John Brooks, founder of LC Nature Park and chairman of the board of Brooks Construction Company, Inc., received the Sagamore of the Wabash award on Oct. 12 for his efforts in preserving Indiana’s natural landscape and contributions to building the state’s road infrastructure.
The award is one of the highest honors bestowed by the governor of Indiana.
Brooks was a third-generation co-owner of Brooks Construction Company in Fort Wayne. Founded in 1909, Brooks Construction Company specializes in asphalt paving and manufacturing, as well as offering an array of concrete, sitework, and utilities services, for private, commercial, and governmental customers in northern Indiana and Ohio.
Driven by a longstanding love of nature and a desire to protect the abundant beauty of Indiana, Brooks and his family in 2021 transformed more than 200 acres of privately owned land that was once the reserve of Chief Akima Neewilenkwanka of the Myaamia (Miami) Nation into LC Nature Park. The park is home to herds of bison and elk, restored grasslands, old-growth woods, and nearly five miles of walking trails.
The centerpiece of the park is the Mills Education Center, a more than century-old bank barn that has been restored and serves as the hub for the park’s educational programs for children and adults. It also hosts numerous events throughout the year, providing a place for fellowship and fun for visitors who can look out at the restored landscape and the grazing bison and elk herds.
Set among residential, agricultural, and industrial development, LC Nature Park is a testament to the fact that you don’t have to travel far to experience Indiana’s bountiful variety of native plants and animals.
“LC Nature Park’s unique model and inventive programming structure allow area residents to learn about northeast Indiana’s native ecosystems. The guided hikes and free events educate guests on how native northeast Indiana was before settlement, spark inspiration, and provide a model for others to protect our natural resources,” said Hope Wallace, executive director of LC Nature Park.
“The staff and board of directors of LC Nature Park are proud of John and strive to provide quality experiences for both youth and adults alike. The continued restoration of the woodlands, prairies, and wetlands will provide a valuable resource for the area for many years.”
The Sagamore of the Wabash award was signed by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. Since the 1940s, the Sagamore has been given to individuals who have provided distinguished service to the state or contributed to Hoosier heritage.
For more information about LC Nature Park, including visiting the park, camps and programs, upcoming events, and supporting its mission, visit lcnaturepark.org.
Founded in 2021, the mission of LC Nature Park is to promote the learning of Indiana’s ecosystems through camaraderie, food, and fun, experiencing natural landscape restorations, and protecting our native flora and fauna. The park and the Mills Education Center are located at 9744 Aboite Road, Roanoke, IN 46783. To contact park staff, call 260-999-3153 or email email@example.com. On Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, from 1-5 p.m., LC Nature Park will celebrate National Bison Day with a presentation on bison, book readings for kids, self-guided hikes, food trucks, a Miami Nation display with Dani Tippmann, and more.