Visionary Women Leaders Take the Charge and You Can Too!
Some of the most influential leaders to protect our region’s environment have been women. Time and time again they fought for our dunes, forests, wetlands, and prairies. To this day, we carry on their courageous efforts that bear the rich splendor of the Indiana dunes.
Without the strength and perseverance of women leaders such as Dorothy Buell, Sylvia Troy, Ruth Osann, and
Charlotte Read, there would be no Indiana Dunes National Park.
These visionary women astutely recognized the value of natural areas in their communities and the environmental, cultural, and social significance of the dunes.
- They helped lead a 16-year effort to get Congress to authorize the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 1966.
- They worked with Congress to expand the park from its original 8,330 acres to over 15,000 current acres.
- They are also the women who advocated for the Lakeshore to be recognized as a National Park, and to engage in a holistic approach to protecting the dunes through advocacy, meaningful conservation work, and outreach.
We have had the tremendous benefit of learning from their lives, skills, courage,
and labor to honor their achievements every day.
“You get hooked on the little victories, and the little defeats, and then pretty soon you find, at least in our case, that it becomes the central part of your life. There’s no finite point when you say, ‘It’s over, I can rest.’ Eternal vigilance is the price of preserving your good idea.” - Charlotte Read, as quoted in "Eternal Vigilance" by Stephen Higgs
Read served as the executive director of Save the Dunes from 1974 - 1992. She was known as a "fierce advocate" for the environment.
"Here it just takes minutes to transport yourself from one ecosystem to another, and in a short period of time you can enjoy many aspects of nature. I think that the presence of the national park and the presence of the state park make a statement that this area is unique and must be preserved for coming generations." - Ruth Osann
Osann was the first vice-president of Save the Dunes and became the third president after Sylvia Troy and Dorothy Buell.
“The future, I believe, has to be on protecting the park and expanding it. I think it constantly needs protection." – Sylvia Troy
Troy served as president of Save the Dunes for ten years. She was a relentless advocate to promote accessibility for all to enjoy the Indiana dunes.
As we think about what the future may hold for our region and our organization, we gain strength from these women’s foresight, tenacity, and unrelenting dedication to secure the Indiana Dunes National Park. Today, we continue to advance the work that they initiated to protect the National Park, but also the Indiana Dunes State Park, Lake Michigan, and surrounding natural areas.
Though each year brings new challenges that threaten our precious dunes landscape,
we are ready to protect them at all costs.
As with so many nonprofits today, we find ourselves on the uncertain financial ground due to Covid-19 and its impact on key fundraising activities. This year, we are bracing for over a $100,000 shortfall – critical funding that ensures our staff is ready to meet our region’s environment’s needs.
Your support right now is critical. I am asking you to please make a gift to Save the Dunes today. Your gift enables us to continue in our visionary leaders’ footsteps who inspire us to keep fighting today!
Everyone at Save the Dunes is incredibly honored to carry on these women’s legacy, building upon and refining their holistic approach to conservation that engages our community with our public lands' sustained health and protection.
You, too, can carry on our influential leaders’ legacy this holiday season with your generous contribution to help protect all of nature in and around the Indiana dunes.
As we navigate our organization through uncertainty and transition, we recall upon our founder Dorothy R. Buell’s battle cry : “We will spend the rest of our lives, if necessary, to save the dunes.” This rings true in my heart today and I hope it rings true for you as well. Please make a gift today and give generously.