Discover Nature at Nature Palooza- Free family-friendly, annual picnic in a wooded lakeshore venue

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured

Published on June 20, 2018 with No Comments

by Annette Hansen,

Executive Director of PCC-IWLA

There is always something new to discover or try at Naturepalooza! On Saturday, June 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the 19th Annual Naturepalooza will be held at Rogers Lakewood Park, 3210 N. Campbell, Valparaiso. This free family-friendly, annual picnic in a wooded lakeshore venue will include exhibits by local environmental groups, nature hikes and talks, canoeing, food, archery, live animals and comradery with others who want to protect Valparaiso’s lakes and surrounding watershed.  The public is invited to be the guests of Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, Valpo Chain of Lakes Watershed Group, Woodland Savanna Land Conservancy, and the Woodville Foundation.

Milkweed plant plug vouchers will be available for visitors who sign-in at the welcome table (receive plants upon departure). Thrivent Financial, Woodland Savanna Land Conservancy Group and Sierra Club provide these native milkweeds and they can be planted at home to provide widespread habitat for migrating monarch butterflies.  And, the first 40 children will receive a re-useable silicone straw to help teach options from single-use plastics (donated by Discovery Trackers 4-H Club) and IWLA Porter County Chapter will build birdhouses with the first 30 families. Door prizes and raffles will be awarded throughout the day.

Speakers include Andie Jahnz-Davis of Yacht Brite on her company’s determination to keep micro-plastics out of Lake Michigan, “Turtles Against Plastic”, a group spreading awareness about how plastics are affecting our waters and aquatic life, a Shirley Heinze Landtrust representative will speak on their current projects, and Sierra Club will talk about the importance of using regional species from native nurseries, as opposed to hybrids or cultivars, and plants from big box stores that may have been treated with pesticides. All may be heard in the picnic shelter at the beginning of the day. The surrounding grove is the site of many other activities and displays for families and guests to explore, ask questions and get information on how they can help with conservation in NW Indiana.

Exhibitors are Valparaiso Lakes Area Conservancy District with a Rain Barrel and sapling giveaways, Discovery Trackers 4-H Club, Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Humane Indiana Wildlife, Turtles Against Plastic, Sierra Club, Dunes Learning Center, Yacht Brite, Porter County 4-H Beekeepers, Gabis Arboretum (previously Taltree), Macroinvertebrates with Jim Sweeney, Shirley Heinze Land Trust and more!

Other favorite, staple activities like the Children’s Corner by Susan Swarner, educator of the Westchester History Museum, Canoeing by NWI Paddlers Assoc.  Archery by MAC Wagon and a guided hike on Native Plants by Bonnie Swarner will all be available.

Folks interested in assisting in pulling invasive in Rogers Lakewood may meet at the park’s entrance by 8:45 a.m. to work with Bonnie Swarner.  She will be paying a $25/person stipend for all participants. Email Swarner for more details: bdswarner@hotmail.com.

A potluck picnic lunch will be shared and guests are asked to ‘bring a dish’ to pass. Meat and drinks will be provided. Bring your lawn chair and don’t miss this opportunity to get outside, enjoy the day and have an adventure!  Visit us on facebook.com/naturepalooza for all other details.

Mention this article to receive free park admission.


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