BRAZIL, IND. (Dec. 17, 2018) – Zero degrees. Winter weather advisories. School closings. Jack-knifed semis.
Believe it or not, spring is just weeks away.
“Volunteers for the Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch are already facing an ordering deadline for tree saplings to reforest aging wooded areas surrounding the property’s three lakes,” said Scott Minier, deputy executive director of the new statewide camp for future law enforcement officers and at-risk kids.
Minier said spring is an ideal time for the not-for-profits’ volunteers to begin removing old, fallen trees and replacing them with young saplings of various Indiana genus-species.
“Trails and outdoor classrooms will be a big part of our Youth Ranch now under development for middle schoolers from all communities in all counties,” Minier said. “Nature is the ‘N’ among our R.A.N.C.H. lessons to be taught to teens – respect, animals, nature, character and health.”
Minier said sheriffs have set a goal of planting up to 500 trees across the 62-acre property in 2018. “An emphasis will be placed on varying the types of trees, so students can learn to identify those native to our Hoosier state by bark, leaf, flower or fruit.”
For 38 years, Indiana sheriffs and deputies have hosted youth leadership camps for future deputies, police officers and state troopers. The Youth Ranch will be the permanent home for these camps. Funded through business and individual donations, the Youth Ranch hopes to expand the camps to more days per week and more weeks each summer.
Youth Ranch volunteers have worked with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to identify 22 trees of Indiana state parks and reservoirs: American Beech, Black Cherry, Black Locust, Black Walnut, Cottonwood, Eastern Red Bud, Eastern Red Cedar, Flowering Dogwood, Pawpaw, Persimmon, Red Oak, Red Pine, Sassafras, Shagbark Hickory, Slippery Elm, Staghorn Sumac, Sugar Maple, Sycamore, Tulip, White Ash, White Oak and White Pine.
Minier said the Youth Ranch will work with foresters to make certain tree species facing current insect and disease problems will not be introduced into the property’s rolling wooded acreage. To contribute $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford to the tree planting project, please note it on your check and mail the donation to: Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch, 5401 S. East St., Suite 117, Indianapolis, IN 46227.