Tallgrass Triumph

Irene Herlocker-Meyer & the Struggle for Hoosier Prairie

(Feature photo: Irene Herlocker-Meyer at Hoosier Prairie)

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Map: Environment and Climate Change Canada

By Ronald Trigg

When her name was called from the podium that September evening in 2010, Irene Herlocker-Meyer rose from her chair. A tiny figure in her ninetieth year, she strode slowly but confidently forward to receive the award inducting her into Indiana’s Conservation Hall of Fame.

The master of ceremonies read the citation: Irene Herlocker-Meyer personally led the most expensive and politically difficult preservation effort ever undertaken in Indiana. From 1967 to 1976, she fervently worked to see Indiana’s last, best prairie remnant, Hoosier Prairie Nature Preserve, permanently protected.

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Irene Herlocker-Meyer at Conservation Hall of Fame Induction, September 2010

Barely five feet in height, she stood straight and tall before the audience of two hundred people who had gathered for the occasion at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis. Primly attired in a black suit, her hair in perfect order, Irene accepted the award with humility, recognizing the many others who assisted in the preservation effort. Then she launched into an impassioned plea for others to follow her lead to save threatened natural lands in Indiana.

At the close of the ceremony, Bourke Patton, Executive Director of the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, praised Irene and her fellow inductees with these words: “The message we should all take away from these giants of conservation is that regardless of our background, if we follow our passion for nature and history, we can make a tremendous and lasting difference in the world.”

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Three-year-old Irene with her parents, Vaselia & George Speros, East Chicago, IN, 1924

An Unlikely Beginning

Nothing about Irene’s background suggests that she would one day find herself receiving such accolades. Born in 1921 to Greek immigrant parents from Asia Minor (today’s Turkey), she grew up amid the smokestacks and heavy industry of the Indiana Harbor section of East Chicago. Her neighborhood was populated with newcomers from a dozen lands, each group speaking its own language, each struggling to make a life in this new world.

Irene’s childhood coincided with the Great Depression. Like most others at the time, her family had its ups and downs. Her father, George Speros, was a clothing merchant whose business suffered during the hard economic times. But he was a resilient man, and he provided a comfortable life for his family throughout. Irene’s adolescence was disrupted by the absence of her mother. Vaselia Speros was institutionalized before her daughter became a teenager; she died a few years later.

An early suggestion of leadership potential occurred during Irene’s time at East Chicago Washington High School. She was a candidate for Mayor (Student Council President). She lost the contest, but it was rare at the time for a girl to aspire to such heights. Irene also was a member of the school’s debating society, picking up a skill that would one day become useful.

She continued her studies at the University of Chicago, where she majored in chemistry. After completing her degree, she took a job as one of the first women to work in the laboratories at the Lever Brothers plant in Hammond. Later, while working at the Sinclair Oil Company, she met a chemical engineer from Illinois, Robert Herlocker.

The two young chemists married and settled in Hammond. They adopted a child from Greece, a girl named Despina. In 1954, the family moved a few miles south to Munster, putting Irene even closer to the prairie that was to play so great a role in her future. Irene was a stay-at-home mother during Despina’s childhood years, but she was active in community affairs, participating in the local chapters of such groups as the American Association of University Women, the League of Women Voters, and the Daughters of Penelope, a Greek-American service organization.

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Irene Herlocker-Meyer holding Hall of Fame Award, October 2013

The Evolution of an Environmental Activist

Pollution was accepted as a simple fact of urban life during Irene’s childhood. The need to generate jobs outweighed any environmental concerns for most people at the time. “Nature was the last thing on our minds,” she recalls from her early life in East Chicago. “What did I know about nature? I knew sparrows and robins and squirrels. They were the only wildlife we had.”

