MORGAN CO. – Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb, along with Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Dan Bortner and Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF) Executive Director Jody Kress, joined Duke Energy Indiana State President Stan Pinegar and company employees to plant 5,000 trees on Friday, April 22 at Ravinia State Forest in Morgan County.
“Any chance I get to spend time in nature is time well spent,” said First Lady Janet Holcomb.”This event is particularly rewarding because I get to play an active role in preserving our beautiful forests for future generations to enjoy.”
Indiana DNR’s Division of Forestry provided northern red oak, white oak, and walnut trees to volunteers who then planted them on several acres of land on the west end of the park. As the trees mature, they will grow up to 100 feet tall with a life span of 300 to 600 years. The dense forest habitat that volunteers helped create today will provide rich feeding locations and thermal cover for wildlife in the future. The creation of the forest habitat also benefits people, as forested land sequesters carbon dioxide and helps clean the air.
Indiana State Representative Peggy Mayfield, Morgan County Administrator Josh Messmer, and County Commissioners Kenny Hale and Don Adams also participated in the event.
The volunteer effort supports Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s pledge to plant 1 million new trees across the state by 2025. Since launching the ForestIN initiative two years ago, DNR’s Division of Forestry has helped plant 220,200 trees in Hoosier state parks and forests.
“Duke Energy shares the Holcomb Administration’s commitment to protecting and preserving Indiana’s natural resources and we are honored to have Indiana’s First Lady join us today,” said Duke Energy Indiana State President Stan Pinegar. “Volunteerism is an integral part of who we are as a company, and our employees and retirees are proud to take part in this effort to build a better future for our customers and the communities we serve.”
Ravinia State Forest, previously part of the Morgan-Monroe State Forest, is located in Morgan County directly across from Burkhart Creek County Park. It encompasses 1,500 acres of wooded rolling hills and valleys and features opportunities to hike, observe wildlife, and gather nuts, wild berries, and mushrooms.
“The Department of Natural Resources is always striving to enhance and preserve our state’s natural and recreational resources. We are in the memory-making business,” said Indiana DNR Director Dan Bortner. “The 5,000 trees planted today with the First Lady and Duke Energy, and the 1,000,000 we are planting across the state, will help hunting and hiking opportunities here at Ravinia, and the quality of air, and life, for all Hoosiers for generations to come.”
Since Ravinia State Forest was established in 2020, the Duke Energy Foundation has awarded the INRF $150,000 in grant funding to support new features and upgrades. Projects include improvements to three parking lots, two new shelter houses featuring electric service and running water, signage and drainage improvements to the trail system, and the addition of picnic tables and grills, among other features.
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.
Duke Energy Indiana
Duke Energy Indiana, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides about 6,300 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 870,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it Indiana’s largest electric supplier.