The Indiana Tree Project website -- theindianatreeproject.org, which launched this week -- offers Hoosiers the opportunity to donate hardwood trees to Indiana's forests for $10 each.
Each tax-deductible donation will allow for the planting and maintenance of one tree.
The project is a joint effort between the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, and the citizens and businesses of Indiana.
"We encourage everyone who loves Indiana's forests to purchase one tree, several trees, a quarter-acre, or even a full acre," Bourke Patton, executive director of the foundation, said. "Families and organizations that love and use Indiana's forests can play a part in helping preserve them for generations to come."
Primary objectives of the Indiana Tree Project are to:
-- Reforest Indiana by planting new hardwood seedlings throughout the state.
-- Restore Indiana lands that have been deforested.
-- Renew Indiana's hardwoods through sustainable forestry practices.
Each $10 donation will cover the cost of a hardwood tree sapling, planting, maintenance and replanting if the tree is harvested at maturity. A portion of the donation will also go toward future land acquisition.
As each acre of donated trees is planted, a new acre of land will be added to our state forests. Donors may choose to donate a plot of trees, such as one-quarter acre for $2,500 or a full acre for $10,000.
Full-acre donations will be marked by a special acknowledgment plaque at the site.
Donors can track the progress of their tree(s) on the program's website. Donors will be issued a unique Tree ID number that will allow them to track the planting date and location of their tree(s) using GPS coordinates.
The Indiana Tree Project is dedicated not only to planting and expanding Indiana's native forests, but also to supporting the state's largest agricultural industry.
"Hardwood trees are critical to the Indiana economy," said John Seifert, Indiana State Forester and director of the DNR Division of Forestry. "The hardwood forestry industry in Indiana has a $17 billion economic impact on our state. Nearly 40,000 Hoosiers are employed in the hardwood forestry industry, and another 92,000 jobs are dependent on it."
The Indiana Tree Project began in 2011 as a partnership between the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Its goal is to plant one million hardwood trees in Indiana forests by the state bicentennial in 2016. More information is available at theindianatreeproject.org.