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Jessie Renslow


Blight Buster Day

7:00 am - 4:00 pm, October 14, 2015
Blight Buster Day

Crews will work together on the same block following a set route that helps ensures volunteers are fully utilized and the area is clean when done...goal accomplished.  Volunteers are requested to bring brooms, rakes and shovels; Blight Buster Coordinators will provide safety materials, bags and gloves.  Safety tips will be provided at registration. Blight Clean Up Individuals, Businesses, & Groups Supplies Needed:  Please bring brooms, rakes, shovels, and trimmers. City Provides:         Bags, gloves and safety materials, project location. This activity is great for youth and adults to get involved in.  It is easily scalable and tools and supplies are available through the Blight Buster Team.  Clean up can be combined with other alleys, streets, and vacant lot activities such as positioning of garbage cans/bags, raking of garbage, picking up of paper, bottles and cans, and piling of tires. Register Here

An Awesomely Active October

Thanks to the 17 volunteers and 108 community members who came out to the Miller Spotlight Jamboree on October 23, 2015.

[caption id="attachment_1204" align="alignnone" width="399"]#MillerSpotlightJamboree10 The community gave our Action Groups feedback on our SMAART Goals[/caption]
We had a ton of fun, braved the wind and the rain, plus got useful feedback on our attainable goals.
[caption id="attachment_1205" align="alignnone" width="200"]Community snow globes and the bounce house were hotspots Community snow globes and the bounce house were hotspots[/caption] #MillerSpotlightJamboree2
Gary’s Miller Spotlight is a Legacy Foundation initiative modeled after collective impact projects that have worked well on the south side of Chicago and in Indianapolis. Miller and Northwest Hobart are the first two Lake County communities to pilot the Neighborhood Spotlight program, which is a new place-based initiative for reinvesting in Da Region.
[caption id="attachment_1208" align="alignnone" width="400"]Our Area Context Chairman discusses Goals with one of our community's fathers Ned Colson. Our Area Context Chairman discusses Goals with one of our community's fathers Ned Colson.[/caption]
For the past nine months members of the volunteer run-Miller Spotlight project have gathered 4,013 comments about Gary’s very own Miller neighborhood from vested community members. These conversations have helped determine how we as a community plan to take action towards continuing to revitalize our neighborhood. By sourcing our information directly from the public we are hoping to identify which grants/ programs might best suit the needs of our community and all its residents. From our findings, seven themes emerged.
#MillerSpotlightJamboree3 [caption id="attachment_1210" align="alignnone" width="200"]Volunteers logged the community feedback & got more interviews for our SWOT study Volunteers logged the community feedback & got more interviews for our SWOT study[/caption]
Seven action groups were formed to address these themes:
1.Environment and Ecotourism
2.Safety/ Code Enforcement
3.Education/ Youth Child Programming
4.Property and Blight
5.Area Context
6.Jobs and the Economy
7.Transportation and Infrastructure
(Face painting and crafts added flare)
For the past two months, Miller Spotlight’s 76 action group volunteers have been constructing attainable goals for these seven themes.
(Kids and adults bonded while getting excited over the projects to come)
These goals will be crafted into our community plan. The notes received from the 108 participants at our Miller Spotlight Jamboree will be worked into our community plan, which will be presented at 2PM at Wirt-Emerson’s Auditorium and implemented in 2016.
(Thanks to Brown's Inflatables and Tia's Cake in a Cup for helping make the Jamboree awesome!!!)
The first of our 7 action groups to host an early action grant event is our Education/ Youth and Child Programming Action Group.
Come to the Miller Spotlight Harvest Festival and enjoy a ton of free, family friendly activities and meet your local educators/ youth and child programming organizations.
See what our community has to offer your family! If you would like to help decide and act upon projects that can profoundly change your community’s future, please attend the Miller Spotlight Harvest Festival this Friday (10/30/15) from 4-7PM on Lake St. (Yes we will have a Thriller Flash Mob too!!!)
Congrats to Griffith and Gary’s Emerson community for being the 2016 awardees of the Neighborhood Spotlight Initiative.
Gary’s Miller community volunteers look forward to future collaborations with our fellow Neighborhood Spotlight cohorts.
If you would like more information about Miller Spotlight, or to schedule an interview with Gary-Miller’s community builder, please email [email protected].

Green Gary Day

12:00 am - (All Day), April 23, 2016

Gary Parks Department, Green Urbanism and National Parks Services celebrate Earth Day by learning about and participating in a variety of environmental activities at your neighborhood national park. The event takes place at the Paul H Douglas Center for Environmental Education and Marquette Park in Gary and will include nature hikes, plant trees, environmental presentations, arts and crafts, and much more. Highlights include: • Hike with a ranger around Miller Woods and out to the beach for the more adventurous. • Talk to a wildland firefighter from the National Park Service fire crew. • Earn a Junior Ranger badge.

