Thousands of volunteers will plant 73,000 native trees, shrubs and perennials in the interchanges along a six-mile stretch of I-70, from I-465 to I-65, on Thursday, Oct, 7.
As part of Lilly Global Day of Service, Eli Lilly and Company employees and their partnering organizations will don red t-shirts for their planting duties again this year for the project begun in 2008.
Native species were selected because of their natural look and hardiness. “Native plants have a more untamed look, adding hues and textures of Indiana’s natural landscape,” said Carole C. Copeland, corporate communications manager at Lilly and a volunteer.
However, just like any landscaping project, everyone learned lessons.
“Certain hardy plants that survive well in some landscapes did not do well in the highway setting, so we have adjusted the types of plants that will be installed this year,” she said.
Holt Road was the pilot, to help understand what would work well for the the whole six-mile artery, said David Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful Inc., which coordinates the project.
Forsell said KIB invested a significant amount of time and money to understand soil conditions, improve survivability and promote more flourishing vegetation from day one. (For a list of plants, many of which will work well in the home landscape, visit the hoosiergardener.com)
Improving the Holt Road/I-70 area has been an aspiration of community leaders for years, Copeland said.
“Beauty matters, particularly in an urban context,” said Forsell. “When beauty is absent, we can, in turn, forget its contributions to the environment, to calming our nerves on the morning commute, even to our region’s ability to attract visitors and new businesses.”
Earlier this week, the National Roadside Vegetative Management Association awarded the Best Urban Roadside Project in the United States to KIB and Lilly.
Info about the entire project can be found at a Greener Welcome.
Here’s the list of native plants for the highway project. I-70 Greener Welcome Plant List