Shirley Heinze Land Trust announces that it has received a donation of 43 acres of land in Galena Township, north of Rolling Prairie, in LaPorte County. Arthur Schuck made the gift. He and his late wife Frances operated the Sun Acre Fruit Farm, an orchard that was in business for more than 50 years, on a portion of the donated land.
The property consists of 36 acres of mature deciduous forest habitat, including upland forest, mesic forest, open water habitat, seeps, and emergent marsh wetlands, along with 7 acres of former agricultural land. The land will be protected permanently to provide habitat for wildlife and plants, preserve its open and natural character, protect the water quality of its wetland features, and offer opportunities for education and scientific study.
The property will be known as Sun Acre Nature Preserve.
“We are very grateful to the Schuck family for entrusting us with this land that honors their heritage and their long history in LaPorte County,” says Heinze Trust Executive Director Kristopher Krouse. “The new preserve represents a valuable addition to our Moraine Forest Conservation Area, which protects local portions of the Valparaiso Moraine, a continuous band of mature forest, extending around the southern edge of Lake Michigan from southeast Wisconsin to southwest Michigan. It provides significant habitat for migratory and nesting bird species, such as warblers, that prefer large areas of continuous forest habitat.”
Since 1981, Shirley Heinze Land Trust has protected, restored and maintained northwestern Indiana’s rich and significant natural communities, including tallgrass prairie, high dune, oak savanna, boreal flatwoods, dune-and-swale, woodlands, marshes, swamps, ponds, fens, bogs, and riparian habitat. More than 2,500 acres in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joseph Counties have been preserved for the public’s benefit. Shirley Heinze nature preserves feature significant scenic and ecological value, and most are open to the public for hiking and enjoying nature. Six of its properties have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as state nature preserves. The organization also works to educate people of all ages to appreciate the importance of land conservation, and to experience the natural wonders of this unique region.