Every summer my wife and I migrate out to the backyard. During the warm season the backyard becomes the most used room in the house. On our city lot we’ve learned about the bio-diversity of this highly industrialized community. This region is extraordinarily rich in biodiversity and rare ecosystems, fragmented between mostly industrial areas. 80% of East Chicago is zoned heavy industrial, with less than 14% for residential, and 6% for light industrial and commercial.
No region in the Midwest has been as greatly impacted by human activity as Northwest Indiana. Pre-European settlement, a series of white pine and jack pine-covered dunes, and swales rich in wetland species, paralleled Lake Michigan. Inland, the dune and swale topography met the Calumet marshes.
Although it is undoubtedly still the richest region in Indiana and in the Great Lakes basin in terms of biodiversity, Northwest Indiana ecosystems are fragmented and under constant, diverse stress from multiple sources. Without restoration of ecosystem functions and structures, their long term viability is severely threatened
[ EPA ]
But what amazes most is how quickly life takes hold and grows here. By having our own little paradise in such an environment that is hostile toward nature we attract all sorts of creatures. However, we are discovering that we are not the only ones. As we get out in the community we are seeing many residents creating their own special spaces in their backyards. I hope someday to document some of these spaces.
This year Kristin has begun taking these incredible close-ups of the garden.