Green Drinks Gary - Creating a Calumet National Heritage Area

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, May 03, 2016

Come on out to Mama Pearl’s BBQ, located at 411 East 5th Avenue in Gary, Indiana, on May 3rd from 6 - 8pm for Green Drinks Gary and learn about the ongoing effort, led by the Calumet Heritage Partnership and The Field Museum, to create a Calumet National Heritage Area. National Heritage Areas shine a light on local heritage that is nationally important. In doing so they can attract tourism, new economic opportunities, and increase civic engagement. They are grass-roots initiatives that receive federal support, but need the support of locals to become a reality. Come learn more, and how you can get involved.   *From 6-6:30pm we encourage attendees to network with one another, order food, and get settled in. The guest speaker's presentation will begin at 6:30pm. Mama Pearl's does not serve alcohol however attendees are welcome to bring their own (byob).*   Presenter(s): Mario Longoni is an Urban Anthropology Manager in the Keller Science Action Center at The Field Museum. His work in the Calumet Region dates back to 2002 when he contributed to the Journey Through Calumet project (http://archive.fieldmuseum.org/calumet/), highlighting the Region's cultural assets. Subsequently he produced the Grab This Fish Tale comic book (https://www.fieldmuseum.org/sites/default/files/FishTale_web_0.pdf) to advise Calumet anglers on smart fish consumption. Like these previous projects, the Calumet National Heritage Area initiative aims to improve local quality of life by building on the existing strengths and resources of local communities and the wider region.   For additional information on this and future events please visit Green Drinks Gary’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/GreenDrinksGary, join our facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1682928161975070/, check out our website at http://www.greendrinks.org/IN/Gary, or send an email to [email protected].   See you May 3rd! Until then…STAY CALM and THINK GREEN.   Green Drinks Gary takes place every first Tuesday of the month. It is open to the public, free to attend and all ages are welcome!   Green Drinks Gary is organized and managed by Rachel Veronesi, Cathy Martin and Cassandra Cannon.

March Madness!

