Each year, Save the Dunes bestows their highest honor - the Paul H. Douglas Memorial Award – for outstanding service to the cause of preserving and protecting the Indiana dunes. The Douglas Award is in recognition of Illinois Senator Paul H. Douglas. His magnanimous contributions to establish the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore despite bitter opposition from the steel industry, Indiana businesses, and elected officials are matched by no other.
This year, Save the Dunes proudly presents the prestigious Paul H. Douglas Award to Shannon Eason of Michigan City, Indiana. Through Eason's long history of environmental leadership, she has collaborated on many projects with Save the Dunes, the Indiana Dunes National Park, and several other conservation organizations in the region to protect and enhance sensitive dune habitat. Shannon serves as the Assistant Park Superintendent for Michigan City Parks & Recreation. Her work involves maintaining the ecological integrity of the dune landscape and restoration projects by removing invasive species from natural areas and incorporating native plants, permeable pavement, and other sustainable practices in City landscaping. Eason played a crucial role in developing and installing the "Save Our Dunes and Stay on Designated Paths" signage, along with the addition of beach mats on access paths to reduce environmental impacts of recreational use.
Eason's commitment to the Indiana Dunes is far-reaching throughout the community, as is evident through her participation in numerous community organizations advocating for the health of diverse ecosystems and clean water. Shannon holds several leadership roles, including serving as the Chair for the Trail Creek Watershed Partnership, Treasurer of the Michigan City Public Art Committee, member of the Storm Water Advisory Group, member of the Michigan City High School Wolves Environmental Restoration Team, and member of Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s Ped, Peddle and Paddle Committee. She served 4 years on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Coastal Advisory Board, and she is currently managing Michigan City’s Singing Sands Trail Project- one of the latest additions to the Marquette Trail that has been under development across the region for years.
Shannon embodies the heart and soul of the Paul H. Douglas Award and the long history of environmental leadership shown by other incredible women from the Dunes. We hope this recognition serves as an inspiration to all who endeavor to follow in her footsteps that Saving the Dunes is more than a job or a cause – it is a way of life!