Dr. Ken Schoon, a geologist, author, and Northwest Indiana native, will be honored at A Dunes Affair on September 20th at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton.
An early supporter and longtime Board member at Dunes Learning Center, Schoon retired from the School of Education at Indiana University Northwest following a 40 year career. He is well known throughout the region for his contributions as a science educator and Hoosier historian.
Most notably, Schoon has written about the geological processes responsible for the formation and ongoing evolution of Northwest Indiana’s impressive dunes, wetlands, and other landscape features in Calumet Beginnings: Ancient Shorelines and Settlements at the South End of Lake Michigan, local cultural history in Dreams of Duneland: A Pictorial History of the Indiana Dunes Region, and the struggle for balance between nature and the built environment in Shifting Sands: The Restoration of the Calumet Area.
Along with announcing Schoon’s award, invitations for the annual event pay homage to the park’s recent name change - a designation that has been in the works for 103 years - with original artwork featuring an iconic Lake Michigan sunset.
“The park is one of the most ecologically diverse places in North America,” Dunes Learning Center Executive Director Geof Benson says. “The dunes and plant communities have been natural field laboratories for scientific studies for decades - the theory of ecological succession was developed from research conducted here. At Dunes Learning Center, we give students from diverse backgrounds and communities the opportunity to discover the science and wonder of nature along Lake Michigan’s south shore.”
The nonprofit education partner of Indiana Dunes National Park, Dunes Learning Center asked landscape painter Mark Vander Vinne, a prominent member of the local art community, to capture the outstanding scenic beauty of our nation’s 61st National Park in a single painting. He chose a sunset at the beach with dune grass in the foreground and a large climbing dune in the distance.
“When painting, my main goal is to capture my feelings and impression of a scene,” he says. “The reflective light on the water, the wonderful patterns of clouds in the sky, and the reaching dune grass all give a peaceful essence to this scene.”
Before the Sun Goes Down is an original oil painting on linen framed to 18” x 22” inches. The painting will be featured during the event’s live action. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.duneslearningcenter.org/adunesaffair online.
About Dunes Learning Center . . .
Based in an outdoor classroom, environmental education programs at Dunes Learning Center interweave history, science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math to inspire lasting curiosity and stewardship with nature. This year, more than 14,000 students will study local natural and cultural history with a focus on the interconnections between humans and the rich biodiversity found in the dunes. For these students, Dunes Learning Center is the gateway to Indiana Dunes National Park and the beginning of their ecology and environmental science education along Lake Michigan’s south shore.