The door to nature study didn’t open for Irene until she was in her forties. One day she observed a large bird perched in a tree in the woods behind her home; it had a white ring around its eye. The bird was a female wood duck. Irene soon developed a passion for bird watching, a pastime shared by some of her neighbors. One of them, a woman appropriately named Phyllis Finch, knocked on her door on May 23, 1967. The Finch family was moving out of the area. Phyllis offered to take Irene to her secret spot, a flower-filled piece of nature surrounded by railroad tracks and light industry, located where the towns of Griffith, Schererville, and Highland meet. She called it “the Griffith dump.”

Irene recorded her thoughts about that first visit years later. “I was stunned. I couldn’t believe there was something so beautiful only ten minutes from my home. The ground was covered with flowers – bird’s foot violets, bluets, blue-eyed grass, yellow star grass, and shooting stars.”

She returned many times to the property, enchanted on each occasion by its display of native wildflowers, a natural canvas offering up changing varieties from early spring well into autumn. “I didn’t know anything about wildflowers at first. I started learning to identify them and kept going back.” As she researched the flora, it dawned on her that “the Griffith dump” might be a prairie remnant, a rare survivor of the sea of grasslands that once stretched from western Indiana to the foothills of the Rockies.

“Mom had a real passion for the prairie,” Despina Pelletier, Irene’s daughter, remembers from those early days. “I was a typical teenager at the time. I think that was part of the reason she was so anxious to get out of the house and go to the prairie so often. She was looking for solace.”

At an Audubon Society meeting in February 1969, Irene met Paul Strand, a naturalist with the Cook County (Illinois) Forest Preserve District. He was familiar with land conservation efforts across the state line. She asked him if he knew about her special place. His response startled her: “Oh yes, that’s the Griffith Prairie. It’s very valuable. It should be preserved, but it’ll take a lot of work.” Irene’s hunch that the land was genuine prairie had been confirmed.

Strand referred her to botanists Floyd Swink and Ray Schulenberg at the Morton Arboretum outside Chicago. Swink suggested she contact the Chicago Academy of Sciences and the Open Lands Project. By this time, she was determined to see the land protected. Everyone she consulted agreed that the property was biologically very valuable, but they all urged her to keep a low public profile, fearing that the purchase price would balloon if it became known that an effort to protect the land had begun. Irene found sympathetic ears at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. William Barnes, head of the Division of Nature Preserves, suggested that Irene convene a meeting of interested parties. He drove up from Indianapolis in September 1969 to the gathering at Irene’s home which attracted eminent botanists and prairie specialists from the Chicago scientific community, academics from Indiana University Northwest and Purdue University Calumet, representatives from conservation non-profits, and ordinary citizens.

The group made an early decision to give the property a more appealing name. They chose to call it Hoosier Prairie; a designation they hoped would make support for the project more palatable to potential downstate backers. Thus was founded the Committee on the Hoosier Prairie, with Irene Herlocker as its chair. The fight to save the Prairie had begun.

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Sawtooth Sunflower (Helianthus grosseserratus)

Gathering Support for a Long Campaign

The discovery of Indiana’s last large tract of prairie occurred at a time when the land preservation movement was undergoing a great awakening in the state. The 89th Congress of the United States passed legislation in 1966 authorizing the establishment of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The State of Indiana created a Division of Nature Preserves within the Department of Natural Resources; its objective was to acquire and manage outstanding examples of the natural landscape that existed before European settlement. The Ford Foundation funded the Indiana Natural Areas Survey, an initiative aimed at identifying important tracts of natural land and prioritizing them for preservation. The notion of saving land for its conservation value was gaining momentum.

All this bode well for Irene Herlocker’s quest, but she quickly learned that she would need political support and money to achieve success. Time was becoming critical. In just the two years since Irene’s first visit to what had been a site of nearly 400 acres, about a quarter of the land had already been lost to the developers of an oil storage tank farm.

Irene called her Congressman, hoping to gain his support. Ray Madden held one of the safest Democratic seats in the U.S. House of Representatives; he represented the First District of Indiana from 1943 to 1977. Madden was initially unreceptive. “Get the support of the Izaak Walton League and Save the Dunes Council and then talk to me,” is Irene’s recollection of his response. While his reaction was disappointing, his suggestion to engage the region’s leading conservation non-profit organizations paid dividends.

