Volunteers' Favorites

Ian ClarkIan Clark

Volunteer, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 

I am 17 and currently a junior at Munster High School. I enjoy volunteering at the Dunes Lakeshore because of two things: 1) I have an interest in the natural sciences and 2) I love giving back to the community. When I grow up, I hope to pursue a career where I can use my interest in the natural sciences such as being a park ranger, science teacher or geologist amongst other things. Giving back to the community is a reflection of my appreciation of the world around me, which has sustained me and encouraged my growth. My volunteering activities allow me to reciprocate the same by encouraging and sustaining growth and conservation in the environment.

Volunteer Work:  

As a volunteer, I have worked with Ranger Ted Winterfield on clearing invasive species from the forests along the trails on Stewardship Days, which occurs every 3rd Saturday of the month. We cut the plant stalks just above ground level, and the Rangers spray an herbicide into the opening to kill the roots. It is difficult work, but nothing beats the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment you get when you turn out to help. 

Favorite Place:

My favorite place in the park would have to be the Heron Rookery. The Rookery is inland and separated from the rest of the park, and the remoteness allows the sounds of nature to be undisturbed by humans. I love the isolation, as it gives me a sense of being home in nature by myself.

Volunteering in a place I call home is special to me, and I hope to continue my volunteer work with the Dunes Lakeshore.

Calvin-Barnett-3Calvin Barnett

Park Steward Intern, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 

I am 19 and just graduated high school. I will be attending Purdue University this fall, where I will be studying Environmental Science. I am a Park Steward Intern at the Douglas Center in Miller, IN. I have had a great time this summer helping with the interpretive rangers, resource management, park protection, and the Dunes Learning Center. My favorite place to be in the park is West Beach, because there is so much to do there, but my favorite trail in the park, is the Bailly /Chellburg Trail. There is something eerie about treading on the the same ground as the Native Americans did hundreds of years ago. There is so much history and culture on that trail, and I love exploring the woods around the Bailly Homestead and Chellburg Farm. One of the funnest things I have done this summer, actually there are two that beat out the rest, and they are flint knapping with Ranger Shane Griffin, and helping with the Mighty Acorns camp at the DLC.

Melissa-KohnerMelissa Kohner

Summer Intern, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 

I am a senior pre-med student at Valparaiso University, and I am from Red Wing, Minnesota. I wanted to volunteer at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore because a national park seemed like a fun place to spend my summer. My favorite trail is Little Calumet Trail because it goes through prairie, woods and marsh, so you see a lot of different species on just one hike. I want the Healthy Parks Healthy People program to grow in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and I plan on starting VU Pre-med Club hikes to help promote the program. My favorite part about volunteering is going on hikes and taking pictures of the beautiful park.