Research & Data

Why plant trees? What's so important about native plants? Does it really matter if my street is litter-free?

These are questions we get asked all the time. And they get to the heart of our mission: Are we really making a difference in Indianapolis?

While our staff and volunteers may be nodding their heads "yes," that isn't enough. We are a data-driven organization. We believe in backing up our work, from understanding why kids who spend time in nature are happier and healthier to partnering with leading research universities on our own studies.

Clean streets, happy trees, buzzing pollinators, and smiling volunteers are all the recognition we need. But we're pretty proud of the local, state, national and international awards our programs, staff, community partners, and city have received over the years. Here's a sample of the kudos KIB has received from around the world.

Staff Awards

Heather Maurer, Education Manager (2013 - 2021): 2017 Superintendent Service Award, Washington Township
David Forsell, KIB President (2003 - 2018): 2018 J. Sterling Morton Award for lifetime achievement, Arbor Day Foundation
Nate Faris, Director of Community Forestry (2013 - 2018): 2018 ISA True Professionals of Arboriculture, International Society of Arboriculture

Organizational Awards

Keep America Beautiful, 2017 Affiliate Award of Excellence
Keep America Beautiful, 2015 President's Circle Recognition Award
GuideStar, 2020 Platinum Seal of Transparency
National Arbor Day Foundation, 2011 Award for Excellence in Volunteer Management

program & Project Awards

American Planning Association, Indiana Chapter, 2012 Award for Outstanding Community Initiative (for the St. Clair Place Urban Parks and Farms Lilly Day of Service) 
Indiana Arborist Association, 2012 ISA Gold Leaf Award, for plantings that have a significant impact on their community (2,012 trees planted by 2012)
2012 Super Bowl Host Committee: 1st & Green Challenge Winner, Most Carbon Emissions Reduced
Keep America Beautiful, 2009 National Innovation Award for Beautification, Youth Tree Team

Partner & Volunteer awards

Neighborhoods and Individual Volunteers
Our neighborhood partners and volunteers do extraordinary work. Recipients of the 2018 Mayor's Community Service Awards included leaders in our GreenSpace program and an Adopt-A-Block Captain. Our 2013 spring Great Indy Cleanup focus neighborhood was recognized nationally by Neighborhoods, USA as the Neighborhood of the Year.  And our partners from Pogues Run Art and Nature Park, where we helped plant over 100 trees, won the 2017 Collaborative Spirit Award from the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC); Neighborhoods, USA later awarded them first place in the Multi-Neighborhood Partnership category.

Corporate Partners
Long-term service award, Keep America Beautiful Lady Bird Johnson Award: Sherrie Bossung (Lilly)

Indy Chamber Monumental Awards: Indianapolis Arts Council
Honor Award in Public Art: "Seeds of Light" in Speedway (2016 GreenSpace)
Merit Award in Public Art: "Millersville Marker" in Millersville (2015 GreenSpace)
Indy Chamber Monumental Awards: Achievement Award in Public Art "Merrill Street Platform"

Indiana State Tree Farm Committee
Indiana State Outdoor Lab of the Year: Skiles Test Eco Lab (GreenKids school), the first Marion County school to win in 22 years!

Research awards

IUPUI: 2017 Charles R. Bantz Chancellor's Community Fellowship Award
Dr. Gabriel Filippelli, recognized for work related to lead poisoning research, including citizen science involving KIB’s Urban Naturalists

guiness world records awards

World’s largest chalk pavement art display : 2017 Lilly Global Day of Service; 811 5-foot-by-5-foot squares, or 4,055 feet long
Largest painting by numbers mural : 2008 Lilly Global Day of Service; 14,300 sq. ft. created by 2,409 volunteers

kib headquarters awards

Governor's Award, 2009: Energy Renewable Resources
AIA Indianapolis: Excellence in Architecture, Merit Award, Interior Architecture, KIB Headquarters.
Midwest Construction Magazine: Renovation/Restoration (Small Projects), Best of 2008: The annual contest recognizes excellence in commercial construction and design in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Eastern Missouri.
International Interior Design Association: IDEA Award, First Place for Corporate/Commercial projects, interior design
Monumental Affair: Construction: Achievement (Third Place), Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. Headquarters, Shiel Sexton
Monumental Affair: Innovative Reuse: Honor (First Place) Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. Headquarters, RATIO Architects, Inc.
Monumental Affair: Interior Design: Merit (Second Place), Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. Headquarters, RATIO Architects, Inc.
Monumental Affair: Landscape Architecture: Achievement (Third Place), Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. Headquarters, Synthesis Incorporated

Here's a look at the research informing KIB's mission and major strategic choices to help Indianapolis grow social, environmental, and economic good, as well as the studies that have been informed by data we've collected.

key research partners

Butler University

Indiana University

Purdue University


University of Michigan 

Published research article list

coming soon

green research articles

Lead in Soil Infographic