The Izaak Walton League became a reliable ally. A local representative offered to submit a resolution of support at the League’s state convention; he requested documentation of the Prairie’s value. This led Irene to recruit Dr. Robert Betz of Northeastern Illinois University to do a botanic survey. An enthusiastic prairie preservationist (“a real nut about prairies,” in Irene’s words), Betz rushed to the site, produced the first plant list, and became a key player on the Hoosier Prairie Committee.

Sylvia Troy, President of Save the Dunes Council, was already a Committee member. The Council had been the driving force behind the establishment of a national park in the Indiana Dunes; it was the most skilled conservation lobbying entity in the region. Troy appointed Irene to a committee assigned the task of selecting new areas to be included in a Dunes expansion bill set for introduction in Congress in 1971. This was the beginning of Irene’s career as a Capitol Hill lobbyist.

A network of support continued to grow. Committee member Dr. Herman Feldman, Chairman of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University’s regional campus in Gary, secured the support of the university’s statewide administration. Chancellor Herman B Wells personally approached the owners of the property, a Chicago family, in the initial attempt to engage them in the Prairie’s preservation. Wells and Feldman met with the family in 1970. The Indiana University Foundation later entertained them with a tour of the Prairie and a luncheon.

“We had great hopes the family might donate the land or the Foundation might provide funds to buy it,” recalls Irene. Neither happened, but the family was favorably impressed by the efforts to save the Prairie. They agreed to maintain ownership of the property until a way could be found to preserve it, in effect giving the conservation community first option to buy it. The immediate threat that the land might fall into the hands of developers was ended, at least temporarily. It was a breakthrough achievement, but the Prairie’s future as a natural area was far from secure.

With the landowners now sympathetic, there was no longer any need to keep efforts to save the Prairie quiet. The Committee convened a joint meeting in early 1972 for members of the Town Councils and Park Boards of Highland, Griffith, and Schererville. Officials from the three towns offered enthusiastic support. This attracted the interest of local newspapers, and the Committee launched a publicity campaign to educate the public. “I accepted all invitations to speak,” Irene remembers. She presented lectures and slide shows to dozens of groups: conservation leagues, women’s and garden clubs, community service organizations, technical societies. The local press, radio, and television picked up the story, and newspapers offered their editorial endorsement.

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Soapwort Gentian (Gentiana saponaria)

Taking the Fight to Congress and the Statehouse

Support for the campaign grew, thanks to the work of the Hoosier Prairie Committee and Irene’s tireless networking. But ultimate success depended on finding the money to buy the property; the price was estimated to be $1 million. The only possible sources were the federal government or the state government, or a combination of both. The focus of the campaign turned toward the halls of the United States Congress and the Indiana General Assembly. Irene and other Committee members devoted themselves from 1973 to 1976 to the effort, testifying before the relevant committees of both houses of Congress and the state legislature. They lobbied congressional representatives and state officials, eventually winning the support of all but one of Indiana’s Congressmen, both U.S. Senators from Indiana and Illinois, and Indiana Governor Otis Bowen. Ultimately, Irene made five lobbying trips to Washington over two years. “You really need good shoes to walk in those marble halls,” was Irene’s favorite comment about the many hours she spent lobbying.

The Committee concluded that the best way to gain federal dollars was to get Hoosier Prairie included in a bill intended to allocate funds to expand the boundaries of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. A Dunes expansion bill, which included the Prairie, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Edward Roush in 1971. No action was taken on the bill, and it died at the end of the session.

