So far in 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 $185,000 as of the meeting.
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 $9,475 in 2023.
3. The largest individual donors in 2023, Joy and Bill Marley, were recognized. The largest corporate donor, Eric Wolfe of Prime Real Estate Group, also was introduced.
4. There are 211 members, 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.
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 Trail and 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 Bureau on 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 Bureau to 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 and the Winter Wonderland Lights Festival, which lights 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.
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: