NeighborWoods Program

(Indianapolis, IN)- Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB) has forged 30 years of partnerships to unite Indianapolis’ neighborhoods, public sectors, philanthropists and local business in ongoing efforts to beautify the city, improve the environment and build community pride.



Category: Creating Synergy

OVERVIEW
KIB blends its longstanding local efforts with newer resources from the Alliance for Community Trees’ NeighborWoods program to increase awareness and community involvement. KIB will leverage its resources to plant 100,000 trees in Indianapolis, with an emphasis on six designated “hot spots” by 2017.
BACKGROUND
Yearly, KIB supports an average of 500 community improvement projects involving 30,000 volunteers. During the past 16 years alone, 1,000 donors have facilitated the planting of 12,000 trees.
Key Programs:
* Trees for Tomorrow: Originally a partnership of Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) and Indy Parks, KIB joined the effort in 1998. IPL donates the trees. KIB manages community planting events. Indy Parks provides tree maintenance. The Trees for Tomorrow program planted over 500 mature trees in local parks and along major roads in 2005 alone.
* Indy Free Tree Program: KIB and Indianapolis Power & Light Company distribute free 3-foot trees on Arbor Day. Stewardship is encouraged, and the public is educated to plant the “Right Tree in the Right Place.” Since 1995, over 300,000 free trees have been given away.
* Youth Corps: A team of youth works during the summer to maintain and preserve NeighborWoods trees.
* Indy Tree Keepers: Volunteers gather on designated workdays from March through November to plant, mulch and water trees.
* NeighborWoods: KIB, in partnership with the City of Indianapolis will plant 100,000 trees (specifically targeting neglected urban areas) over the next 10 years as part of its NeighborWoods program.
The Indianapolis NeighborWoods program envisions increasing the overall tree canopy cover, resulting in air and water quality improvements, a better business environment and rising property values.
Wherever practical, recruited volunteers plant the majority of the trees, fostering community ownership for the project. Contractors plant additional trees in cooperation with property owners and developers.
Neighborhood associations and property owners pledge to maintain the young trees as their contribution to the program. These efforts are backed up by KIB’s Youth Corps and the Indy TreeKeepers programs.
The Indianapolis NeighborWoods program has identified six “hot spots” via computer modeling. The organization’s goal is to increase canopy coverage in those areas to 25 percent within 10 years.
COMPONENTS
Geo Study:
KIB partnered with the Department of Geography at Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). A geographic information system (GIS) helped identify areas where the most benefits could be achieved by planting trees, focusing KIB resources to deliver the greatest impact. Maps graphically depicted locations where high crime, high asthma rates, low tree canopy, and other factors intersected.
Resources:
A partnership with the Alliance for Community Trees (ACT) greatly increases the success rates for NeighborWoods programs like KIB’s. ACT resources include national promotional materials that can be tailored to local situations, tips on planning and event evaluation, and the use of the NeighborWoods logo and related materials to forge a consistent brand. In addition, ACT provides a constant flow of updates and advisories that can help support local efforts.
Funding:
In addition to the public relations and technical support, KIB can apply for grants from ACT. Although being an affiliate member of Keep America Beautiful doesn’t offer any additional funding, it does afford additional credibility and exposure.
Numerous regional corporations, government agencies and local community groups are KIB’s major partners. Founding sponsors include Indianapolis Power & Light Company, Veolia Water, Lilly Endowment, Inc. and the City of Indianapolis. Other major sponsors and partners include The Indianapolis Foundation, an affiliate of Central Indiana Community Foundation; Covanta Energy, Efroymson Fund, a CICF fund; Indianapolis Garden Club, and Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry. All provided funding and support necessary to get KIB’s NeighborWoods program off the ground.
Training and Publications:
NeighborWoods online publications and training programs assist KIB in finding synergy between local and national goals while promoting urban reforestation. KIB passes on the design materials, provides project management.
Public Education Campaign: KIB will incorporate an ongoing public education campaign through direct community engagement, Public Service Announcements, print materials, advertising, and special events in order to create awareness of the benefits of trees.
Community Grants:
KIB expects to award a total of $200,000 in grants in 2007 to neighborhood groups and community associations. KIB awards grants based on:
* Tangible results showing improvement of the urban forest.
* Levels of meaningful community volunteer experiences.
* Agreement to provide long term tree maintenance.
RESULTS
Geo Study:
Cutting-edge scientific expertise from the IUPUI Department of Geography involved the local educational community and continues to build consensus in support of NeighborWoods as a community improvement strategy.
Satellite imagery from the Digital Globe, Quick Bird satellite was made possible through a grant from the Institute for Application of GeoSpatial Technology at Cayuga College in Auburn, NY. Multi-spectral imagery and large scale aerial photography from the Indianapolis Mapping and Geographic Infrastructure System (GIS) helped pinpoint the best locations for tree plantings after taking into account relative income levels, crime rates, zoning, industrial emissions, pediatric asthma rates, street traffic, surface temperatures, tree canopy density and impervious surface density.
Political Support:
October 2006 marked a significant increase in the public’s awareness of the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful campaign and the NeighborWoods program. U.S. Senator Dick Lugar agreed to assume honorary chairmanship of the local NeighborWoods program and joined Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson in a public show of support.
The two leaders, along with students and teachers at Indianapolis Public School #31, planted a 10-foot Black Walnut tree. IPS #31 was chosen because it is located in one of the hot zones. Seventy-five additional trees were planted in the nearby Bates-Hendricks neighborhood during the weekend event.
Goals Set:
2007 marks a new kickoff for the Indianapolis NeighborWoods program. Two thousand trees will be planted by year’s end. Following years’ annual goals ramp up to 15,000 new trees planted in 2015.
LESSONS LEARNED
* The most successful campaigns compile a wide variety of partners at the local, regional, and even national levels.
* Programs like KIB's NeighborWoods depend on local resources to achieve results.
* Maps and data created by an academic partner can build shared understanding about the problems and solutions available, getting more people on board in support.
* KIB’s NeighborWoods program focuses on addressing hot button issues — crime, community cohesion, and asthma — in specific “hot spots.” This approach elevates the program to cut across parochial interests and holds universal appeal.
* Influential political and community leaders will endorse and support tree canopy efforts. Personal appearances/public ceremonies can be used to full advantage through press releases and event promotion to media.
* Look for synergies between national and local agendas. Many stated goals will mesh seamlessly and provide opportunities for partnerships and funding.
* Don’t re-invent the wheel. Use the experience of the e-mail-based NeighborWoods Network to keep stakeholders up to speed on recent events, products and programs.
Contact Information:
Andrew Hart
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
445 N. Pennsylvania Street, Suite 910
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317–223-5183
Fax: 317–264-7565
© 2007 Alliance for Community Trees