Duke Energy Foundation awards $190,000 in grants to support environmental initiatives in Indiana communities

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  • Grants awarded to organizations in Bartholomew, Clark, Fountain, Gibson, Hamilton, Hendricks, Henry, Johnson, Monroe, Owen, Shelby, Tippecanoe, Vigo counties.

  • Funding will benefit organizations supporting environmental projects and programs that expand access to outdoor recreation and support water quality, conservation, habitat restoration.

PLAINFIELD, Ind. – The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded 17 grants totaling $190,000 to programs that support a wide range of environmental initiatives across Indiana, including projects to support water quality, conservation, and habitat and forest restoration.

“Duke Energy is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and enhancing opportunities for outdoor recreation in the communities we serve,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Pinegar. “That’s why we’re proud to partner with a number of local organizations that are doing meaningful work in our communities to promote environmental education and to preserve and restore Indiana’s land, water and habitats.”

Over the last five years, the Duke Energy Foundation has awarded 58 grants totaling $946,000 to organizations across Indiana for projects that support environmental responsibility. One of the recipients of a $20,000 grant is the Blue River Community Foundation in Shelby County, which is working to construct a linear park behind the historic Porter Center.

“Through the generosity of Duke Energy, we’re able to enhance and revitalize a portion of the Blue River Trail system behind the historic Porter Center by creating a rest area for trail users and a storybook trail for children. The park will be named after the flour mill that once stood at this site in the 1800s, Shelby Mills,” said Jennifer Jones, executive director of the Blue River Community Foundation. “This project will not only serve as a destination for community use and enjoyment, but also preserve and protect the natural resources in Shelbyville for future generations to enjoy.”

The following organizations were awarded 2021 grants:

  • The Columbus Park Foundation (Bartholomew County)

$10,000 for 200 Trees for 200 Years

The Columbus Park Foundation will partner with the Columbus Department of Parks and Recreation, Bartholomew County School District, Bartholomew County Parks, Bartholomew County Soil & Water Conservation District and Columbus Tree Canopy Partners to plant trees throughout the community. The project will improve shade on sidewalks and trails, diversify the tree canopy, limit storm water runoff and erosion, ensure canopy continuity and improve air quality and neighborhood property.

  • Civil Town of Clarksville (Clark County)

$10,000 for Clarksville Tree Canopy Expansion

Clarksville will use the funding to purchase, plant and maintain approximately 50 trees along the Discovery Trail and Gateway Park.

  • River Heritage Conservancy (Clark County)

$10,000 for Origin Park Blueway Garden

The River Heritage Conservancy will use the funding to create the Origin Park Blueway Garden. This garden will enhance the activation of the Silver Creek Blueway and support local wildlife, including birds and pollinators.

  • Attica Main Street (Fountain County)

$10,000 for Ravine Park, Bridges, and Trails Program

Attica Main Street will use the funding to improve ADA accessibility along the Ravine Park trail by constructing 10 wooden ramps on five bridges and also paving a path.

  • Oakland City University (Gibson County)

$10,000 for Developing the Campus Community Garden

Oakland City University will use the funding to develop and support the Duke Energy Campus Community Garden.

  • Conner Prairie Museum (Hamilton County)

$20,000 for Outdoor Nature Experience and Shoreline Stabilization

With prior financial support from the Duke Energy Foundation, Conner Prairie was able to begin stabilizing a portion of the White River shoreline in 2020. In addition to stabilizing 144 square feet of shoreline where summer campers gain river access, the work also improved drinking water for nearly 538,000 central Indiana residents. This latest round of funding will enable Conner Prairie to continue critical shoreline stabilization work on the Oxbow Trail and support habitat restoration projects.

  • Avon Education Foundation (Hendricks County)

$8,737 for Avon Outdoor Learning Center Garden Rebuild

Duke Energy’s grant funding will be used to rebuild the Avon Outdoor Learning Center, which will enable kindergarten to fourth grade students to learn how to harvest seeds and grow native plants.

  • Parks Foundation of Hendricks City (Hendricks County)

$10,000 for Native Plant Rain Garden at Pecar Park

The Parks Foundation of Hendricks City will use the funding to create a native plant rain garden at Pecar Park. The rain garden will provide efficient water conservation and serve as an educational display for the community to enjoy.

  • Healthy Communities of Henry County (Henry County)

$15,000 for Honey Creek Trail Development

Healthy Communities of Henry County will use the funding to develop and maintain 5.3 miles of multiuse trail.

  • Johnson County Public Library Foundation (Johnson County)

$10,000 for Clark Pleasant Branch Nature Trail and Community Garden

The Johnson County Public Library Foundation will use the funding to help build a new Clark Pleasant Branch in Whiteland, which will feature a nature trail and community garden. The project aims to connect the local community to outdoor trails and local food production.

  • Conservation Law Center (Monroe County)

$10,000 for the Duke Energy "Grass Roots" Conservation Fellowship

The Conservation Law Center will establish a nine-month student fellowship program for students at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. This fellowship will offer students hands-on experience and direct mentorship, as well as provide opportunities to connect with conservation professionals, educate young children and help local communities prepare for environmental challenges.

  • Sycamore Land Trust (Monroe County)

$10,000 for Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve Public Access Enhancement Project

The Sycamore Land Trust will use this funding to expand and enhance the parking area at the Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve in northern Monroe County. They will install a split rail fence around the parking area, as well as a welcome kiosk with educational signage. The Sycamore Land Trust will also replace damaged portions of the wooded boardwalk of the nature trail with new treated lumber.

  • Owen County Community Foundation (Owen County)

$10,000 for MYPath New Meadow Biodiversity Project

The MYPath New Meadow Biodiversity Project will transform over 11 acres of abandoned floodplain along the west fork of the White River into a native botanical garden, creating an ecologically diverse habitat for indigenous plant and animal species, including many listed as rare, threatened or endangered. As a public space, it will provide an invaluable educational opportunity for visitors on the importance of biodiversity and the protection of native species.

  • Blue River Community Foundation (Shelby County)

$20,000 for Shelby Mills

Funding will be used to support the construction of a linear park, named Shelby Mills, located behind the historic Porter Center to encourage trail users to use the west section of the trail system. The project will include tearing out old asphalt parking and transforming the area into both a rest area and a storybook trail that will offer children a lesson in Shelby County history. The area will be filled with native trees, plants, flowers and a raingarden that will allow visitors to learn about the types of plants and elements that benefit the local ecosystem.

  • Wolf Park Inc. (Tippecanoe County)

$10,000 for Creating Conservation Champions

Funding will be used for the design and creation of exhibits that will be installed throughout Wolf Park. Additionally, funds will be used to support youth activities, including the purchase of binoculars and field guides, that encourage them to engage in conservation.

  • Lost Creek Township (Vigo County)

$6,267 for Lost Creek Township Walking Trail Improvement Project

Lost Creek Township will use the funding to make improvements to the current butterfly garden, relocate a walkway and install solar lighting.

  • Shepherds of Griffin Bike Park (Vigo County)

$10,000 for Griffin Bike Park Trail Safety Plan

Shepherds of Griffin Bike Park will use the funding to keep bike trails safe, clean and fresh by repairing wooden features and mending the trails from erosion damage.

Duke Energy Indiana

Duke Energy Indiana, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides about 6,600 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 840,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it Indiana’s largest electric supplier.

Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $2 million annually in charitable gifts to Indiana and is funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars. More information about the foundation and its Powerful Communities program can be found at duke-energy.com/foundation.

Media contact: McKenzie Barbknecht