Saturday morning, staff members, volunteers, and surrounding community members gathered for an afternoon of fun at the Dunes Learning Center, an environmental education facility located in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Chesterton. This celebration was held in honor of National Get Outdoors Day to help people appreciate the beauty of Indiana’s hidden gem.
“Today’s event is designed to help introduce children to nature in some ways that they may not have been introduced to before,” said Dale Heinz, Senior Division Manager of Primary Operations at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor. “In some cases, there are kids that live along the lakefront and in nearby towns that have never seen the water or the forest and this is a great chance for them to do both.”
The Dunes Learning Center is a nonprofit dedicated to provide educational programs and events for the community. The center is able to continue their education and protection of the environment through sponsors such as ArcelorMittal. Employees and volunteers were hard at work as hundreds of participants took part in the event.
“My favorite part of the day is leading a hike where we teach the kids how to take care of the environment, handle certain invasive species, and even how to handle trash,” said Rachel Carlassare, Cabin Leader for the Dunes Learning Center. “What is so important about being present today is getting the chance to meet all of the families and kids new to the Dunes Learning Center and seeing some familiar faces as well.”
Michelle Krueger, Marketing Development Manager at the Dunes Learning Center, said, “There are over 30 staff members and 30 volunteers here today leading and teaching the children and their families all about hiking, cleanliness of the river, the summer camp programs, kayaking, and mammals in different ways.”
Plus, it’s a great way for families and kids to spend quality time together outside, instead of cooped up indoors, she said.
“This event is great and it is my son and I’s third year coming,” Jason Tyo said. “It’s especially important for the kids and families who do not live close by. We live close by so it is easy for us to come to the trails, but for a lot of people, this is their only chance to learn about the outdoors and see the river for the first time or go hiking on a trail.”
Come out to the Dunes Learning Center with friends and family for a fun and educational time. For more information about the Dunes Learning Center and the programs provided you can visit www.duneslearningcenter.org. For more information about ArcelorMittal, please visit www.usa.arcelormittal.com.