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Working in conjunction with the Ripley County Community Foundation, students from Oldenburg Academy and Milan Elementary School are doing their part to “create a greener tomorrow.”

RIPLEY COUNTY – The Ripley County Community Foundation has a mission to support the overall comprehensive wealth of Ripley County. The Board of Directors is focusing on two forms of wealth in 2021; the environment, and arts and culture.

One way the RCCF is being a champion for the local environment is through a program called “A Greener Tomorrow.” With this program, RCCF hopes to raise awareness for the natural beauty that surrounds us, to preserve the current environmental assets, and to plant species that will sustain the local habitat for future generations.

In April, with the assistance of a committee, RCCF distributed over 300 trees throughout Ripley County. All trees were indigenous to Indiana and included Oak, Red Bud, Elm, Poplar, and 15 other species; they were planted with the assistance of Hillenbrand employees, Milan High School Landscape Management Class, Oldenburg Academy students, and multiple Park and Town Managers. It is the hope that these trees will help sustain the local habitat for generations to come.

RCCF continued working on the environment by planting two pollinator gardens at local schools. The goal of a pollinator garden is to attract bees, butterflies, birds, and more. Students planted Salvia, Butterfly Bushes, Achillea Moonshine, and more to make this goal a reality.

Oldenburg Academy students planted the first pollinator garden in mid-May, where students took the lead in the project. Students found the location, designed the layout, prepped the area, planted, and then finished by mulching.

For the second pollinator garden, planted at Milan Elementary, students in grades K-3 learned the basics of sowing a plant and the importance of providing food for butterflies and honeybees. Students will have the opportunity to see the garden grow and will be able to look back on what they accomplished.

“We hope that this project will instill confidence in children and adults alike to take action to improve their community. Small actions can have large impacts on the environment especially when all of those small actions are pooled together toward a common goal,” said Amy Streator, Executive Director of the Ripley County Community Foundation.

“It was a great opportunity in my first week,” said intern Grace Vanderbur. “The kids were able to be hands on with the project, and a lot of them will get to watch that same garden grow alongside them as they progress through school. That’s the beauty of having it right in the back yard, so to speak.”

The Ripley County Community Foundation has received a $50,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish an endowment fund that will allow RCCF to invest in projects and programs aimed at expanding and protecting the natural landscape by increasing appreciation for, improvements to, and use of the natural environment that surrounds us.

The Ripley County Community Foundation needs to raise $50,000 in matching donations to formally establish the “A Greener Tomorrow Fund.” Donations made to the “A Greener Tomorrow Endowment Fund” will receive a $1 for $1 match. To be eligible to receive the matching funds, donations must be received on or before Dec 31, 2.021 and will be paid on a first come, first served basis.

Those willing to do so can donate online at rccfonline.org; by mailing a check to 13 E. George Street Suite B, Batesville, IN 47006; or by calling the office at (812) 933-1098.

About the RCCF

The Ripley County Community Foundation is a 501©(3) charitable organization that assists donors in building an enduring source of charitable funds to benefit the citizens and qualified organizations of Ripley County.

The Foundation manages 204 funds and $15 million dollars in assets which are used to improve the Community and serve Ripley County residents through various grants and scholarships. The Foundation is dedicated to partnering with and serving the local communities as a trusted source for charitable giving now and forever.

Learn more about the Foundation and how to donate at www.rccfonline.org.

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