Since the founding of the Foundation a major focus has been to provide educational programs for the public. Beginning in 2005 FRF has supported and funded several public programs which focus on introducing and educating the general public about the Richardson's legacy and the unique natural history of the dune region surrounding the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Several projects are highlighted below.
The relationship between FRF and the Westchester Township History Museum began in 2005. FRF is pleased to have the Richardson Archives available to the public and many of their personal possessions on display at the Museum. In 2012 joint exhibits featuring the lives, work, and educational contributions of William and Flora Richardson were displayed at the Westchester Township History Museum and the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University. The exhibit at the Westchester Township History Museum drew on artifacts to highlight the lives of the couple, their work, their role in the early Save the Dunes movement, and Flora Richardson’s work to establish the Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary, a national program to educate the public about the beauty of the Indiana Dunes.
The Brauer Museum of Art 2012 exhibition focused on the photography of William Richardson and consisted of 40 photographs framed under glass. The photographs reflected all phases of Richardson’s career and his photographic legacy as a pictorialist photographer. More information about and links to digital scans of many of William's Photographs are available on this page.
In 2010 FRF provided a grant to support building an observation tower in the Indiana Dunes State Park. The tower is envisioned to aid in the study of regional and migratory birds as well as a jumping-off point for other natural history topics. The tower provides a unique public viewing platform in the dunes.
The Richardson Preserve is located mid-way between the cities of Michigan City and LaPorte off Highway 35 in Springfield Township, LaPorte County.
The Preserve is significant in its size (over 100 acres) and relatively undisturbed natural condition. The Foundation is developing plans for continued proper management of the site as a natural area. Current and future work on the preserve involves continued invasive species control; continued surveys of flora, fauna and mycota; various scientific studies and monitoring; and developing education tools and programs.
The site is open to the public for specific uses, including hiking, photography, and nature study. Formal trails are in various stages of development. Visitors are asked to respect all natural features, take no samples (e.g. rocks, soils, plants, etc.) from the property, and to respect the privacy of the Foundation’s land management stewards who currently live within the preserve boundaries.