Gary’s Miller Spotlight’s first quarter of 2016 has been pretty epic so far. Our rockstar volunteers are implementing the community goals that they created from reviewing the opinions expressed in last year’s community surveys along with the facts surrounding these perceptions. 
To date, we have 43 partners that have agreed to help our community implement our 29 goals. (Check out our full length plan here, or you can also email [email protected] directly if you'd like a copy of the PDF.)
We are happy to announce that the ADA-Indiana Steering Committee selected our Miller Spotlight: Access Miller Beach (Transportation and Infrastructure) Action Group's proposal, “Access for All,” as one of the 2016 Coros ADA Community Grants. “Access for All” is a multimedia outreach series that will be created for Gary’s Miller neighborhood to educate residents, businesses, municipalities and service providers on the importance of inclusion of persons with visible and non visible disabilities within the community. This multi-platformed project will make it a priority to address the following areas: civic, cultural and recreational, physical environment, and transportation. Production on this series began in March. We will release the first installation of the series in May. It is our goal that people citywide will use these free materials to make Gary, Indiana as inclusive a community as possible. 
Additionally, our volunteers received the 2016 American Planning Award-IN Award for Excellence in Outreach. Our community builder, Jessie Renslow, accepted the award for us at the Spring Planning Conference at Ball State University. Congrats to all the volunteers that made our first year such a productive one! 
2016 Miller K Market survey is starting to reap results. Our local grocery store, Miller K Market, is family owned. They have started incorporating the constructive feedback they received from us on upgrades they can pursue this year.  Please check them out! 
They fixed the Miller K sign on Rt 12! 
Additionally, the Miller K Market has started carrying a wider array of produce and products, including organic. 
Thanks to those who took our Miller K Market survey and the MCC for partnering on this effort with Gary's Miller Spotlight. Our Jobs and Economy Action Group took general data from emails received from people living in the area and constructed an online survey that 200+ members of the community took. An additional 50+ took the paper version of the survey. The data was compiled and given to our local grocer. Jobs and the Economy is one of the 7 themes being addressed in our 29 community goals.
Our Jobs and the Economy Action Group had a nice turn out at our first financial workshop for our community. It's never too early or late to learn how to budget. A financially literate community is an empowered one. Thanks for hosting Miller Beach Arts & Creative District. A shout out to Horizon Bank for co-hosting and partnering on this goal with us. We are planning 3 more workshops sponsored by Horizon this year. Look for more info coming soon. 
Gary’s Miller Spotlight Safety and Code Enforcement Action Group has begun to facilitate general rapport programming at Park Shore Commons. Additionally, we have started implementing monthly community cleanups across this 242 unit apartment complex. We hope to replicate these initiatives at all our apartments (Lake Shore Dunes, Marquette, Ishiyama and Wood Lake Village), but are in the process of recruiting more volunteers and securing commitments for programming from the police. This programming is a great way to have fun, promote new leadership among our community and keep folks updated on our community goals as they progress. Hope to see you at Park Shore Commons in April! We will also host two major community-wide cleanups. One on County Line Rd and One on Lake St. on 5/7/16. (More info on these events listed below).
Gary's Miller Spotlight's Area Context Action Group is partnering with NPR's StoryCorps program to collect oral histories for the The Library of Congress. Our community was designated as one that serves a diverse population by StoryCorps. StoryCorps interviews celebrate the voices and milestones in communities and encourage meaningful interactions between our organizations and the people they serve. 
A huge thank you goes out to our two local partners, Marquette Park UMC and Temple Israel. StoryCorps-Chicago sent one of their production teams to our neighborhood to kickoff this project. We were the first community in Indiana for them to come on site to! We did the first 12 interviews (24 people) on March 19th and 20th. We will showcase these interviews at a fun engagement event this summer. We are looking to host 4 large sessions of interviews in the fall and are seeking more community partners to help with the process. We would love to get at least 100 people interviewed.
What is StoryCorps?
StoryCorps Mission Statement:
“StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.
We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.”
An intro to StoryCorps:
The Miller Beach Arts & Creative District and Openhill have created a community portal and calendar with user generated content that will help promote our neighborhood, city and region as a whole. It's called Dragonfly NWI
The inspiration for this portal and calendar came from a need seen within the community from these two entities. This was validated from our 2015 community survey, where it was stated as a desire by many folks interviewed. It was then incorporated into our community plan as one of our goals. 
Thanks MBACD and Openhill for taking on this major need for our community. They partnered with Gary's Miller Spotlight Area Context Action Group to host a tech literacy course for our local businesses and oragnizations. Go to http://www.dragonflynwi.com to check out the portal and stay tuned for more info! 
Local vender, Kidstuff Playsystems, has started building 11 ADA compatible bike racks that will be coming to Gary's Miller Community this May. 
Gary's Miller Spotlight Access Miller Beach (aka Transportation and Infrastructure) Action Group has worked hard to obtain the funds for this project and identify the best spots for these racks. If you're interested in helping install them Kidstuff will host a workshop in early June. Stay tuned for more one-off volunteer opportunities! 
Cycle Miller Beach is working with Gary's Miller Spotlight: Access Miller Beach and the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District sponsored, Miller Beach Farmer’s Market to start a build a bike program for the summer 2016. Artists are needed to individualize bicycles. We will also need help running the booth at the market this summer. Please contact Ken Parr via [email protected] for more info.
March is Disability Awareness Month. It was a very busy four weeks in our community. Gary’s Miller Spotlight's Access Miller Beach group partnered with Barrier Free Beach 2020 and our backbone organization Miller Beach Arts & Creative District to host the first annual Disability Awareness Month Art Contest.
This free event closed on 3/22/16. The 57 submissions were showcased at the MBACD from 3/23-3/28. All ages and skill levels were encouraged to enter. 
There were 5 categories:
1. pre k-3rd grade
2. 4-6th grade 3. 7-9th grade 4. 10-12th grade 5. Adult
We had many entries in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th categories. (Oddly none in the 3rd category.) So, the judges chose two from the 4th category instead. Announcing our winners:
1. pre k-3rd grade
-Yvonne Madx
 2. 4-6th grade
-Aniya Haypa
4. 10-12th grade-Arthur Lemme 
4. 10-12th grade- China Williams
5. Adult-Maryann Urbanczyk
Congrats! Our community builder will return the art work to all participants and handout the gift cards to the winners this week. Thanks for making this inaugural event a smash hit!
Is your website accessible? Could you be losing business and or members by accident? Come check out Gary's Miller Spotlight and Barrier Free Beach 2020's workshop this Thursday (4/14) from 1-4PM at the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District (540 S. Lake St. Gary, IN 46403). Janet Peters, Project Coordinator of Accessible Technology for the Great Lakes ADA Center will facilitate the workshop. Janet has worked to promote full and unrestricted participation in society for persons with disabilities through the promotion of technology that is accessible to all. Please pass along the word!
Members of our Environment and Ecotourism Action Group just wrote a NIPSCO environmental grant and an American Water grant with our community builder that would teach 15 local teens about the environment, complete 2 community clean ups, identify illegal dump sites, complete 2 service projects and install 10 signs. We will find out on 4/22/16 if we got any of these grants. 
Upcoming Events
Is your website accessible? Could you be losing business and or members by accident? Come check out Gary's Miller Spotlight and Barrier Free Beach 2020's workshop this Thursday (4/14) from 1-4PM at the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District. Janet Peters, Project Coordinator of Accessible Technology for the Great Lakes ADA Center will facilitate the workshop. Janet has worked to promote full and unrestricted participation in society for persons with disabilities through the promotion of technology that is accessible to all.
Monday, 4/18/16 
Education/ Child and Youth Programming Action Group Meeting at 6pm at Marquette Park United Methodist Church.
Saturday, 4/23/16
Green Gary Day Bike Ride meet at the Douglas Center at 1pm 
Tuesday, 4/26/16 
Park Shore Commons Bingo 3-5pm meet in the community room
860 N Wells St.
Gary, Indiana, 46403
Tuesday, 4/26/16 
Miller Spotlight Property Improvements Action Group Meeting 6 PM at Miller Pizza Co.
Saturday, 5/7/16 Community Cleanup 
(Starts at 11am for County Line & Lake St. More info soon!)
Saturday, 5/14/16 
Barrier Free Beach 2020 Training at Woodson Library and community assessment (We’re partnering with Great Lakes ADA.)
Saturday, 5/28 Starts at 11AM
Lake St. Beach Food Park Kickoff Help support local venders and showcase Lake Street Beach
Gary’s Miller Spotlight volunteers presented our community plan at Wirt-Emerson on Saturday 11/14/15. Check out our full length plan here, or you can also email [email protected] directly if you'd like a copy of the PDF. You don't have to live in Gary’s Miller Community you just have to care about our revitalization efforts to participate. We are a Legacy Foundation initiative. 

