Conner Prairie’s Green Efforts
Conner Prairie was “green” before it was hip to “go green.” Responsible stewardship of the land and recycling have always been top priorities. Our efforts continue today with the installation of a 45 foot-tall wind turbine, 22 solar panels and a 200-acre prairie grassland restoration project. These latest green initiatives help focus visitors’ experiences not only on the historical use of the land, but also on the current-day need to responsibly steward the park’s land resources.
Alternative Energy Sources: Wind Turbine & Solar Panels
Next time you fly above the prairie in the 1859 Balloon Voyage, look down to find solar panels on the rooftop of the Welcome Center and a wind turbine just west of Lenape Indian Camp. These two alternative energy sources feed directly into the power grid at Conner Prairie. Learn about renewable energy first-hand with an up-close view of the wind turbine at work.
Conner Prairie guest-blogged for the Indiana Office of Energy Development about our wind turbine installation and future wind and solar energy plans. Read all about it here: Green Energy at Conner Prairie
In 2010, the solar panels produced 4,086 kilowatt hours of energy and the wind turbine put out 2,484 kilowatt hours of energy!
Prairie Restoration Plan
Grassland songbirds, Bobwhite quail and other small creatures will have a beautiful grassland habitat soon on 200 acres of Conner Prairie’s land, most of which is in front of the William Conner Homestead. The first stages of planting include three warm season grasses and 11 types of wildflowers. This project is projected to have a major impact on water quality and habitat restoration in the upper White River watershed and will include access for guests to explore a typical 19th-century Indiana prairie grass habitat. It will take one to two years before the prairie is fully established.
For decades, Conner Prairie has incorporated environmentally sustainable programming into the daily guest experience. In 2008, we began a park-wide recycling program with great success, diverting nearly 24 tons of trash from the landfill. In 2011, we were able to recycle 40 tons, all materials that did not end up in a landfill!
In addition, we also recycle used motor oil and are proud to say most of our janitorial supplies are green products. Every little bit does help.
- 850: The number of acres of land Conner Prairie preserves from development. It’s the largest tract of undeveloped land in Hamilton County.
- 200: The number of acres of farmland to be converted to prairie grass for preservation.
- 6: The number of miles of White River shoreline Conner Prairie preserves. We also partner annually with the White River Clean Up program.
- 131: The number of forested acreage at Conner Prairie.
- 40: The number of tons of potential “trash” diverted from the landfill in 2011 due to our recycling initiatives.
The solar panels and wind turbine were made possible through a matching grant by the Alternative Power and Energy Grant Program through the Indiana Office of Energy Development and the U.S. Department of Energy.
The prairie grass restoration project is being conducted in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service as part of the State Acres for Permanent Wildlife Habitat and Permanent Native Grasses Program.