Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a national park that stretches from Gary to Michigan City, Indiana on the southern coast of Lake Michigan. The fifteen miles of Lakeshore within the park is comprised of a variety of ecosystems. These ecosystems include beaches, dunes, wetlands, marshes, lakes, interdunal ponds, prairies, rivers, bogs, fens and forest. The variety of ecosystems within the park creates a wealth of species diversity. The diversity along the Lakeshore has attracted scholars such as Henry Cowles since the late 1800’s. Landmark research such as Cowles has famously defined the lakeshore as the birthplace of ecology and inspired preservation efforts against the industrial growth surrounding the area. The preservation efforts resulted in the designation of a state park on the Lakeshore in 1926. Following the designation of the state park, efforts to expand began almost immediately. A group of 20 women formed the Save the Dunes Council with the goal of expanding the protected Lakeshore. While at first dismissed as “harmless birdwatchers” the group had 2,000 members nationwide within a year. By the 1960’s the council was seen by the steel industry as a threat to development. The efforts of the council and politicians such as President John F. Kennedy were successful in designating 8,330 acres as National Park in 1966. Today the park has expanding to over 15,000 acres.