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Welcoming Campus Innovator Grant

Welcoming Campus Innovator Grant Awarded to Center for Earth and Environmental Science

"Restoring Greenways, Connecting Communities"


The Center for Earth and Environmental Science has been awarded a Welcoming Campus Innovator grant for 2018/19 to support restoration efforts and community engagement along the White River corridor. 

The Lilly ARBOR just south of Michigan Street. (Photograph by V Schmalhofer.)


The project, Restoring Greenways, Connecting Communities, builds on the success of the Lilly ARBOR project.  In 1999, with support from the Lilly Foundation and the City of Indianapolis, CEES initiated the ARBOR project, an experimental reforestation of the floodplain along the east bank of the White River (western edge of the IUPUI campus).  The project received broad support from the IUPUI community, as well as business professionals and community volunteers.  Over the years, the site has evolved into a beautiful greenway.  Restoring Greenways, Connecting Communities builds on that success and is designed to make the ARBOR site more accessible and better connected to neighboring trails, and to make the ARBOR and adjacent sections of the White River Trail more informative/enjoyable for visitors. 

   Twelve species of trees were originally planted as part of the ARBOR project - others have since recruited to the site. Many animals make their home in the ARBOR - it is not uncommon to see beaver-gnawed stumps (right). (Photograph by V Schmalhofer.)  


The project will be conducted along a greenway that forms the western edge of the IUPUI campus and extends from White River State Park, through the ARBOR, to the 10thStreet bridge where it turns to follow Fall Creek to Martin Park at 16thStreet.  As part of the project, educational signage will be installed on trees and iconic landmarks along the greenway.  This will provide visitors with information about the area’s vegetation, history, and the continuing evolution of the land on which the IUPUI campus is located.  The project will also contribute to an integrated network of trails for Indianapolis residents and IUPUI students, staff, and faculty.  The location of the project near Eskanazi Hospital and the VA Medical Center makes the site ideal for patients and hospital staff in need of a quiet natural area for relaxation. 


The ARBOR provides a place to experience nature while in the city. In spring, sections of the ARBOR are carpeted in Lesser Celandine (left). A Great Blue Heron (right) fishes in a sheltered area on the north side of the ARBOR. (Photographs by V Schmalhofer.)


Although CEES will act as the lead organization, the project will be a collaborative effort involving the IUPUI Office of Sustainability and Campus Facilities Services, Engineering Section.  The project also receives the strong endorsement of White River State Park and the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, and support from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) Urban Program. 

The White River Trail runs alongside the ARBOR. (Photograph by V Schmalhofer.)


Launched by Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar in spring 2016, the IUPUI Welcoming Campus Initiative was created to foster an environment that encourages and supports the highest levels of personal and academic achievement among students, staff, and faculty.  It was also designed to make members of the community feel welcomed, inspired, and encouraged to stay on campus.  The initiative is tied to IUPUI's strategic planOur Commitment to Indiana and Beyond, especially to efforts to support student success, faculty and staff development, and community engagement.  The Innovation Fund, established November 2016, provides competitive grants designed to inspire and fund collaborative projects that support the recommendations of the Welcoming Campus Initiative.  Many projects developed during Round II will be showcased during IUPUI's 50th anniversary year (2018-19).


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