A new Dunes expansion bill was introduced to the next Congress in 1973. There was no consensus on whether to include Hoosier Prairie. Indeed, Assistant Secretary of the Interior Nathaniel Reed, at a meeting of the study team reviewing expansion, recommended not to include it, because it was detached from the rest of the park and would be difficult to manage. He suggested it was “a natural for The Nature Conservancy.”  Irene called Patrick Noonan, President of The Nature Conservancy’s national organization, and secured his pledge to facilitate the acquisition of Hoosier Prairie if it was ultimately included in the Dunes bill.

The following year, members of the Hoosier Prairie Committee, The Nature Conservancy, Indiana University Northwest, and a representative of Governor Bowen testified on behalf of the Prairie’s inclusion before the Interior Subcommittees of both the House and the Senate. Members of both houses of Congress questioned the idea, suggesting that the property should be purchased by the State of Indiana. In the end, this bill also failed to be acted upon and died at session’s end in 1974. Another two years had passed without substantial progress.

This was one of several times when a less determined soul than Irene might have given up the effort as a lost cause. But she never did. When circumstances looked grim, she always picked up the pieces and continued forward. “My mother was absolutely driven to succeed,” recalls daughter Despina. Indeed, support from her family sustained Irene throughout the effort. Husband Bob stood by her every step of the way, even substituting for her at a speaking engagement when she was out of town on a lobbying trip.

In the meantime, there was movement in Indianapolis. Irene, by chance, ran into Republican State Senator Ralph Potesta in November 1973; they sat next to each other at a university luncheon in Gary.  The two had attended school together in East Chicago but had been out of touch for more than thirty years. She briefed him on the Prairie campaign, hoping to garner his support. Potesta subsequently submitted a resolution in the State Senate which urged the DNR to acquire Hoosier Prairie as a nature preserve. Irene and others testified at two hearings in Indianapolis. An amended bill eventually passed with bipartisan support. It authorized a study to determine the feasibility of state acquisition of the Prairie.

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Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)

DNR completed the study in 1975; it concluded that the state should acquire Hoosier Prairie as a nature preserve. Potesta introduced a bill to appropriate $1,024,000 to purchase 331 acres, including an adjacent 31-acre farm desired as buffer. The bill failed to get a hearing because of the opposition of the chairman of the Finance Committee, even though he was a Republican, like Potesta.

It was a temporary setback. Irene and her colleagues lined up support in the State House of Representatives to include a $1 million line item in the budget for the purchase of Hoosier Prairie. The House Speaker was Phillip Bainbridge, a Democrat from Highland, who represented a district that included part of the Prairie. His support was critical in getting the $1 million item inserted into the budget. The Senate subsequently knocked it out, but it was restored in conference, thanks to the assistance of another local legislator, Senator (and future U.S. Congressman) Adam Benjamin, a Democrat from Gary.

Meanwhile back in Washington, a new Dunes expansion bill, which included Hoosier Prairie, was introduced in Congress in 1975. The House Interior Subcommittee dropped the Prairie in its markup, but it was restored by the full Interior Committee, with the support of Congressman Madden, who was now Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. This new version included a proviso that the State of Indiana would have to come up with fifty percent of the purchase price. The compromise had been proposed to House staffers by Save the Dunes Council.

In the summer of 1975, The Nature Conservancy began negotiations with the landowners. Before the end of the year, verbal agreement was reached to sell the land at the appraised valuation of $900,000.  An option agreement with the landowners was signed shortly thereafter. The State Budget Committee authorized the allocation of money for the purchase, provided the federal government contributed half the price. Irene organized a lobbying effort to encourage Secretary of the Interior Thomas Kleppe to use $450,000 from his contingency funds for the purchase. Members of the Indiana and Illinois congressional delegations wrote the Secretary on behalf of the allocation. Indiana Governor Otis Bowen made a personal telephone call. In May 1976, the federal funds were finally secured. The Nature Conservancy turned over its option for purchase to the state. On January 14, 1977, the State of Indiana purchased Hoosier Prairie for permanent protection.