Springing Forward

Where did April go? How can it be May? There’s been so much awesome stuff going on within the community it’s making our heads’ spin.
Our 7 action groups are on their way to implementing our 29 community goals. We are actually ahead of schedule with completing our community plan! We have 45 community partners to date and are always looking for more. (If you're interested in joining our initiative please contact Jessie via [email protected].)
On April 20th our funding organization, Legacy Foundation, had us present our annual review to the Knight Foundation. We decided to make a 6 minute trailer of all that’s happened during Gary’s Miller Spotlight Initiative from Feb 2015- Feb 2016.
Our Review Video/ Checkin can also be viewed on our youtube channel or at this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKKUUVnltwE 
**Education/ Child Youth Programming
On April 20th our community builder, Jessie Renslow, and one of our awesome volunteer chairwomen, Derreka Rollins, were 1 of 6 pairs chosen as finalists to present an idea at the Knight’s Cities Challenge event at ArtHouse a Social Kitchen. The event was modeled after Shark Tank
They pitched the Jr. Block Club idea. $50,000 was at stake. The jury picked IUN and Blue1647 to receive the award. The Parks Department and City expressed some interest and possible partnerships to help get the Jr. Block Club started. Our Education/ Youth & Child Programming Action Group is going to research these options for summer 2017. 
This action group has also submitted an MCF grant for Harvest Fest 2016. 2015’s Harvest Fest was a roaring success with 200+ people attending and twenty three Gary 501c3s participating. It was a great showcase for area families to discover all Gary has to offer them. They look forward to an even bigger turnout this fall!! **Area Context On May 10th Miller Spotlight & the MBACD hosted an Acting Up Potluck. Folks brought dishes, or snacks. Eleven people attended this event. While we had fun and good food, we also discussed ideas for the Awesome Foundation's micro-grant initiative. Communities across Chicagoland hosted potlucks to brainstorm micro-grants that will help their neighborhoods on May 10th too.
The Awesome Foundation is a global community advancing the interest of awesome in the universe, $1000 at a time.Each fully autonomous chapter supports awesome projects through micro-grants, usually given out monthly. These micro-grants, $1000 or the local equivalent, come out of pockets of the chapter's "trustees" and are given on a no-strings-attached basis to people and groups working on awesome projects. We chose to submit a grant for reflector vests for local volunteer groups. The vests will say “Community Volunteer” on the back. These vests will serve 3 purposes:
1.Promote safety
2.Unite all of our volunteer groups in a visually identifiable manner
3. Advertise the spirit of volunteerism and engage/ educate our community on how to 
become  active/ all our volunteers do within our community
***Looks for our grant video very soon!
**Environment and Eco Tourism
This group is investigating/ pursuing how to get their Miller Attractions Map as an advertisement on the South Shore. 
They also helped us write 3 grants. We didn’t get the NIPSCO one but are waiting to hear about American Waters and the Environmental Justice grant. They are promoting our existing and upcoming ecotourism/ environmental activities and attractions via social media platforms, word of mouth and traditional media outlets.
**Access Miller (Transportation and Infrastructure)
On Thursday, 4/14/16 from 1-4pm Great Lakes ADA, Miller Spotlight and Barrier Free Beach hosted a website accessibility workshop at the MJGC. 
Janet Peters, Project Coordinator of Accessible Technology for the Great Lakes ADA Center facilitated the workshop. 21 people from a variety of Gary institutions/ organizations attended. Janet has worked to promote full and unrestricted participation in society for persons with disabilities through the promotion of technology that is accessible to all.
Canoe Launch Update: Our ADA canoe/ kayak launch will be installed soon! The ribbon cutting ceremony will be on 6/25/16 at the Annual Water Celebration. The launch is ordered. It costs $32,000 to buy and install. The permits have been garnered. Gary’s Miller Spotlight's Access Miller Action Group and Barrier Free Beach 2020 volunteers so far have gotten a Transform Lake County Grant for $25,000.00. 
We have several smaller grants out that we should hear about in the next 2-3 weeks. A generous local donor is willing to match up to $3,500 of the remaining $7,000 of funds needed to complete this project. Thanks to the generous 40 donors (38 online and 2 in person) we have raised a collective $3300. 
We just have $200 left to go until we meet our goal! Any additional funds raised or earned through the grants we've submitted will go towards adding visual and auditory amenities. Universal design is part of our community plan.This will help us complete our community plan for universal design and be a great tourist attraction. We will do the ribbon cutting at Gary’s Clean Water Celebration on 6/25/16. If you are feeling generous you can donate to our GoFundMe page
Video of our awesome sister community’s (Michigan City) launch. This is what ours will look like but we’re hoping to add LED lights, guide ropes and auditory amenities. 
