Indiana-based Dunes Learning Center invests in propane-powered bus

August 7, 2018 By    

Dunes Learning Center, located in Porter, Indiana, unveiled a new propane-powered school bus that will be used to transport students to and from its environmental education programs.

The vehicle purchase was made possible through a $75,000 grant acquired in partnership with Dunes Learning Center, South Shore Clean Cities and the Regional Development Authority, as well as funds from donors and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

“The propane school bus is helping us fulfill our mission in a number of ways,” says Geof Benson, executive director of the Dunes Learning Center. “It allows us to more efficiently transport students to our outdoor classrooms while being good stewards of the Earth by using a sustainable fuel. We are grateful to all of our partners for their help in making this project possible.”

Dunes Learning Center previously rented diesel-fueled school buses to transport students participating in programs to outdoor environmental education sites within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. These buses commuted from Gary, Indiana, to transport students to and from educational programs.

Several years ago, the Dunes Learning Center received a Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Program grant from the Federal Transit Authority for the purchase of 16-passenger propane shuttle buses, but additional help was needed, according to the center.

“The shuttle buses are propane-powered, so they don’t pollute as much and they are housed at our facility so they’re not having to commute from Gary,” Benson says. “We’re reducing diesel emissions and successfully moving people around, but we still needed a large bus.”

Dunes Learning Center, in cooperation with South Shore Clean Cities, successfully applied for a grant through the Regional Development Authority to assist with the purchase of a 72-passenger propane-powered school bus, the center says. The grant was awarded in late 2017. The Dunes Learning Center also received a Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission for the construction and installation of a propane fueling station for the shuttle buses.

“Indiana Dunes is very excited to have our partners at the Dunes Learning Center expand their bus fleet with a new 72-passenger bus now available to transport campers to various sites around the dunes for education programs,” says Paul Labovitz, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore superintendent. “Grant assistance via South Shore Clean Cities was critical in helping solve our most basic problem about how to move students around. A propane-fueled bus will deliver thousands of students to National Lakeshore and other public lands sites.”

Featured image: Photo by Bob Yosay/The Vindicator

About the Author:

Clara Richter is the managing editor at LP Gas magazine. Contact her at or 216-363-7920.

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