VALPARASIO, IN – Local documentary, “Shifting Sands: On the Path to Sustainability,” premieres this Friday, April 22, Earth Day, at 9:00 p.m. on Lakeshore Public Television (WYIN).  The documentary explores how the Indiana Dunes region, known internationally as the birthplace of ecological science in North America, offers a model for a sustainable future. The film showcases the natural beauty woven among the industrial presence along Lake Michigan’s South Shore—a collision not seen elsewhere in the United States.


The film explores four key areas about our local—and national—treasure:

  • the unique natural history of the shoreline of Indiana’s three Lake Michigan counties;
  • why this region is known internationally as the birthplace of ecological science in North America;
  • the history of the Dunes State Park and the controversy that resulted in the designation of the National Lakeshore;
  • the national significance of today’s successful expanding partnerships between governments, environmental advocates and corporations to reduce pollution and restore natural areas in ways that promote possibilities for sustainability.


“We want people to recognize the movement towards sustainability taking place along their shoreline,” said Lee Botts, a local environmentalist and the film’s executive producer. “So much has changed for the better since the 1960’s when I first became involved in the environment here in northwest Indiana, and I want people to recognize the changes that are happening today.”


The film tells the story of the early development of the Northwest Indiana region—from the construction of an industrial powerhouse to the environmental consequences that followed. Pat Wisniewski, the film’s producer, said “I love going to the state park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. But prior to making this film, I had no idea that the modern science of ecology and the modern environmental movement were both born right here in Northwest Indiana. It’s a fascinating story.”


The documentary, which took years to make, comes a century after a national park was first proposed to safeguard this spectacular landscape of towering dunes, green woodlands, rich wetlands and unsurpassed biological diversity just an hour from Chicago.


The project, which began in 2011, celebrates three significant anniversaries in 2016:

  • the 200th anniversary of the State of Indiana,
  • the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, and
  • the 50th anniversary of the Congressional authorization of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.


The State of Indiana has also designated the film as a Bicentennial Project.


American Public Television, the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations, will air the film nationally later this year.


Film sponsors include: The Legacy Foundation, The Efroymson Family Foundation, The Lake Michigan Coastal Program, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Knight Fund at Legacy, The Porter County Community Foundation, The Indiana Arts Commission, South Shore Arts, The Unity Foundation of LaPorte County, The Crown Point Community Foundation, Indiana Dunes Tourism, The Flora Richardson Foundation and many individual donations.


Additional sponsorships and incentives for donations are available for the educational component for those who wish to help the outreach of the film. For more information on the film or to donate, search for “Shifting Sands movie” on Facebook.  Or, visit the Legacy Foundation’s “Shifting Sands Documentary” site at:




Lee Botts                                                         Pat Wisniewski

Executive Producer                                          Producer                              

219-938-2863                                                  (219) 508-7364


Tom Desch                                                      Rana Segal

Producer                                                          Producer                                     

773-837-1915                                                  312-671-1428




Additional Quotes



  • Producer Tom Desch: “Not only are the Indiana Dunes beautiful, but the cultural history of the area is just as fascinating. There is such a rich diverse culture here in the communities that came to be built up around steel and sand.”
  • Producer Rana Segal: “The crew filmed hours of footage, conducted dozens of interviews, and researched countless old photographs to create a 1-hour film.
  • Story Consultant Brian Kallies: “The history here is really a microcosm of our national history.”
  • Assistant Editor Paul Nelson: “I’ve always wanted to help tell our local history.”
  • Production Assistant: Matthew Keene: “I learned to appreciate the rare ecosystem of the dunes by working on this project. I had no idea how many varieties of plants exist here. The bio-diversity is just unbelievable, and still thriving even with all the industry around it.”
  • Dorreen Carey, one of the people interviewed in the film: “The efforts taking place today to clean up and restore our natural areas have been a community effort. The story will show how important partnerships are in the effort to creating an environment that we want to leave to the next generation.”
  • Kenneth Schoon, a local author who wrote a companion book to the film for educational outreach: “I love writing about the Calumet region and it has been a pleasure collaborating on this project.”


Additional contributions

  • The teachers working on the curriculum for 6th-12th grade will be Jennifer Davies and Chris Kustusch.
  • Local artist Barbara Spies Labus, who designed some of the South Shore Posters, designed the cover art for the project.
  • Garrett Finn, an intern from Ball State University, joined us climbing dunes to help us capture amazing vistas.
  • Locals Eric Hines, John Paul Bicuenas, Pam Pulice and Ben Schreiner achieved additional photography.