Say Hello to Indiana Dunes

         When you think about Indiana Dunes, what do you imagine? Nothing but sandy dunes or a long a lake shore? You would be partially right, but there are so many other biomes that play a role in the rich biodiversity here. There are beaches, marshes, wooded edges, harbors, fields, and even a few more. Not only are these biomes plentiful but all of these biomes have trails, pathways, and ramps that make hiking, biking, and kayaking very accessible. What is more amazing is how the park influences the surrounding community. Despite being surrounded by nothing but cities neighborhood, and factories the park thrives and has a positive impact on the community and youth through the numerous programs provided. 

         Here is a short history on the formation of the dunes. The beachgrass (Ammophila breviligulata) is what allows the dunes to form. As wind and the lake swept sand onto the land, the beachgrass traps it forming an incipient foredune which becomes established as a diverse plant community forms. If a foredune maintains its stability for a long period of time, it can form a rich soil layer can form. If you are curious for more, I highly recommend checking out this link: https://www.usgs.goc/geology-and-ecology-of-national-parks/geology-indiana-dunes-national-park 

         Not only is the park known for its geological wonder but also its rich biodiversity. With the many biomes in the park, there is a plethora of fantastic bird species that inhabit each of these. The best part is that all of the trails, especially the Great Marsh trail, is perfect for birders both new and old. 

         While I love to birding and hiking here at the park. Personally, I love to go to Lake View Beach and set up a hammock while watching the sunset fall below the lake and behind the city of Chicago. After learning about the history of the Dunes, I have a found a greater appreciation of the experiences that it provides. 

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