Trees, trains at Taltree Arboretum, Gardens in Valparaiso
June 21, 2011 (VALPARAISO, Ind.) (WLS) -- A retired microbiologist has restored thousands of acres of prairie and trees at Taltree Arboretum and Gardens in Valparaiso, Ind.
Dr. Damien Gabis is a nature lover who is dedicated to preserving open spaces like Taltree, taltree.org.
"We bought seventy two acres in 1990 and built a house and moved over here. Then we bought additional acres along the way ... and here we are we have about 360 acres," Dr. Gabis said. "Lots of trees."
Dr. Gabis and his non-profit organization planted 15 to 20,000 more trees on the land and restored the Midwest prairie. Taltree is also home to a Railway Garden, a 2.5 acre G-scale model railway garden that tells the history of American railroads.
"The Railway Garden consists of about eight trains on ... on ... separate tracks. And about eight or nine vignettes ... that depict the history of transportation in the U.S." Dr. Gabis said. He said Taltree plans to expand the Railway Gardens to about twice the size.
Taltree is the result of private money, donations and volunteers. "We have a large group of volunteers that change vignettes daily, so every week when you come out you'll see something new and a new story behind it," Evan Spirrison, project manager, said.
"I want people to come here for years and years into the future and enjoy Taltree. That's my biggest desire," Dr. Gabis said.
Taltree Arboretum is open seven days a week from April to October, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Winter hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (November to March). It costs $10 to get in.
Taltree Arboretum & Gardens
450 West 100 North
Valparaiso, Indiana 46385
Phone: (219) 462-0025
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