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Project Name: Fall Creek Watershed Tree Planting

Location: Indianapolis, IN

Number of Trees: 500

As one can imagine, our larger cities suffer from poor air quality due to emissions from cars, power plants and other sources. Indianapolis, Indiana, is the 13th largest city in the country and one of the 10 worst cities in the country in regards to air quality.

The city has lost 25 percent of its trees in the last few decades, which has aggravated the problem. Just 100 trees can remove two tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year. The more trees a city has, the cleaner its air will be. Beyond their benefit to the city’s air quality, trees also perform a myriad of other functions:

  • Trees help make a city beautiful. This encourages more outdoor recreation, from walking to hiking to biking.
  • Trees support wildlife. Birds, squirrels and other small mammals all use trees for both food and shelter.
  • Trees reduce energy costs. Properly placed trees provide shading and cooling effects in the summer and break up chilling winds in the winter, reducing energy bills. Plus, more shade on the streets means cooler interior car temperatures and more enjoyable walks.
  • Trees prevent flooding. By catching rain on their leaves or absorbing it from the soil into their roots (allowing more rain to penetrate the soil), trees help keep our waterways from overflowing, reducing the strain on combined sewer systems, like the one in Indianapolis.
  • Trees stabilize river and stream banks. Their roots hold soil in place, maintaining bank structure and preventing soil and gravel from entering waterways.

Because of these benefits and many others, Indianapolis is looking to expand its tree canopy in the coming years. American Forests is partnering with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. to help with this goal. In 2012, areas of Indianapolis’ Fall Creek Watershed will receive dozens of new trees and other restoration activities, enhancing the nearby Fall Creek Greenway Trail for recreational and environmental benefits.


This project was supported by our corporate partner, the Alcoa Foundation.

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