***FUN FACT: This launch is getting done in record time and very affordably. Other Hoosier communities have spent upwards of $132,000 on purchasing and installing the exact same launch and it’s also taken several years to get completed in the past. We are getting it done in 7 months (start to finish) and for $32,000. 
How is this humanly possible?  Well, Marquette Park’s infrastructure is a huge bonus as barely any modifications had to occur to make this launch get installed. The community, partnering organizations and municipal entities have all decided to make accessible attractions a priority. So, the permitting process was relatively smooth. Go volunteers and teamwork! 
Access for All Series Update: We are in post production on one of our 5 videos, while also producing the the other 4. Our Access Miller (Transportation and Infrastructure) Action Group received $3,000 to produce this multi platform educational series on accessibility. We will release the videos and educational tools in August.
Access Miller Action Group and Barrier Free Beach 2020 went well. We trained by a representative from Great Lakes ADA Center and then conducted a neighborhood survey of our local hotspots to help them become more physically inclusive for all. 17 people attended this event. They completed the Marshall J. Gardner Center, Woodson Library, Miller Pizza Co., and got additional measurements for the lagoon. This was just the first of many surveys they will conduct for our community. We are hoping to make this a citywide initiative. 
**Property Improvements Committee
PIC has gotten grant funding to do 11 decorative board ups across Miller.
On Sunday, May 15, 2016, they completed a decorative board up at the blighted Lake St. Beach Cafe. 
The new coat of paint spruced up the place to help us get ready for our summer food truck park.
PIC is in the process of getting permission to board up Nobel School in September. The school board is very warm to the idea, they just have to go through the approval process. PIC is looking for a community partner to help install the upper level windows. They can cut and pain them, but need someone with a scaffold to help install them. Please email Jessie via [email protected] if you, or someone you know is interested. 
Here is a sketch of what the finished Nobel board up would look like.
Introducing Gary's Miller Spotlight's newest community partner, The Charter School of the Dunes. One of our community's 29 goals is to reduce vacant properties by 20 percent by 2018. Additionally, part of our community vision is to have eye-pleasing entrances. Well, the Charter School of the Dunes is helping us with both these items. 
They applied for and received an environmental grant to knock down the blighted gas station on US 20 and Old Hobart Road and to remove the gas tanks. This year they are keeping the space trimmed up and using it as an overflow parking lot while they run soil tests and plan how to best use the space. We look forward to future partnering opportunities with them.
**Safety and Code Enforcement 
On May 7, 2016 Miller Spotlight volunteers did a second wave cleanup with our later risers.
The Community Clean Up encompassed Park Shore Commons on County Line Rd. and Lake Street from the Douglas Center to Lake Street Beach. We hosted a community meal afterwards and leftovers were donated to The Ark Women’s Shelter. 
Safety and Code Enforcement has partnered with the MCC’s Shoreline Committee to help make our summer 2016 the best one yet! They will work hand in hand with the new beach manager once the new hire has been announced and confirmed. 
They are helping keep our beaches clean, our boat launch dug out and our level of professionalism of park employees a priority. 
Gary's Parks Department has started digging out the boat launch. Getting ready for Memorial Day Weekend. Yay summer is nigh! Come to our Saturday 5/28/16 Summer kickoff at Lake Street Beach in Gary's beautiful Miller community to see what all the buzz is about! 
**Jobs and the Economy!
This action group has been working with local venders like Miller K to help give constructive feedback and promote local venders, as well as prepping to host two workshops.
One of Gary's Miller Spotlight's 29 community goals is to have a food truck (ideally a food truck park) from Saturdays-Mondays at Lake St Beach from 9am-7pm this summer. 
Local burrito guru Mary Garcia has got all her permits set with the city and parks and she will be one of our go to food park folks for Lake Street Beach this summer. Congrats to the Garcia family for starting a local business!!! Please like the El Paso Del Norte page. https://m.facebook.com/tasteofelpasodelnorte/
If you or anyone you know is interested in having a cart/ truck in our Lake St. Food Park please email Jessie via [email protected]. Upcoming Miller Spotlight Events Tuesday, 5/24/16 Park Shore Commons Bingo 3-5pm meet in the community room Address: 860 N Wells St. Gary, Indiana, 46403 Thursday, 5/26/16 2:30pm! Our Jobs and Economy Action Group has partnered with Horizon Bank to give a financial literacy workshop for the students at Wirt-Emerson VPA. They will discuss budgeting, interest rates/ credit cards and the basics of student loans. Saturday, 5/28 Starts at 11AM- Sunset Lake St. Beach Food Park Kickoff Help support local venders and showcase Lake Street Beach. We will have a food truck and the boat launch will be dug out. We are trying to really promote activity at Lake St this summer. Thursday, 6/16/16 2:30pm Our Jobs and Economy Action Group has partnered with Horizon Bank to give a financial literacy workshop for the residents at Park Shore Commons. They will discuss budgeting, interest rates and credit cards. 
(Our community builder being interviewed by two of our community partners The Boys & Girls Club and The Gary Digital Storytelling Project. We are teaming up with these organizations to help complete our oral history project.)

