Paddle Auction. The seating was an open arrangement to promote networking and socializing.

This year’s benefit generated over $100,000 to further advance the mission of preserving and restoring natural areas in Northwest Indiana. Kris Krouse, Executive Director of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, proclaimed the evening a wonderful success, “We are extremely thankful to each of our corporate and individual sponsors, along with all our friends and supporters who helped us raise the funds to continue our mission not just within these four natural gems, but throughout Northwest Indiana.”

This year’s Corporate Sponsors included NIPSCO, BP Products North America, Phantom Technologies, ArcelorMittal, Horizon Trust and Investment Management, MonoSol LLC, Burke Costanza & Carberry LLC, Lakeside Wealth Management, and Rowley Bushue and Company LLC.

Guests were welcomed by cellist Josh DeVries and glasses of champagne. There were elaborate native plant displays and hors d’oeuvre stations including fine cheeses and cured salmon. The food stations were attentively attended to by chefs where guests could get freshly made pastas and carved meats.

The Spring Benefit’s silent auction offered plenty of amazing items to bid on through the evening including an Everglades of the North Kayak Trip donated by Northwest Indiana Paddling Association, a week stay on Elk Lake, Northern Michigan donated by Carol and Lance Alberti, and a three night San Diego Stay donated by San Diego Tourism Authority.

Before the Live Auction began Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s Board President, Margaret Williford, spoke on behalf of the organization welcoming, thanking and recognizing generous supporters. The live auction comprised of five unique and exciting packages including an Austin City Unlimited Weekend in Austin, Texas; a Live, Eat, Hike in a Hoosier State Park located at Indiana’s Turkey Run State Park; a Mystery Dinner on the shores of Lake Michigan in which guests will be served by Executive Director Kris Krouse and his Wife, Heidi Krouse; a Duneland Countryside tour in a 1929 Packard; and a Five Day Escape to Sleeping Bear Dunes in Northern Michigan.

After the live auction, Kris Krouse presented the evening’s program highlighting Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s land acquisition program and recent additions to Ivanhoe South Nature Preserve in Gary, Meadowbrook Nature Preserve in Valparaiso, the Little Calumet Wetlands Project Area in Chesterton, and Ambler Flatwoods Nature Preserve in Michigan City. Guests responded by raising their paddles for the Funding the Cause Paddle Auction that immediately followed, resulting in a total of $38,000 being raised specifically for the land acquisition program.

The annual benefit is a celebration of the accomplishments of Shirley Heinze Land Trust and serves as a key source of support for fulfilling the organization’s mission. Since 1981, Shirley Heinze Land Trust has protected and preserved more than 1,300 acres in Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties. They restore and manage the land they own, and educate children and adults about the value of natural areas in Northwest Indiana.

Get involved in some upcoming events:

The next volunteer workday is Saturday July 13 from 10am – 3pm at Ambler Flatwoods in Michigan City. A free Community Hike at the Meadowbrook Conservation Center and Preserve is Saturday, July 20 from 10am – Noon. Their 2013 Hike Program includes a Dragonfly Hike on Saturday, July 27 from 9am to 12pm, Hoosier Prairie Hike on Saturday, August 10, 2013 from 9am to 12pm, a Bird Migration Workshop on Saturday, August 17 from 10am to 12pm, and an All Day Bus Tour on Saturday, August 24. If you participate in all of the 2013 Hike Program events, the cost is $80 per person otherwise it’s $25 - $35 per person per event. To learn more about its properties and volunteer opportunities, visit, like them on Facebook, call (219) 242-8558, or e-mail