A bill to expand Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which included Hoosier Prairie within its boundaries, finally passed on September 29, 1976, and was signed by President Gerald Ford on October 18. After ten years, Hoosier Prairie was finally saved, and it was afforded a double layer of protection from both the state (Indiana Department of Natural Resources) and the federal government (U.S. National Park Service). The battle was won.

Not long after the Prairie’s future was secured, Irene and Bob Herlocker returned to walk the trails, as they had so many times before. The two embraced in the shadows of the tall grasses. Bob looked into his wife’s eyes. “They can’t take this away from us anymore,” he said. About a year later, Robert Herlocker died at age sixty-six. He’d survived long enough to see the struggle to save Hoosier Prairie succeed.

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Hoosier Prairie

Life After Victory

Once Hoosier Prairie’s future as a natural area was secure, Irene didn’t just drop the torch. She remained an advocate for the Prairie and contributed to its management. “She worked on our very first prescribed burn at the Prairie and many subsequent ones,” according to John Bacone, Director of the Indiana DNR’s Division of Nature Preserves. “She’s participated in plant-monitoring exercises and has always been ready to lend her support to any effort to improve Hoosier Prairie as a healthy natural site.”

Irene became active in local conservation organizations: The Nature Conservancy, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, Save the Dunes Council. TNC and Shirley Heinze honored her by naming her a life member of their boards. Save the Dunes presented her with the Paul H. Douglas Memorial Award, an accolade bestowed annually to an individual for “outstanding service to the cause of preserving and protecting the Indiana Dunes.”

In 1985, Irene met Dr. John H. Meyer on a trip to China they took with some mutual friends. The chance encounter developed into a romance, and the two, both widowed, married in 1988. John, a Chicago-based physician, had a fascinating life story of his own. A German Jew, he moved to Italy to study medicine after being denied admission to medical school by the Nazi authorities. In 1939, he fled to asylum in Ecuador, where he practiced medicine under primitive conditions in the rural countryside. Finally, he emigrated to the United States in 1949. His remarkable story is recounted in an autobiography, Surviving Against All Odds, published posthumously in 2009.

The couple spent seventeen happy years together in a home that overlooked Lake Michigan in Beverly Shores, Indiana. Irene took the hyphenated surname Herlocker-Meyer upon her marriage to John in honor of the two loves of her life. “I was so lucky to find two such wonderful men,” she said.

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New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)

A Trailblazer for Land Conservation in Indiana

When Irene Herlocker first identified the importance of Hoosier Prairie as a natural area, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was only a paper entity, authorized by Congress but without any land ownership. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources had only just established its Division of Nature Preserves.  The land trust movement was in its infancy in Indiana, and Lake County didn’t have a parks department. Now, more than forty years later, the Lakeshore, until recently the only national park unit in the Chicago area, encompasses 15,000 acres, including a 2,000-acre state park within its boundaries. There are more than 250 dedicated Indiana state nature preserves protecting nearly 45,000 acres of land; at least ten, including Hoosier Prairie, are in Lake County. Nearly every county in Indiana is now served by a private non-profit land trust. Shirley Heinze Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy have some 700 acres in Lake County alone. The Parks Department in Lake County is a thriving concern, with a good mix of recreational properties and high-quality natural lands.

“There’s no question Irene Herlocker was a trailblazer for land protection in Indiana,” Bacone says. “There weren’t a lot of examples for her to follow. She had to feel her way around, every step of the way, and use every tool and contact she could find.”

“Irene has left a real legacy for those of us involved in land conservation,” Kris Krouse says. As Executive Director of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, Krouse is part of the next generation of conservation professionals following in her footsteps. “We have so many more partners and funding sources to work with today.  Irene literally had to invent a way to achieve her goals.”

“She was definitely a woman ahead of her time,” adds Nicole Barker, former Executive Director of Save the Dunes. “Her ‘never-give-up’ spirit is a model for us all.”