Live Music at Sunset

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, June 01, 2016 - July 01, 2016

Come enjoy live music and a view that can't be beat! Bring your appetites too! Will Miller & The Jazz Gang, featuring Smooth on Guitar will be playing.

Live Music at Sunset

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm, July 08, 2016

Come enjoy live music and a view that can't be beat! Bring your appetites too! Vincent L. Abrams will be playing.

Mount Baldy Guided Hike

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm, September 02, 2016
Mount Baldy Guided Hike

*Must preregister to attend. While Mount Baldy remains closed to unrestricted public access, you can join a ranger for a special guided hike along a trail on the western edge of the dune that has been found to be free of holes. You must make a reservation for this program that is being held on Friday afternoons from 5:00 - 6:30 pm during the summer. Please check the dates to see which Friday Afternoons we are holding this program at this time slot. This program will begin at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center and you will follow the ranger to Mount Baldy no exceptions. You also must make a reservation by calling 219-395-1882 and you must speak to a ranger to make the reservation. The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center is located at 1215 N. State Road 49 just south of the intersection of 49 and U.S. 20 in Porter, Indiana. For more information about this program or other activities at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, contact the information desk at 219-395-1882 or check the park's website at www.nps.gov/indu.

Shirley Heinze Fall Bus Tour

8:00 am - 3:30 pm, October 22, 2016

Join us for an educational bus tour of several of our nature preserves across three counties on Saturday, October 22, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The bus will depart promptly at 8:00 a.m. from the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, located at 1215 N. State Road 49, Porter, Indiana. Riders will see Dune & Swale habitat, and the Hobart Marsh area in Lake County, the Meadowbrook Reforestation project in Porter County, and Ambler Flatwoods in LaPorte County, among others. Riders will depart the bus for short hikes at select locations. Staff, board members and guest speakers will provide insights on land conservation and the ecology, geology, and history of Northwest Indiana. Lunch will be provided. The cost to attend the tour is $35 per person, or $60 per couple. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (219) 242-8558. Reservations must be made no later than Monday, October 17, 2016. Seating is limited, so early reservations are advised. The bus is restroom equipped.

Apples, Apples, Apples Festival

11:00 am - 4:00 pm, September 17, 2016 - September 18, 2016

Celebrate autumn with an Apples Festival at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore's historic Chellberg Farm on Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18 from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Fun is the theme of the weekend interleaved with the celebration of the all American Apple. This new event is part of the national lakeshore's year-long, 50th Anniversary celebration. Admission and parking are free. Enjoy lots of fall seasonal activities such as tractor-pulled hayrides, a Kid's Corner with games and crafts, and even apple-chucking. Local musicians will provide continuous entertainment and the Northwest Indiana Storytellers will be spinning tales. Then help make cider using an apple press, learn how to cook apples for applesauce and apple butter, ferment apples into vinegar, make apple pomanders and discover dozens of other uses for apples. Free tasting of most of these products will be available. Or, purchase lunch or a snack from one of seven food vendors and make a day of it. Have you ever wondered why there are so many apple trees in Indiana? We can thank Indiana native, "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman for their abundance. During this festival, visitors can watch the classic Disney short on Johnny Appleseed and then help with the planting of 16 apple trees as we reestablish an orchard at Chellberg Farm. The farm even has resident chickens now thanks to festival partners Dunes Learning Center and the Friends of Indiana Dunes. For information on this event or other anniversary programs being offered this year at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, call 219-395-1882.

