A message from Betsy Maher, Executive Director of Save the Dunes

I am so honored and excited to join Save the Dunes. I’ve been building a career in non-profit management with the hopes to one day lead a non-profit with a conservation mission. In fact, it’s the reason I pursued my Masters in Public Administration. As I finish up what will be my fourth week on the job, I can say with confidence that I have landed in the right place for this position and the mission of Save the Dunes brings my professional and personal passions together in a very fulfilling way.

Like so many who love the outdoors, I spent my childhood in nature. My family would visit the Indiana Dunes from time to time and spent our summers swimming and boating in Door County, Wisconsin, all of which solidified my love of Lake Michigan and it’s majestic shorelines. In college, I spent a summer working for a backcountry hiking company in upstate New York where my love for exploring different state and national parks was discovered. I started to spend more time as an adult visiting the Indiana Dunes with friends and family since it brought my love of Lake Michigan and our National Parks together in one place. It is fitting, to say the least, that my job is now to protect them.

I had read that my predecessor, Natalie Johnson, visited Mount Baldy shortly after she interviewed for the Executive Director role back in 2016. I decided to continue the tradition and packed up my husband and two boys, ages 3 and 7, and headed to the famous dune. While probably not as peaceful of an experience as Natalie had since I had two kids in tow, it was still a very validating moment. We played for hours on the beach and took in the beauty of the area as the sun set on the magnificent dune.

I feel very lucky to step into this role at such an exciting time for the organization and the Northwest Indiana area. I was fortunate to have spent my first week on the job working alongside and learning from Natalie. She has grown the organization in very important and foundational ways and her talents will be missed. I am grateful for the strong foundation she laid that I now have the privilege to build upon. Additionally, there are some big changes happening in the community that Save the Dunes is actively playing a role in. Several important decisions and legislative actions have happened even in my first few weeks. As I said, this is an exciting time! I am humbled to be selected to lead Save the Dunes in this next chapter, and excited to show people the many ways they can get involved in this incredible cause.