Their persistence and determination saved natural places in Indiana and across the nation.
The Dustins helped launch ACRES Land Trust.
Inspired by the budding environmental movement, Fort Wayne advertising manager 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.
ACRES safeguards natural areas forever.
In 1961, the fledgling ACRES Land Trust acquired its first property, the Edna W. Spurgeon Reserve. Today, ACRES protects hundreds of forests, streams, fields and natural features as well as working land in our region.
As grassroots organizers with political know-how, the Dustins brought people together to protect land.
Known for their extraordinary passion, tenacity and use of the law, Tom and Jane Dustin helped shape legislation such as the landmark 1967 Indiana Nature Preserve Act. Some initiatives, like lobbying for the creation of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, took decades, but they refused to give up. Tom and Jane invited ordinary people — just like you — to help save natural places.
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
“Only the people who love nature preserves can, in the end, protect them.”— James W. Barrett III, author of the 1967 Indiana Nature Preserve Act, founding member of ACRES, close friend of Tom and Jane Dustin
Inspired by the Dustins? Join ACRES.
You can protect treasures like the Cedar Creek Corridor, one of only three designated Natural, Scenic and Recreational Rivers in Indiana, by becoming an ACRES member. To join ACRES, visit our Give Now page.