Nature Tots* - Douglas Center

12:00 am - 12:00 am, September 14, 2016

*Pre-registration required - Parents and toddlers are invited to participate in this monthly nature exploration program. Nature Tots, aged 2-5, will enjoy ranger-led story time, crafts and outdoor play. Parents will enjoy meeting other parents and learning fun ideas for bringing nature into their child’s life. This program is free, but pre-registration is required by calling 219-395-1821.

Early Detection Invasive Species Training for Paddlers and More

5:30 pm - 5:30 pm, September 29, 2016

Paddlers can play a key role in detecting and preventing both aquatic and terrestrial species invasions in the Lake Michigan Coastal area of Northwest Indiana. Come to the Sunset Paddle a little earlier than usual 5:00 – 5:30 pm. – to find out species we should be concerned about in Miller, how you can report them, and why they should be reported. You’ll also learn how to use the easy-to-use smartphone application for mapping and reporting invasive species offered by the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN). A smartphone is not required, however, as the data can also be entered into www.eddmaps.org/Indiana. To maximize your participation, you may want to create a profile for yourself on www.eddmaps.org/Indianaand download the free GLEDN application. This program will be led by Susan MiHalo, Conservation Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy and Chair of the Indiana Coastal Cooperative Weed Management Area. to reserve a kayak please contact Zully JF Alvarado

Volunteer Workday: Boardwalk Work & Seed Collecting

9:00 am - 12:00 pm, October 08, 2016

We need you! Shirley Heinze Land Trust is looking for volunteers to help us construct a new boardwalk addition and also collect seeds from the prairie at our Gordon & Faith Greiner Nature Preserve in Hobart. We are working to improve this site with additional trails, boardwalks, informational signs, and a new parking area. Seeds collected will be used in upcoming restoration projects. The site features a diverse landscape of restored prairie, wetlands, and sand savanna. There is a large boardwalk that allows visitors to cross the forested wetland between the prairie and woodland areas. Unusually high water levels have prevented visitors from reaching the boardwalk from the prairie. We would like to extend this boardwalk to prevent trail closures and habitat disturbance. Seed collection is a fun activity for all ages and is a good opportunity to learn about some of the native plants found in tallgrass prairies. Shirley Heinze Land Trust has several large restoration projects coming up that will require large amounts of native seed. Volunteers play a critical part in helping us harvest this seed - otherwise, purchasing seed can be very expensive. Collecting seeds from existing preserves also helps to ensure that the seeds used for restoration projects are from local genotypes and will be well suited to the habitat where they are planted. The workday will also include moving lumber out to the site and installing support boards and decking to extend the existing boardwalk. The conditions will likely be muddy ground and/or standing water (rubber boots recommended). Volunteers may use power tools such as drills and saws to help construct the new boardwalk. Staff will have all the necessary tools and equipment on hand, including extra gloves, safety goggles, and drinking water. We depend on volunteers to help us keep trails open, restore important habitat, and continue to protect these special places for the region's health and enjoyment. You are an essential part of our mission! Directions to site: From Ridge Rd. (East 37th Ave) in Hobart, travel south on Liverpool Road about .80 miles. The entrance is located on the west side of Liverpool Road. Please RSVP to our Stewardship Director, Eric Bird at [email protected] or by calling (219) 242-8558. We hope you can come out and lend a hand!

Arts and Nature in the Calumet Region and Nationwide

11:00 am - 3:00 pm, November 12, 2016

You’re invited to come to “Arts & Nature in the Calumet Region & Nationwide,” an event at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore that celebrates the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s 50th Anniversary and National Park Service’s Centennial. We convene at the Paul Douglas Center for Environmental Education on November 12th. This event includes: Soundwalk on the Miller Trail—Enjoy unique listening experiences at the Douglas Center and along the Miller Woods trail, and consider how soundscapes experienced here relate to wildlife conservation and our appreciation of northwest Indiana’s natural splendor. Stay afterwards, as we talk about the soundscapes experienced in Miller Woods. (11 a.m.-noon) Arts Making Activities Inspired by Nature, including leaf poem collage-making, mixed media artworks, and other activities. (ongoing, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.) Poetry Readings and Performances by youth and adults, including high school and college students from the Calumet Region, including Gary and Chicago. (1-3 p.m.) “Arts & Nature in the Calumet Region & Nationwide” is presented by the Borderbend Arts Collective, in partnership with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and other park partners. The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is located in the western portion of the national lakeshore at 100 North Lake Street, about one mile north of U.S. Highway 12 in the Miller section of Gary. For more information on this or other programs at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, call 219-395-1821 or check the park’s website at www.nps.gov/indu. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 413 units of the National Park System ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of beach, woods, marshes, and prairie in the northwest corner of Indiana. More than 2 million visitors come to this national park each year. Check our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/IndianaDunesNL.

