How we do

what we do

for the Dunes

The mission of Save the Dunes is realized through our work in Conservation, Advocacy, and  Community Engagement



We protect and restore critical lands and waters that make up the dune ecosystems through meaningful conservation projects that transcend jurisdictional boundaries. Our conservation work is focused within the three counties of Northwest Indiana, with a priority focus on the areas within Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan watershed nearest the Indiana dunes and Lake Michigan. We aim to achieve measurable conservation goals in these places to ensure their preservation in the face of invasive species, developmental pressures, climate change, and other emerging threats. We also look for opportunities to enhance or restore properties owned by Save the Dunes. Part of our mission is maximizing our effectiveness to achieve our conservation goals by partnering with other organizations, agencies, and individuals to manage lands and waters at the landscape-level.

Regional, State, & Federal


We advocate for our natural areas by identifying opportunities to influence decision-making and public policy. We also work to increase the public’s understanding of how they, too, can advocate for our lands and waters. In order to most effectively protect, preserve, and restore the Indiana dunes, our advocacy efforts are focused on key proactive and defensive policy initiatives at the local, regional, state, and national levels. This allows us to increase our ability to facilitate practical landscape-level conservation and management solutions with regional land managers. We regularly partner with other organizations and coalitions to enhance our efforts. Our aim is to carry out our work in a manner that defines us as reasonable, practical, and science-based problem solvers. To be successful, we are developing greater capacity for policy and advocacy, and deepening our communication and connections with Northwest Indiana communities.

Meaningful & Equitable

Community Engagement

We engage with the communities of Northwest Indiana to bring broader awareness to complex issues within the dunes and Lake Michigan through presentations, hikes, and online engagements. We will increase our outreach by providing unique opportunities for all people to learn about the region’s biodiversity through meaningful events. Because connecting to our audience is of the utmost importance to us, we will continue to utilize social media to enhance our communication, and will maintain a meaningful, versatile, current, and user-friendly website to advance the objectives of the organization, provide value to members, disseminate information, and assist in event and program promotion. Additionally, we plan to educate the public about recreating responsibly in our natural areas, and encourage them to become environmental stewards.

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Eternal Vigilance

As our founder Dorothy Buell so eloquently stated, “we are prepared to spend the rest of our lives if necessary to save the dunes.” While we are honored to carry out our work and are proud of all we have achieved, we know that the work is never done. We will continue our work across Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties in Northwest Indiana, with a focus on priority areas significant to the health of the ecosystems of the Indiana dunes and Lake Michigan. In selecting the places where we work, we will be considerate of other organizations, seek partnerships, and look to enhance efforts rather than duplicate. Through this collaborative spirit, we will protect and enhance the ecosystems of Northwest Indiana through meaningful conservation projects, advocacy and community engagement.

We get it done by...

Across-the-Aisles Advocacy

Save the Dunes is tackling a variety of threats including invasive species, water pollution, and even development pressures. Prepared with decades of on-the-ground experience, policy expertise, and local relationships, we leverage our ability to source funds, facilitate conversations, and identify partnerships to create sustainable, real-world solutions.

Up-close Collaboration

Defending the dunes is not a solo mission. We know to have a lasting impact our work must include and collaborate with the people, partners and policy makers across the NWI Lakeshore. While science may dictate the areas we focus on, we’ll always identify opportunities to collaborate with dunes lovers, near and far.

Investing in Nature

We believe protecting nature is an investment in our not-so-distant future. Exploring partnerships with companies, foundations and state & federal programs allows us to unlock new sources of funding so that we can multiply the philanthropic support that’s meant to benefit our communities today and tomorrow.

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