“Tom and Jane Dustin built a legacy from this home,” the bold headline at the top of the commemorative panel reads. As you stand among the tall trees, listening to the music of the preserve, you can see that legacy is thriving still today.
The Dustins helped launch ACRES Land Trust. Inspired by the budding environmental movement, Tom Dustin, his wife Jane, and ten others pooled $5 each to establish the nonprofit ACRES Land Trust in 1960. For 32 years, Jane Dustin led ACRES, then an all-volunteer organization, the oldest and largest land trust in Indiana.
The Dustins lent their determination and political savvy to many projects after the founding of ACRES, including the following:
- Passing the Indiana Nature Preserve Act in 1967
- Banning phosphate detergents from Indiana waterways in 1972
- Establishing Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 1972
- Creating Fox Island County Park in Allen County in 1975
ACRES visitors at the Tom and Jane Dustin Preserve can reflect on the Dustins’ impressive and storied contributions to protecting the natural areas we enjoy and love today via an interpretive panel installed on the property. The sign welcomes folks from all walks into the Dustins’ former home/office, which is now the ACRES headquarters. It illustrates the past to inspire momentum for the future.
If you are so moved by the Dustins’ story, consider joining their legacy. Become an ACRES member. Once you’re a member, you can partake in special members-only events, like the upcoming Popp Nature Preserve open house. Join us in protecting the natural areas we cherish–land that will be protected, thanks to the Dustins, forever.