Statement as issued Tuesday by the Indiana DNR:
Fifteen Indiana cities, towns and non-profits will plant more than 1,700 trees using grant money awarded recently through the DNR’s Community & Urban Forestry (CUF) program.
The plantings will improve the urban tree canopy in Hoosier communities. A healthy urban tree canopy improves water quality, helps communities conserve energy, lowers city temperatures, reduces air pollution and enhances property values.
The national recommendation is that a community’s tree canopy covers 45 percent of its land. The average tree canopy cover in Indiana’s cities and towns is around 24 percent.
“Since it is the canopy of leaves on the trees that drives the ecological benefits, it is imperative that we plant new trees so cities and towns can improve their environmental health,” said Pam Louks, DNR’s CUF Coordinator.
The grants are funded by the USDA Forest Service and administered through CUF, a program within DNR Division of Forestry.
Grant awards went to: Arrowhead Country RC&D for Winamac, $2,000; Dana, $10,600; Evansville, $7,500; Fishers, $10,000; Fort Wayne, $10,500; Goshen, $5,850; Regreening Greenfield, $8,000; Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, $7,500; Kokomo, $5,000; LaPorte, $5,000; Michigan City, $6,000; South Whitley, $4,500; Valparaiso, $10,500; Washington Township/Westfield, $7,500; and West Lafayette, $5,000.
CUF provides free visits to municipalities to assess urban forestry needs, offer assistance to establish an urban forestry management program, and help communities become a Tree City USA. To schedule a visit, contact Louks at (317) 591-1170 or plouks@dnr.IN.gov.