Trail Creek Watershed Partnership is ‘Treasure’ for Region!

lkThere’s transformation taking place in Northwest Indiana, and it’s found in the big lake as well as little known “treasures in our backyard.”  No wonder this generation of youth is learning to love the great outdoors. No better example than a unique watershed alliance launched in 1996 by the Unity Foundation of La Porte County.  Called the Trail Creek Watershed Partnership, this consists of 59,000 acres of land that drains into Trail Creek and smaller tributaries emptying into Lake Michigan. There are many heroes here, but the environmental warrior that is dedicated to getting kids to love nature is Nicole Messacar. This lifelong resident and graduate of IU’s SPEA program just completed her 11th year introducing Trail Creek and its tributaries to over 6,000 youth. This outreach program called “Trail Creek Week” during September featured a canoe race, plus educational activities touching the lives of nearly 1000 kids and adults.  Add to encouraging kids to splash around in the mud or take water samples was her latest outreach program for youth along the Kankakee River. Through education, grants and a cost-sharing program, this watershed is being transformed through “best management practices” that include planting cover crops, building bioswales, rain gardens, and other initiatives.  This educator’s goal: “Encourage people to know their impact on the environment.”


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