Hammond IN. – A round-table discussion on the Underground Railroad will be featured at the 10th annual Winter Wonderland at Wolf Lake festival scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, January 15.

Association for the Wolf Lake InitiativeSuch a discussion on the Underground Railroad is a tradition of the festival, which is sponsored by the Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative.

Dr. Larry McClellan, who is writing a book based on years of research about the Underground Railroad in the Chicago area, and author Toni Costonie will be among those planning to participate in the roundtable.  The morning session will begin at 11 a.m. at the Environmental Education Center, 2405 Calumet Avenue, Hammond.  It will continue in the afternoon at 1:15 p.m. at the Southeast Sportsmen’s Club, 13139 Avenue M, Chicago.

The Underground Railroad refers to the many routes followed by slaves escaping from the South to the North in the decades leading up to the Civil War.

McClellan is a founding member of the Chicago-Calumet Underground Railroad Effort (C-CURE), former executive director of the South Metropolitan Regional Leadership Center at Governor’s State University, and a former mayor of University Park (formerly Park Forest South), Illinois.

Costonie’s book, African American Slavery, Indenture, and Resistance in Illinois, was published in 2008.  It is the first book written about slavery in Illinois in more than a century.

She has worked in the museum field as a researcher, archivist, curator and director for more than 25 years.  Museums include the DuSable Museum of African-American History and Art in Chicago, and Graystone International Jazz Museum and the Motown Museum, both in Detroit.
Costonie also has worked on projects for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the National Archives of American Art and the New Orleans Museum of African-American History.

Other speakers at the festival will include Rod Sellers, Southeast Historical Society, on art and nature; Dr. Young Choi, Purdue University Calumet, on Wolf Lake plants and wildlife; John Pastirik, Eggers Woods steward, on ice safety and Sellerski; Jim DeHorn, Openlands Project, on tree planting; Alan Resetar, Field Museum, on Wolf Lake  amphibians and reptiles; and David Dabertin, Illiana Yacht Club, on ice boating.

Exhibits and displays scheduled include Wolf Lake monitors by Dr. Young Choi, Wolf Lake Watershed restoration by Purdue University Calumet, Calumet College of St. Joseph, and Cook County Forest Preserve District; First Decade by AWLI; Development of Bi-State Management plan for the watershed by AWLI and Dr. Ellen Jean Szarleta and Lauren Riga of Environment, Law and Economics Institute; United Way of NWI by Chris Eller-Esparza; Native American Artifacts by Les Marszalek; Calumet Heritage Partnership by Dr. Mark Bouman; Tree maintenance by Jim DeHorn, Openlands Project; Amphibians and Reptiles of the Calumet Region by Alan Resetar of the Field Museum of Natural History; History of the Little Calumet River and the Lincoln Highway by Cynthia Ogorek; Art and Nature exhibit by Rod Sellers of Southeast Chicago Historical Society, Calumet Ecological Resource Center by Mike Siola; and Water Safety by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

AWLI is a not-for-profit bi-state organization that seeks to protect and enhance the Wolf Lake watershed.  It also sponsors a wetlands festival over Memorial Day Weekend, an active living fair in October, and an art show next July.

You can find more information at their website at: www.wolflakeinitiative.org

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