Making a Natural Difference

Do you love nature? I know I do, so much that I intentionally designed my office and my desk so I can enjoy the trees and wildlife right outside my many windows. However too many times we as a community get wrapped up in our everyday existence to fully appreciate the beauty of what nature provides and take advantage of the lands for our own financial benefit. This was the case at the beginning of the 20th century but fortunately we had a great President who realized that if left unprotected many of the beauties of our nation would be ruined and future generations would not know or have the chance to enjoy them.President Theodore Roosevelt was this president and between 1901 and 1909 through executive actions he set in motion the events that would eventually lead to the founding of the National Park Service in 1916.

Make a Natural Difference

Fast forward to today and we now have 58 National Parks scattered throughout the nation which are accessible to every citizen in the nation. We are very fortunate to have one virtually right out our back door, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. With it so conveniently locate within a few miles of our home we still don’t get the opportunity to visit and explore as often as we like so when we were asked to partner up with Smucker’s and the National Parks Conservation Association for their Make a Natural Difference Campaign to draw attention to our National Parks we were thrilled and knew exactly where we would want to take our readers on a visual tour. The shoreline of Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore stretches for 15 miles along the southern tip of Lake Michigan. I love it for the beach where on the weekends there are families with young children, teenagers and adults enjoying the sights and sounds of the vast lake. But perhaps my favorite time to visit is during the week when all the crowds have gone and if I choose I can be completely alone with no distractions except for the occasional butterfly.

Butterfly

Doug loves to spend his time at the Dunes exploring, with his background in plant and soil sciences I’ll often find him capturing photos of the native plants and flowers and searching for the evidence of how the dunes were formed centuries ago after the retreat of the glaciers that formed the lake and surrounding terrain.

Flowers along Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

When we visit the beach after the crowds have left one of our favorite pastimes is to look at the sand castles and other items that families and their children have left behind and imagine what they might have been doing. On this visit we found several sand castles like this one…

Sand Castle Fort

And this stockpile of skipping stones just begging to be thrown.

Skipping Stones

All these photographs are a great way to reminise about our trips to the parks and enjoy their beauties long after we have left. Smucker’s and the National Parks Conservation Association wants to give you the opportunity to do the same by giving you the chance to win a Sony Digital SLR Camera and 18-135mm Lens. Simply enter the contest here.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Now all this beauty doesn’t happen without the careful stewardship of individuals like you and me. We all can make our parks better every time we visit them, whether it’s the National Park nearest you or even a State Park or one of the many local parks in your town. Our hometown has taken a renewed interest in the city parks and with the help of volunteers has made them more attractive to families to enjoy. We even went as far as to get involved with the construction of a playground for the town, Doug used his skills to help construct the structure and I of course was in charge of providing the food for 100 plus volunteers over the span of the 4 days it took to build.

We also recently finished up the giveaway sponsored by Smucker’s and the National Parks Conservation Association and would like to congratulate Shelly P. on winning the $100 Shutterfly Gift Card and a selection of Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter Products and stirrer. I’m sure she will put it to good use.

What have you done to make a Natural Difference for your local parks? Join in the conversation below in the comments!

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