Irene Herlocker-Meyer died on September 21, 2014. In her final years she lived in an assisted-living facility in Munster, just a few miles down Main Street from Hoosier Prairie. Even into her nineties, she occasionally visited the property. Her car was easy to spot in the parking lot. It was the one that carried the iconic rear license plate: PRAIRIE.

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South Shore poster

The books:

Engel, J. Ronald, Sacred Sands:  The Struggle for Community in the Indiana Dunes, Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, Connecticut, 1983.

Greenberg, Joel, A Natural History of the Chicago Region, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 2002.

Jackson, Marion T. (ed.), The Natural Heritage of Indiana, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 1997.

Meyer, Dr. John H., Surviving Against All Odds, Xlibris Corporation, 2009.

The Place:

Hoosier Prairie is in Lake County, Indiana near the town of Griffith.

For further reading:

Bacone, John, “Hoosier Prairie,” The Nature Conservancy’s Guide to Indiana Preserves, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2006.

Cavinder, Fred D., “Irene Herlocker and Her Prairie,” Indianapolis Star Magazine, October 17, 1976.

Committee on the Hoosier Prairie, The Hoosier Prairie:  Preserving the Best for the Future, undated (available at Lake County Public Library, Merrillville, Indiana).

Herlocker, Irene S., “The Hoosier Prairie Story – A Political Odyssey,” Proceedings of the Fifth Midwest Prairie Conference, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, August 1976.

Hoosier Prairie (a trail guide), Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves, undated.

Notes on sources:

 Conservation Hall of Fame Ceremony (p 1)

Author Interview with John Bacone, Director of Indiana DNR Division of Nature Preserves, September 12, 2013.

Author Interview with Irene Herlocker-Meyer, June 1, 2013.

Author Interview with Kristopher Krouse, Executive Director, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, September 3, 2013.

Author Interview with Bourke Patton, Executive Director, Indiana Natural Resources Council, September 5, 2013.

Indiana Natural Resources Foundation website, “Indiana Conservation Hall of Fame,” (http://www.in.gov/inrf/hall_of_fame.html)

An Unlikely Beginning  (pp 2-3)

Author Interviews with Irene Herlocker-Meyer, June 1, 2013; June 7, 2013; September 25, 2013; October 11, 2013; October 17, 2013, October 23, 2013.

U.S. Federal Census, 1920, 1930, 1940, (East Chicago, Lake County, Indiana).

The Evolution of an Environmental Activist (pp 3-5)

Author Interviews with Irene Herlocker-Meyer, June 1, 2013; June 7, 2013; September 25, 2013; October 11, 2013; October 17, 2013, October 23, 2013.

Author Interview with Despina Pelletier (daughter of Irene Herlocker-Meyer), September 13, 2013.

Bacone, John, “Hoosier Prairie,” The Nature Conservancy’s Guide to Indiana Preserves, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2006.

Committee on the Hoosier Prairie, The Hoosier Prairie:  Preserving the Best for the Future, undated (available at Lake County Public Library, Merrillville Indiana).

Herlocker, Irene S., “The Hoosier Prairie Story – A Political Odyssey,” Proceedings of the Fifth Midwest Prairie Conference, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, August 1976.

Gathering Support for a Long Campaign  (pp 5-8)

Author Interviews with Irene Herlocker-Meyer, June 1, 2013; June 7, 2013; September 25, 2013; October 11, 2013; October 17, 2013, October 23, 2013.

Author Interview with Mark Reshkin, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University Northwest, September 13, 2013.

Cavinder, Fred D., “Irene Herlocker and Her Prairie,” Indianapolis Star Magazine, October 17, 1976.

Herlocker, Irene S., “The Hoosier Prairie Story – A Political Odyssey,” Proceedings of the Fifth Midwest Prairie Conference, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, August 1976.

Holycross, Joann, “Prairie Preserve Advocated,” The Times (Hammond, Indiana), February 21, 1972.

Holycross, Joann, “Prairie’s Historical Value is Reviewed,” The Times (Hammond, Indiana), February 22, 1972.

