The DNPA has identified three initial projects it will support for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
1) Nature in My Neighborhood Backpacks
Purchased 500 backpacks for children who participated in the new Nature in My Neighborhood program at the Paul Douglas Center for Environmental Education. This program was designed for children who live in Gary and nearby communities. Children participated in a “nature play” area at the Douglas Center and then received a backpack to take home that included such items as a compass, magnifying glass, a bug box, bird identification card, and other items to help children explore nature at home and recognize their role in maintaining clean water and clean air in their neighborhood.
2) Distance Learning System Equipment
Purchase equipment to create a Distance Learning Program in the park. This will include video cameras, microphones, and a laptop computer. With this equipment, students in classrooms will be able to connect to park employees and scientists in the field in a live-interactive experience via Skype. Students will be able to see field projects underway, ask questions of the field scientist, and learn more about the natural world. Through this program, students will engage in classroom experiments that complement the work in the park they are observing. With limited budgets for field trips, this project will give students a chance to be connected with the park while in the classroom.
3) Historic District Signs
Purchase and installation of signs designating the Century of Progress Historic Homes District within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. These signs will create an attractive visual entrance to the recently restored houses in the East Unit of the national lakeshore. The remarkable work of four families and Indiana Landmarks who are restoring these properties for the National Park Service is coming to completion this year, and these signs will recognize this incredible achievement. These restorations are themselves an outstanding example of partnership with the National Park Service, and it is fitting for the Dunes National Park Association to help in this effort.