MYPath Trail Receives Duke Energy Foundation Nature Grant
The MYPath Trail System is the latest recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation for the MYPath New Meadow Biodiversity Project – the next phase of ecological restoration taking place along the West Fork of the White River in Owen County, Indiana.
The MYPath New Meadow Biodiversity Project will transform over 11 acres of abandoned floodplain into a native botanical garden, creating an ecologically diverse habitat for indigenous plant and animal species, including many listed as rare, threatened, or endangered. As a public space, it will provide exciting educational opportunities on the importance of biodiversity and the protection of native species.
Features of the project will include a large wildflower meadow for pollinators (including the Monarch butterfly), native bird and bat houses, the eradication of invasive species, and the development of walking trails throughout the property.
The MYPath New Meadow, located at 1019 River Road in Spencer, was formerly used as farmland. It was acquired by the Owen County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) on behalf of MYPath, through a grant from the Owen County Community Foundation in 2020.
Since then, volunteers from the SWCD and the Friends of MYPath Trail System have removed several dilapidated structures, truckloads of debris, and hundreds of feet of rusted barbed wire fence from the acreage. A half-mile loop trail has been established on the property, which will connect to the existing, mile-long Riverfront Trail via a bridge over Elliston Creek.
The Powerful Communities: Nature Grant is an initiative of the Duke Energy Foundation to invest in programs that will ensure the benefits of nature for future generations. “Duke Energy is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and enhancing opportunities for outdoor recreation in the communities we serve,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Pinegar. “That’s why we’re proud to partner with a number of local organizations that are doing meaningful work in our communities to promote environmental education and to preserve and restore Indiana’s land, water and habitats.”
A previous grant from the Duke Energy Foundation helped to fund the planting of over 3000 native hardwood trees in the floodplain of the White River, adjacent to the trail. This new award will expand on that work, as the MYPath Trail System grows from Spencer towards McCormick’s Creek State Park.
“Native biodiversity is at the heart of a sound ecosystem,” said MYPath Project Coordinator Allie Peot. “We are excited to continue our work of building trails and restoring habitat on this special piece of land.”
The MYPath Trail System is a community partnership led by the Owen County Community Foundation. MYPath welcomes volunteers of all ages and abilities. If you or your organization are interested in being a part of the trail system’s development, please contact MYPath through the Soil and Water Conservation District office at 812-829-2605 or email@example.com.