Oak savanna will be restored on 25 acres of Prophetstown State Park, thanks to a $20,000 grant presented by the Duke Energy Foundation to the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF) on site today.
“We appreciate the generosity of the Duke Energy Foundation,” said Jody Kress, executive director of the INRF. “It’s great working with partners who are committed to conservation efforts throughout Indiana.”
The grant, which will be executed by the DNR, will be used to purchase an estimated 225 trees, plant and maintain them. While the INRF accepted the grant, the DNR will do the work it funds, with help from volunteers from Duke Energy.
“This grant will help us continue to restore the oak savanna habitat, just as we have been restoring the prairie and wetland habitats found at the park,” said Jason Getz, Prophetstown property manager. “With a grant like this, we are now able to put a large amount of native oak-hickory trees in the ground to enhance wildlife habitat, replace non-native species, and create shady, open woodlands.”
Savannas, also called open oak woodlands, occur along the contact point between forest and prairie. Savannas combine parts of both forest and prairie ecosystems, including scattered oak trees and a ground cover of grasses and flowers. Historically, oak savannas and tallgrass prairies extended into northwestern Indiana. The Native American people who lived along the Tippecanoe and Wabash rivers relied upon these habitats for their daily lives.
A volunteer day during which Duke Energy employees will join Prophetstown staff to help with the restoration is in the works.
Prophetstown State Park (on.IN.gov/prophetstownsp) is at 5545 Swisher Road, West Lafayette, IN 47906.