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Dunes Action! honored as ‘Frontline Advocate of the Year’

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on December 06, 2017 with No Comments

The grassroots, all-volunteer, non-partisan Dunes Action! has been awarded Frontline Advocate of the Year by the Hoosier Environmental Council.

Dunes Action! is a Northwest Indiana organization dedicated to the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of the Indiana Dunes. The group was formed in February 2015, after residents were alarmed to discover the Indiana Department of Natural Resources had signed a lease with a private developer to construct a large conference/banquet center adjacent to a historic pavilion at the Indiana Dunes State Park, effectively commercializing the park.

Residents, who were further alarmed by the lack of transparency and public participation regarding the plans, ultimately established Dunes Action! to raise awareness, hold IDNR accountable to public disclosure rules, and to compel the agency and developers to follow all applicable laws and regulations.

Dunes Action! was given the award recently in Danville at the Hoosier Environmental Council’s 10th annual “Greening the Statehouse” forum, which is Indiana’s largest annual gathering of environmental-minded citizens.

Jim Sweeney, co-founder of Dunes Action!, said, “We’re very pleased to receive this award from the council. In spite of many hurdles, we’re continuing our efforts to stop commercialization at the state park and to advocate for transparency and community input. Many thanks to the Hoosier Environmental Council for recognizing our work.”

“Dunes Action has done so much to protect our cherished Indiana Dunes State Park situated along the shores of Lake Michigan including the historic Dunes Pavilion from irresponsible and damaging development. HEC is honored to recognize Dunes Action with this award,” said Kim Ferraro, senior staff attorney and agriculture policy director for HEC.

The HEC Annual Awards is an ongoing part of Greening the Statehouse (GTS), Indiana’s largest annual gathering of environmental-minded Hoosiers, an event that is in its 10th year. GTS 2017 featured panel discussions on grassroots organizing in urban, suburban, and rural communities; engaging environmental-minded Hoosiers across the political spectrum; and influencing local government decisions.

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