Indiana Dunes to host birding hike, nature

The Indiana Dunes National Park will host a birding hike, a nature painting class and other upcoming programs.

A birding expert from the Dunes-Calumet Audubon Society will lead a migration birding hike from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday. People should bring binoculars, dress for the weather and meet at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center at 1215 North State Road 49. They will carpool to the birding spot of the month.

Kids can take part in an open house and nature play zone at the Paul H. Douglas Center at 100 North Lake Street in Gary’s Miller neighborhood. Friends of the Indiana Dunes is sponsoring the program, which will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday on the Saturdays of May 13, 20 and 27.

“Join a ranger and help feed the center’s resident animals including reptiles, amphibians and fish that live in the education center. Learn about these animals and the environments that they call home. There will also be a nature-themed craft for children and parents to make together,” Supervisory Park Ranger Bruce Rowe said. “Outside the center, the Nature Play Zone lets families experience nature firsthand as they play outside or even build a fort out of the natural resources around them. A ranger helps guide the experience, but parents are required to stay with their children during the program.”

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An artist and instructor from the Art Barn will teach a natural parking class for Art in the Park at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education. People can learn how to paint dunes landscapes from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13. It will cost $15 for supplies and require advance reservations through artbarnschool.org.

National Park Service Rangers also will lead hikes through the Miller Woods in Gary from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday and on the Sundays of May 14, 21 and 28. Hikers should meet at the Paul H. Douglas Center.

“The hike follows the Paul H. Douglas Trail and showcases various habitats, including globally rare black oak savanna, interdunal ponds, wetlands, and towering sand dunes that offer incredible views of Lake Michigan and Chicago,” Rowe said. “Wear sturdy shoes and bring water.”

It now costs $25 to visit the Indiana Dunes National Park from one day to seven days.

For more information, call 219-395-1882, visit nps.gov/indu or find the Indiana Dunes National Park on Facebook.

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