Jaynes, Amy, “Lake County’s Own Hoosier Prairie Called a Rarity,” The Post-Tribune (Gary, Indiana), April 6, 1972.

The Post-Tribune (Gary, Indiana), “The Editorial Citizen,” April 6, 1972.

Taking the Fight to Congress and the Statehouse (pp 8-12)

Author Interviews with Irene Herlocker-Meyer, June 1, 2013; June 7, 2013; September 25, 2013; October 11, 2013; October 17, 2013, October 23, 2013.

Author Interview with Despina Pelletier (daughter of Irene Herlocker-Meyer), September 13, 2013.

Engel, J. Ronald, Sacred Sands:  The Struggle for Community in the Indiana Dunes, Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, Connecticut, 1983.

Herlocker, Irene S., “The Hoosier Prairie Story – A Political Odyssey,” Proceedings of the Fifth Midwest Prairie Conference, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, August 1976.

Life After Victory (pp 12-13)

Author Interview with John Bacone, Director of Indiana DNR Division of Nature Preserves, September 12, 2013.

Author Interviews with Irene Herlocker-Meyer, June 1, 2013; June 7, 2013; September 25, 2013; October 11, 2013; October 17, 2013, October 23, 2013.

Meyer, Dr. John H., Surviving Against All Odds, Xlibris Corporation, 2009.

Winkley, Nancy J., “Peaceful Prairie Lies Amid Steel Mills,” The Post-Tribune (Gary, Indiana), December 1, 1983.

A Trailblazer for Land Conservation in Indiana (pp 13-14)

Author Interview with John Bacone, Director of Indiana DNR Division of Nature Preserves, September 12, 2013.

Author Interview with Nicole Barker, Executive Director, Save the Dunes, September 18, 2013.

Author Interview with Kristopher Krouse, Executive Director, Shirley Heinze Land Trust, September 3, 2013.

IDNR Division of Nature Preserves, 2012 Annual Report, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, 2013.

Sidebar – Hoosier Prairie (p 15)

Author Interview with John Bacone, Director of Indiana DNR Division of Nature Preserves, September 12, 2013.

Bacone, John, “Hoosier Prairie,” The Nature Conservancy’s Guide to Indiana Preserves, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2006.

Cavinder, Fred D., “Irene Herlocker and Her Prairie,” Indianapolis Star Magazine, October 17, 1976.

Greenberg, Joel, A Natural History of the Chicago Region, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 2002.

Hoosier Prairie (a trail guide), Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves, undated.

IDNR Division of Nature Preserves, 2012 Annual Report, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, 2013.

Indiana’s Dedicated Nature Preserves, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves, 1999.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources website, “Hoosier Prairie Nature Preserve, (http://www.in.gov/dnr/naturepreserve/files/Hoosier_Prairie-color.pdf)

Jackson, Marion T. (ed.), The Natural Heritage of Indiana, Indiana University Press, 1997.

Larson, Chris, “Into the Wild:  Hoosier Prairie Nature Preserve,” Chicago Wilderness Magazine, Spring 1998.

The Nature Conservancy website, “Hoosier Prairie,” (http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/indiana/placesweprotect/hoosier-prairie.xml)

Rockhill, Rae Ann, “Into the Wild:  Hoosier Prairie State Nature Preserve,” Chicago Wilderness Magazine, Spring 2000.

Content and photos copyright 2017 Ron Trigg

 

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Donna Gonzalez says:

    This is a wonderful story about a dear, dear lady. Irene was so humble, and so approachable. I had no idea the efforts she, and so many people put in, over such a long time, through all hurdles and set backs. Thank you Ron Trigg for an informative article and wonderful tribute to Irene.

    Like

  2. Rebekah Howes says:

    Thank you, for honoring the memory of my grandmother.

    Like

    1. I’m happy you liked Ron’s story. I have passed your comment on to him. Your Grandmother was a remarkable woman. Karen Rodriguez

      Like

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