Gardens and trees ‘for a greener tomorrow’ in Indiana’s Ripley County

Community efforts will see 400 trees and numerous pollinator species plotted on Arbor Day

With Arbor Day approaching, the excitement is tangible throughout Indiana’s Ripley County as community members race to plant trees and install pollinator plots before April 30.

Ripley Youth Outreach, a philanthropic initiative of the Ripley County Community Foundation, is finding ways to sprout joy for the nearly 30,000 residents throughout the central Indiana county. Four pollinator plots will be planted between landmarks such as Osgood Walking Trails, Milan Community Schools, the Town of Oldenburg and potentially others.

With activities limited as of late, the community foundation has seen students and volunteers come together like never before to help cultivate its environment and natural resources.

“It’s refreshing to see people of all ages come together,” says Amy Streator, executive director of Ripley County Community Foundation. “The kids especially are just so excited to get out and do something together with the added benefit of it having long-term impact.”

A total of 20 tree species will be planted throughout the region, including red buds, maples, white pines, pears, and apples, which is certain to beautify the area while reducing its carbon footprint.

The project, called Pollinator Gardens and Trees for a Greener Tomorrow, came about after a community mandate for environmental support was pulled off by enthusiastic high school students. After the community foundation formed partnerships with a local nursery and horticulturist, things started to come together.

The only thing left to secure? Funding.

This year, Enbridge gave $10,200 to the Ripley County Community Foundation as part of our commitment to sustainability in communities near our operations and projects. The funding is providing materials and foliage for the gardens project and approximately half of the 400 indigenous trees.

Community spirit is nothing short of sweet throughout Ripley County, and it’s more than just the nectar and pollen produced by the pollinators that are bound to return to the area.

“We know of at least three different high schools that are letting their kids out for the day on April 30 to get the ground prepared and then plant everything,” says Streator.

The work certainly won’t stop after Arbor Day, however. In nearly a quarter-century of operations, the heavily volunteer-led foundation has granted approximately $15 million back into the county and has built a sizeable endowment for future years.

“Our purpose here is simple—we’re creating a better tomorrow for Ripley County.”

(TOP PHOTO: A community cleanup day in Oldenburg, Indiana, hosted by Ripley Youth Outreach.)