The Nature Conservancy planted 29,200 trees, reforesting 67 acres in Montgomery County, thanks to a generous donation by the Alcoa Foundation. This reforestation serves as part of Alcoa’s initiative to plant 10 million trees by 2020 worldwide.
After reforestation, the Conservancy transferred the 67-acre property to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to become part of Shades State Park. Best known for its numerous deep and rugged ravines along the south bank of Sugar Creek, the 3,400-acre Shades State Park is located 17 miles southwest of Crawfordsville and has the southern-most extent of eastern hemlock trees.
The upper portions of the 67-acre property include two entrenched ravines on the property that drain through the park into Sugar Creek. The Alcoa-funded project will expand the existing forest block that includes Shades and Turkey Run State Parks as well as neighboring private and public forest lots.
“Forests provide vital health services for both our local communities and our planet,” said Mary McConnell, state director for The Nature Conservancy. “Healthy forests clean the air we breathe, moderate our global climate by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, and play a major role in stabilizing soils. Forests also provide Hoosiers opportunities for popular recreational activities such as hiking and nature walks.”
The shady depths of central Indiana’s forests harbor an astounding plant and animal diversity. The forests surrounding Sugar Creek supply critical habitat for migrating songbirds and hundreds of other animal and plant species.
“Sugar Creek and Shades State Park are amazing and important places,” said McConnell. “Over 50 years ago, the Conservancy’s Indiana Chapter was formed in order to acquire and protect Pine Hills, another visually stunning and biologically rich unit of Shades State Park. This recent addition to Shades brings us full circle with our work on Sugar Creek, and we’re grateful to the Alcoa Foundation for their financial support, which has allowed us to plant trees on the site, benefiting Hoosiers now and for generations to come.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.