The Issue: Depleted Forests Across Indiana
The US Forest Service reports that 200 years ago, more than 85% of Indiana was covered in hardwood forests, creating a dense canopy that stretched across the state. Because the forests' soil was considered excellent farmland, settlers burned, cleared, and depleted the land's natural woodland and nutrients. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources reports just more than 20% of Indiana's land is covered with forest today, representing thousands of acres of lost flora and wildlife-sustaining habitats.
The Campaign: Planting Hardwood Saplings
If this Grassroots campaign raises $600, then The Indiana Tree Project can plant and maintain 60 hardwood tree saplings and partially cover the cost of purchasing land to plant additional trees. Each additional $10 raised will go toward planting and maintaining another sapling and purchasing more land. The Indiana Tree Project aims to plant a total of one million trees to create one thousand acres of new forestland by 2016, the state's bicentennial.
You can follow the progress of this and other Grassroots campaigns at the Groupon Grassroots website.
The Indiana Tree Project
The Indiana Tree Project plants individual seedlings to rebuild and expand Indiana's forests. Though it was only founded a year ago, the organization has committed to planting 12,000 new trees with the support of individual donations, memorial acres, and corporate aid. Renewed forestry can improve air and water quality, prevent soil erosion, and create new habitats for native wildlife. These forests also provide recreational opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing, and they feed the growth of the local economy through forest-product manufacturing.
A team from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources plants hardwood saplings on land owned by the Division of Forestry, working one acre at a time during the spring to allow the natural ecosystem to mature as a unit. After the trees take root, these workers return to water and nourish the trees until they can sustain themselves. When individuals donate trees, they receive a tree ID number that helps them track the planting date and find their tree's acre through GPS technology, enabling them to monitor the progress of the tree's growth.