RETREET BLOG

RETREET is a kaleidoscopic group of bicycle and tree enthusiasts with strong backs, sharp minds, and big hearts who volunteer to replant communities whose trees have been lost to natural disaster.


KOKOMO RETREET
November 3rd-5th, 2017
 

On August 24th, 2016, an EF3 tornado struck Kokomo, IN, damaging and destroying homes, apartments, and businesses throughout the city. At the request of Indiana Department of Natural Resources and in partnership with City of Kokomo and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., RETREET organized 47 volunteers representing 6 states, FCA US, and Team Depot to plant 120 trees at 56 homes sites and in Highland Park on Saturday, November 4th, 2017. Funding for the event was provided by The Home Depot Foundation, Heritage, Duke Energy, and Davey Resource Group.

 OUR PLANTING GROUP IN KOKOMO

OUR PLANTING GROUP IN KOKOMO

The week leading up to our planting, members of Team Locate, comprised of employees from Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and Duke Energy, met with each resident to determine planting locations for each tree, taking into account utility lines (above and below), sidewalks, driveways, and building position. Right tree, right place!

 MAP OF PLANTING LOCATIONS FOR KOKOMO RETREET

MAP OF PLANTING LOCATIONS FOR KOKOMO RETREET

On Thursday, November 2nd, the RETREET rig and the RETREETmobile joined forces, as RETREETers from across the U.S. converged in Indianapolis. The following day, they drove to Kokomo to receive trees from Woody Warehouse Nursery and planting supplies from The Home Depot. After offloading the supplies, the merry band of volunteers distributed the material to home sites in anticipation of planting the following day. City of Kokomo Parks and Recreation Department and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., were on site to help.

 THE HOME DEPOT DELIVERS SUPPLIES TO KOKOMO

THE HOME DEPOT DELIVERS SUPPLIES TO KOKOMO

That evening, we hosted a welcome dinner at The Rathskeller for RETREETers, as well as local friends and family. The Rathskeller is located within Athenæum, an ornate, historic building in the Mass Ave area of Indianapolis that was designed and built by Kurt Vonnegut's grandfather, Bernard Vonnegut. The heart of the German community in Indianapolis, The Rathskeller serves up delicious German food and beer, and has a fantastic performance space in the back where our group watch local band Stella Luna perform.

 A NIGHT OUT AT THE RATHSKELLER

A NIGHT OUT AT THE RATHSKELLER

On Saturday, November 4th, our ranks swelled with local volunteers who showed up to plant in Kokomo. Greg Goodnight, the mayor of Kokomo, addressed the gathered crowd, telling them stories of the tornado, the aftermath of that destructive event, and the importance of our efforts to bring a sense of environmental identity back to his community. On the heels of an entertaining tree planting demonstration given by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., small groups headed out to home sites to plant 120 native trees for 56 families.

 A HAPPY FAMILY IN KOKOMO WITH THEIR NEW TREE

A HAPPY FAMILY IN KOKOMO WITH THEIR NEW TREE

Once planting had finished, volunteers returned to Rodgers Pavilion in Highland Park, where dinner was provided by Nameless Catering. Volunteers shared stories from the day and exchanged information with new friends. RETREETers then bid farewell to Kokomo and headed back to Indianapolis for a night out on the town.

The next day, we loaded up the RETREETmobile and drove over to 100 Acres Art and Nature Park, where local RETREETers showed us the grounds, where some incredible installation art pieces and trees were on display. After a warm meal at Yats and a stop for truffles and cocoa at The Best Chocolate, we spent the remainder of the afternoon at Midland Arts & Antique Market. As the reviews suggest, it was a fun place to spend a rainy day. Everyone found a treasure, or two. We made dinner together at our Airbnb that evening to celebrate the birthday of one of our most ardent RETREETers. 

 TAKING A TOUR OF THE ART PARK AT 100 ACRES

TAKING A TOUR OF THE ART PARK AT 100 ACRES

After dropping off a few folks at the airport in the morning, the remainder of our host visited the headquarters of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., where were we given a full tour. It was incredibly impressive to see and a clear model for our future operations. We learned a lot just by seeing what they have built over the past 40 years. KOKOMO RETREET wound down with a walk around Fountain Square and a craft sandwich from Wildwood Market. It was so good, we left a review.

 THE GREEN ROOF ON TOP OF KIBI HEADQUARTERS

THE GREEN ROOF ON TOP OF KIBI HEADQUARTERS

Once back in Dallas, we received a letter from the mayor of Kokomo. It was wonderful to hear how much our planting meant to that community. We look forward to our return!

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