On Saturday, October 17, 2015 Tryon Farm Institute hosted the Calumet Outdoor Series hikers along the Tryon Farm 5K ‘Red Trail.’ President of TFI, Scott Kuchta, co-led the hike along with new TFI Governing Member, Steve Sass – President of the INPAWS North Chapter.
As hikers walked the land, Kuchta explained the conservation land-use and development concepts that are at the heart of Tryon Farm. The visitors were introduced to the varied ecosystems of Tryon Farm and shown the diverse housing designs, each reflecting the unique landscapes they are nestled within. Like in the woodland community, materials featuring rusted browns and greys situate well in the context of the forest through all the seasons.
Sass spoke broadly to the group about the various plant and wildlife communities at Tryon Farm as well as providing fascinating details about individual species. The group learned the meadows and grasslands require additional conservation maintenance to prevent canopy trees from taking hold. He also harvested a sample of big blue stem grass (Andropogon gerardi) while sharing the pioneer habits of this plant in terms of ecosystem succession.
Overall, the group enjoyed a balance of botany and ecosystem information as well as innovative strategies for development in the context of conservation. Tryon Farm provides a model for people to live with the land in the Calumet region and beyond.
What is the Calumet Region?
The Calumet Region has no official boundaries. It is generally understood as a geographic area within the Northwest Indiana and Northeast Illinois – part of the larger Great Lakes Region. Some limit its definition as a watershed draining to the Grand Calumet and the Little Calumet Rivers. Others, like the Field Museum of Chicago, are seeking to expand the definition through investigations that demonstrate ecological, cultural and historical ties that bind together a much larger “heritage corridor.”
What is the Calumet Stewardship Initiative?
The Calumet Stewardship Initiative (CSI) is a coalition of more than 40 organizations, including the Chicago Field Museum, the Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the University of Chicago. CSI promotes a sustainable relationship between people and nature in the Calumet region of Northwest Indiana and Northeast Illinois, envisioning a region marked by vibrant communities and cultures, healthy natural areas, and a strong economy.
(photos courtesy of TFI Governing Member Nicole Rebeck)