• by Kirk Gaw

Keeping Up In The Field With Zachary Heck

Making a career in bio-engineering at JF Cardno in Walkerton, Zachary Heck has been aboard for many years. He is a part of the team working as a Field Technician, specializing at their Native Plant Nursery. Cardno can immediately provide native plant, and seed material, from wetland, and prairie seed mixes to the deep-rooted native plants critical for shoreline stabilization and erosion control. If ever we need to save the planet, JF Cardno is there to rehabilitate the natural terrain!

Since 1994 Cardno has operated a full-service native plant and seed nursery in Walkerton, Indiana. This 130-acre operation—which has nearly 30 acres specifically in wetland plant production—provides native seed and plant material and natural bioengineering solutions for restoration and native landscape projects across the U.S.

Zachary Heck and his other Field Team members gather native plant seeds at the Kankakee Marshes and area bogs.

Zachary attended Oregon-Davis Schools in nearby Grovertown. He made many lifelong friends there and still appreciates them. He hangs out with them quite often. He attended from 4th to 9th grade. Because he comes from a military family he grew up living on many military bases and even lived with his oldest brother who was stationed in Hawaii. Zach always thought that he would end up joining the military for a career? But, his passions for the environment brought him to the bio-tech nurseries at the Cardno Greenhouses in Walkerton. Before that he attended part time at Leeward College in Hawaii.

Zach started out at Cardno 7 years ago, and works under the guidance of Robert Allison. Zach said, "My boss Robert has taught me everything it takes to produce native seed, bare roots, and cuttings." To create a successful native landscape or restoration project, it is critical to design, specify, install, and maintain native landscapes with plants most suited to the local environment, so that they become well established and flourish. The greenhouses on Sunset Drive provide the perfect environment. They could even create a new environment on Mars if they wanted to!

Zachary Heck with daughter Hazel touring an area vineyard near Berrien Springs.

Zach is a father. He and long time love Lincy had Hazel, 2 and a half years ago. He thinks "she is absolutely beautiful and amazing!" She is so precious. Lincy, and Zach met at school 12 years ago. They have been dating for 6 years. Zach likes Koontz Lake a lot. If it's taught him anything he said, "it's that I love being near water. No matter where I go in the future I always want to be close to a lake, or river."

One of Zach's hobbies is his passion for growing plants. He keeps a photo journal of progress on Facebook.

Zach's photos from his private garden reveals hearty plants!

Zach's favorite spots around the lake are the beach, the brewery, or just hanging out at his friends'. You may find some of his photos on the internet. He is an avid photographer. Zach taught himself everything he knows about photography. He said, "when I take pictures I just do what I think feels and looks the most natural. Nature is beautiful on it's own. It does most of the work for me. My favorite plants are definitely, any native milkweed (asclepias). I take tons of photos of those. It's amazing if you just stand near a blooming milkweed for just a few minutes! You'll soon find yourself surrounded by amazing wildlife. That's why I love them! And that's why they are so important."

Zachary's passion for the environment is evident in his local photography.

Zachary Heck is a proud environmentalist whose photos reflect the breadth from his journey studying native plants and species. The flora and fauna in and around our vast, temperate, marsh environment of the Kankakee River Valley in the Walkerton area. JF Cardno continues to inspire the World from our community.


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