Free Bus Tours at the National Lakeshore

9:00 am - 1:00 pm, November 13, 2016

*Free but reservation required by calling 219-395-1882. Join a ranger this fall or winter for a two-hour tour of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in one of the park's 16-passenger buses. This is a great way to see the park’s fall colors and winter landscapes without having to do a lot of walking. The tours meet at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, which is located at 1215 North State Road 49, about one mile north of Interstate 94, in Porter, Indiana. After a brief introduction, participants will board a bus for a two-hour tour, during which the ranger will share interesting facts about the national park and surrounding area. Upcoming tour dates and start times are November 13, 2016, 9:00 am and 1:00 pm, December 18, 2016, 9:00 am and 1:00 pm, and January 22, 2017, at 1:00 pm. *The tours are free, but reservations are required. Call 219-395-1882 to make reservations and to find out more information on this or other programs at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Also, please check out the park’s website at www.nps.gov/indu.

National Lakeshore Stewardship Day

9:00 am - 12:00 pm, November 19, 2016

Join staff and fellow volunteers on Saturday, November 19, 2016, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Dunes Learning Center for a morning of stewardship. We will continue to transform the old tennis courts into programming space for the Dunes Learning Center’s new raised garden beds. Activities will include cutting brush, removing soil, fixing gates, clearing trails, and more. Meet at the gravel parking lot across the street from the historic Camp Good Fellow Lodge. Dunes Learning Center is located in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at 700 Howe Road in Porter, Indiana between U.S. Highways 12 and 20 on the grounds of the historic Camp Good Fellow. For more information on this or other programs at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, call 219-395-1882 or check out the park’s website at www.nps.gov/indu.

Green Drinks Gary - SEED: The Untold Story - A film

6:00 pm - 9:00 pm, January 03, 2017

In partnership with Gathr Films, Green Drinks Gary is bringing the new award-winning film, SEED: The Untold Story, to the AMC Hobart 12 movie theater in northwest Indiana. SEED is an eye-opening award winning documentary about the dramatic loss of seed diversity and the movement to restore the future of our food, from the creators of The Real Dirt on Farmer John& Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? SEED features Vandana Shiva, Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbrell, and Winona LaDuke. Synopsis: Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds. Worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. SEED: The Untold Story follows passionate seed keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a David and Goliath battle to defend the future of our food. In a harrowing and heartening story, these heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds.Recent winner of the GREEN PLANET AWARD at Rhode Island International Film Festival, the Discovery Channel ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD at Sheffield Doc/Fest in England, GRAND JURY PRIZE at the Nashville Film Festival, and BEST IN FESTIVAL at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, and in BEST OF FESTS section in IDFA in Amsterdam. SEED: The Untold Story is Executive Produced by Marisa Tomei, Marc Turtletaub (Little Miss Sunshine), and Phil Fairclough (Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams). Tickets for this film are not and will not be available for purchase at the AMC Hobart 12; you can only purchase tickets for this film online at http://gathr.us/screening/17960. We MUST have at least 60 tickets reserved by December 19th or the showing will be cancelled. So please reserve your tickets ASAP! Your credit card will only be charged once the screening has met the minimum number of reservations. View SEED: The Untold Story trailer at https://vimeo.com/97882647 For additional information on future events please visit Green Drinks Gary’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GreenDrinksGary, join our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/1682928161975070..., and/or check out our website at www.greendrinks.org/IN/Gary. See you January 3rd at AMC Hobart 12! Until then... STAY CALM and THINK GREEN. Green Drinks Gary takes place every first Tuesday of the month and is open to the public! Green Drinks Gary is organized and managed by Rachel Veronesi.

Indiana Dunes State Park: 9th Annual Christmas Eve Morning Stroll!

10:00 am - 12:00 pm, December 24, 2016

You say you have your shopping done? Great, join us for our traditional Christmas Eve stroll through the dune forests. We’ll explore the winter life and beauty of the dunes on this 1 hour walk starting at the Nature Center, culminating with a warm fire and hot cocoa at the nature center! Come out and start a new family tradition with us!

Volunteers needed! Come bust some blight in our town this Saturday!


Todd McMeen’s Activity Post


Birding with Ken Brock


Dragonfly NWI’s Activity Post


Dragonfly NWI’s Activity Post



Live Music at Sunset


Todd McMeen’s Activity Post


Todd McMeen’s Activity Post


Indiana Dunes State Park: 9th Annual Christmas Eve Morning Stroll!

Curated Activities


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