With springtime beginning to bloom in Indiana, our bicentennial year is passing fast.
Now is the time for every Hoosier to be involved in marking 200 years of our state’s history and progress. Now is the time to build toward a prosperous future.
Just as the engine of Indiana is fueled by citizens working to move the state forward, so a successful bicentennial observance is powered by the efforts of everyday Hoosiers.
In January, Governor Mike Pence noted in his State of the State speech: “Two hundred years ago this summer, 43 founders gathered beneath an elm tree in Corydon to craft a constitution for a new state they would call Indiana. Over the past two centuries, our state has seen remarkable growth. A population of some 60,000 is now more than 6.5 million. An agrarian economy bound to the great Ohio River has become a global engine of commerce, ingenuity, education and culture.”
Thousands of Hoosiers are already involved in bicentennial activities. If you haven’t yet found a way to participate in Indiana’s special year, we extend a heartfelt invitation to step aboard the bandwagon.
Involvement in the bicentennial is a meaningful contribution to your state. Consider that the most important purpose of the celebration is to leave a lasting legacy for future generations. The Bicentennial Nature Trust, for example, has preserved thousands of acres of land. A new education center at the Indiana State Library scheduled to open this fall will become the first stop for students and other visitors on field trips to the Statehouse.
As of April 8, the Bicentennial Commission has endorsed 1,196 Legacy Projects – with another round of projects to be endorsed May 20. The most recently approved local projects covered 56 counties and included:
• the “Happy Birthday Indiana” project in Hancock County focused on sponsorship of area school activities celebrating the 188th birthday of Hancock County;
• the “Taming the Terrain” four-mile outdoor obstacle race in Jennings County;
• “A Year’s Perspective” scrapbooking project in Pike County; and
• an arts-and-music festival in the city of Batesville, which straddles the Ripley/Franklin county line.
You still have time join your neighbors in these good works or to develop a project of your own in your community.
How about encouraging your business to sponsor a project with a local school? That might be a fourth-grade field trip to the Statehouse, a school play on Indiana history or the purchase of a bison for the “bison-tennial” that local arts students design and decorate.
Or how about volunteering at a state park? Besides 200 years of statehood, after all, we are also celebrating 100 years of our state park system.
Statewide efforts such as the Torch Relay are still accepting volunteers. A resolution adopted last summer, meanwhile, puts special emphasis on bicentennial projects aimed at “enhancing the well-being and health of children.” We encourage you to answer this call to service.
Go to the Indiana Bicentennial Commission’s website at Indiana2016.org and start exploring. Find your own county’s coordinator under the “Resources” tab on the homepage, and reach out to him or her. You also may email the Bicentennial Commission at info@indiana2016.in.gov or, if you prefer, call our staff at 317-234-8686.
In January, Pence said, “On the foundation poured beneath that historic elm, we can proudly say Indiana is not just 200 years old. Indiana is 200 years strong.”
Join us in helping preserve this spirit of Hoosier strength and endurance.