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2023 Accomplishments

Sorely in need of a name-rebrand, Friends of the Park’s “Annual Member Meeting” is the highlight of each year. On September 28, 2023, the FOTP board hosted more than 40 members on the Houck Covered Bridge for an evening featuring the unveiling of the first of four woodcut prints of Putnam County natural areas and a recap of accomplishments underscoring the importance of the organization.

President Jessica Hartman introduced the board and detailed how Friends of the Park is celebrating both July 4th and the holiday season, expanding trails, creating parks, supporting outdoor recreation events and local teachers who are expanding the nature-related education of the county’s next generation, beautifying the county with murals, and continuing to be the fundraising arm for the county’s Five-Year Outdoor Recreation Master Plan.

2023 Accomplishments - Friends of the Park of Putnam County, Indiana
2023 Accomplishments - Friends of the Park of Putnam County, Indiana
2023 Accomplishments - Friends of the Park of Putnam County, Indiana

2023 accomplishments include:

  1. The county’s Outdoor Recreation Master Plan established a five-year goal for FOTP to end 2026 with an endowment valued at no less than $500,000. The endowment grew from $116,000 on January 1 to more than $219,000 at year-end.
  2. All member gifts over-and-above dues this year and last were applied to the endowment. Those totaled $4,425 in 2022 and more than doubled to $10,925 in 2023.
  3. The largest individual donors in 2023, Joy and Bill Marley, were recognized at the Annual Meeting. The largest corporate donor, Eric Wolfe of Prime Real Estate Group, also was introduced.
  4. There were 230 members in 2023, a record-setter over the 28-year history of this organization.
  5. FOTP again sponsored “Celebrate 4,” the county’s Independence Day celebration, raising nearly $18,000 from local individuals and businesses who supported the July 4 event in Greencastle’s Robe-Ann Park.
  6. FOTP funded 15 $50 grants to teachers in the four school corporations through Putnam Parks & Pathways’ “Windows to the World” program, one that encouraged teachers to create something nature-related outside their classroom windows.
  7. FOTP facilitated the purchase of 1.2 more miles of retired railbed west of Reelsville that will extend People Pathways toward Clay County. Greg Midgley, the president of the National Road Heritage Trailand a Friends of the Park member, was recognized for his $20,000 gift toward this project; and Allison Leer was recognized as working with Greg and Realtor Jana Sillery to complete this purchase.
  8. FOTP partnered with the Convention & Visitors Bureauon an $11,000 contribution to support a park development plan for the 400 acres on the south shore of Glenn Flint Lake.
  9. It also partnered with the Convention & Visitors Bureauto support “Pedal Putnam,” the bike ride series in May, with a $5,000 sponsorship.
  10. The organization grew, becoming the fiscal sponsor for both the Putnam County Mural Project, which will host its second Mural Fest in 2024, and the Winter Wonderland Lights Festival, which for the fourth year lit-up Robe-Ann Park in December. They join FOTP’s other partner organizations: the Putnam Pickleball Players, the Big Walnut Bird Club, the Glenn Flint Lake Park project, “Celebrate 4,” Putnam Parks & Pathways, the Putnam County Cycling Club, and the Penn Railroad Depot/Trailhead Project.
2023 Accomplishments - Friends of the Park of Putnam County, Indiana
2023 Accomplishments - Friends of the Park of Putnam County, Indiana
2023 Accomplishments - Friends of the Park of Putnam County, Indiana

A 2023 accomplishment that brought most attendees to the event is the creativity of Matt Rees, who was awarded an Indiana Arts Commission grant to fund his project of creating one woodcut print each quarter for a year, resulting in four that will depict nature in different areas of Putnam County. The first print was unveiled at the event, appropriately on the Houck Bridge because the area depicted in the first print is the bridge and the Cliff Swallows now living underneath the bypass bridge. Matt then explained his print-making process and unveiled the print.

Purchase your first print in this series of four, by clicking the “Start Your Collection” button below: