[Indiana] dunes are to the Midwest what the Grand Canyon is to Arizona and the Yosemite to California.  They constitute a signature of time and eternity; once lost, the loss would be irrevocable. -Carl Sandburg

About the Guide

This guide aims to provide you with the tools to help protect the landscape of the nearshore dune communities.  As a resident of the Indiana Dunes community, you have the ability to help protect the dunes at the most local level - your own yard.

The dunes landscape represents at least four major successive stages of Lake Michigan shorelines.  The landscape tapestry includes 15,000 acres of open beaches, grass and forest-covered dunes, oak savannas, swamps, bogs, marshes, prairies, rivers and forests.  Its intricate biology is globally unique.  It is one of the only places where examples of every type of natural community in the Chicagoland region can be found.  

Over the next millennia, the dunes will face a variety of challenges.  Some of the major challenges include climate change, invasive plants, shoreline erosion, water quality, and urbanization. 

On this website, you will find resources to help you protect this landscape in your own backyard.  You will be able to identify some of the most problematic invasive species found here and understand which native plants to use instead.  You will also find many other plants that occur in Northwest Indiana that may not be fitting for a landscape, but give an incredible appearance within the natural landscape.

If you have any questions or need identification of a plant in your yard send us a comment.