The Lilly ARBOR Project is a Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES) project to develop an outdoor experiential environmental research and education site that teaches principles of science-based environmental stewardship to a host of constituencies. Ecological reforestation of the White River in downtown Indianapolis will help complete the last key component of a conservation corridor through Marion County, Indiana.
The project's research objectives are to a) provide a research site for long-term study of river and river margin (riparian) processes, b) evaluate restoration procedures currently utilized by restoration managers, and c) monitor the long-term (at least 5 years) growth and development of an urban river-margin forest.
The project's educational objectives are to a) increase the number of faculty and students at IUPUI involved in experiential learning, b) engage students in the design, implementation, and monitoring of a restoration project, and c) provide a site for educational outreach for citizens, K-12 educators, and environmental professionals.
CEES has coordinated over several hundred students and community volunteers at the site since initation of the project. Initial phases of the project were planning and planting along eight and a half acres of the river-margin corridor along the White River immediately west of the IUPUI campus. Ongoing phases are monitoring the growth and development of trees and shrubs planted, upkeep in the form of trash removal and signage maitenance, and facilitation of use of the land for research and teaching.
Faculty from at least four IUPUI schools (School of Science, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, School of Liberal Arts, School of Education) have used and/or continue to use the site for teaching and research. The site has been studied, restored, and maintained by a) students participating in service learning courses as well as more advanced courses for majors, b) students from local area high schools and middle schools, c) local community centers, and d) community volunteers under an umbrella of long-term project responsibility and maintenance provided by CEES.