Environmental Restoration Award

Winners of the 2021 Environmental Restoration Award

By Terry Bonace, Environmental Restoration Group

For our 2021 Environmental Restoration Award, we had a difficult decision with two top contenders. So we declared it a tie. The winners are Marilyn Klecka and Bob Cassel of 23 Lake Shore County Drive and Susan and Paul Zucker of 6 South Merrivale.

Marilyn and Bob's property, located on Lake Shore County Road and extending south from Rogers along Coronada, goes back to 1955 when Marilyn's family purchased the site and operated a Lithuanian resort called Villa Albra. The resort was open until the early 1970s. Recently, from reading articles in Sand Tracks and having a site visit from ERG board members in 2017, Marilyn and Bob began to consider removing the invasive species on their property. They have since made outstanding progress in removal of garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed, (one of our toughest invasive plants to remove). privet, multiflora rose, burning bush, oriental bittersweet, lily of the valley, English ivy, bush honeysuckle and common butterbur (possibly the only place in Beverly Shores where this invasive ornamental plant was found). While removing these invasive species, native plants were revealed like lowbush blueberry, ebony spleenwort, false Solomon’s seal, and rarest of all, starflower (Trientalis borealis). Their next steps include planting more native species on their property.

Environmental Restoration Award
Starflower

Paul and Susan Zucker purchased their property along Merrivale in 2004 and later built their home in 2012. The property consists of high dunes with steep ravines. Though many native species remained, invasive species like burning bush, oriental bittersweet, Japanese barberry, periwinkle, and garlic mustard were taking their toll on the natives. The Zuckers called upon the ERG and experts at the Shirley Heinze Land Trust to learn more about the problem plants. In addition to their own hard work, they hired the contractor Erdelac Land Management to survey and remove invasive species from a large area of their property. Several native woodland species that were temporarily in hiding reappeared with the invasive plant removal like red trillium, yellow and white trout lily, and sharp and blunt-lobed hepatica. Other natives like dwarf bush honeysuckle, New Jersey tea, wild lupine, butterfly weed, and purple coneflower have been returned by plantings where once they were likely quite common.

We applaud Marilyn and Bob and Susan and Paul for their labors in doing battle with our many invasive species and encouraging the return of a wide diversity of valuable and uncommon native species.

Click here for more about the efforts of Marilyn Klecka & Bob Cassel. . Click here for more about the work done by Susan & Paul Zucker.
Beverly Shores Environmental Restoration Group,
P.O. Box 667, Beverly Shores, IN 46301