Duke Energy awards $170,000 to protect natural resources

The Duke Energy Foundation recently awarded $170,000 in grants to 14 organizations in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky to fund local wildlife conservation, healthy habitats, environmental projects and environmental programs to help communities protect their natural resources and mitigate the effects of climate change.

This funding is a long-standing investment for the Duke Energy Foundation. Over the past five years, the Foundation has supported more than 40 nonprofit organizations with over $480,000 in grants to propel their environmental resiliency projects. 

President Amy Spiller of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky

“We are committed to investing resources with our community partners to ensure future generations enjoy the benefits of nature and its beauty around us,” said Amy Spiller, president, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “By supporting the organizations that do this important work, we can help protect and restore our natural resources as well as ensure quality environmental programs in our region.”

Thomas More University’s Biology Field Station is one of this year’s recipients that will use the funding to continue its biological and water quality research located in California, Ky.

Another recipient which will partner with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) this year is the Green Umbrella organization, which will use the funds to ensure schools have resources for nature-based play and learning on their grounds. 

2021 Nature Grant Recipients


  • The Boone Conservancy. Funds will be used for the Conservancy Park Habitat Restoration and Wildlife Education Program. The program’s goals are to create healthier habitats for native plants and animals, remove invasive species, and create a viewing platform to promote education.
  • Thomas More University Biology Field Station. The primary goal of this project is to address the number of threats to our aquatic resources like water pollution, harmful algal blooms and habitat destruction. Ultimately this work will lead to insights and solutions that reduce the adverse impacts of stormwater runoff and other environmental issues.


  • Cardinal Land Conservancy. Funds will be used to install a live webcam on the bald eagle nest at the Little Miami Nature Preserve and utilize the opportunity for local K-12 teachers to develop curriculum to bring students to visit and learn at the site.
  • Cincinnati Reds Community Fund will help create a one-of-a-kind outdoor learning center in partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo to sustainably co-manage a 1-acre, biodiverse, living landscape alongside Rockdale Elementary, creating science and horticulture curriculum for students.
  • Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati. Grant funds will allow the Walnut Hills Restoration Board to develop a wetland restoration plan for low-lying areas. Walnut Hills students and volunteers will help with this ongoing project. The addition of a healthy wetland habitat will increase the plant and wildlife biodiversity on-site.
  • Dan Beard Council, Boy Scouts. Camp Friedlander and Camp Michaels will be using funds for the Ecology, Conservation & Erosion Abatement programs. The plan will have scouts and their families participate in hands-on activities to learn about conservation and ecology, including removal of invasive species in the habitat.
  • Gorman Heritage Farm Foundation. Funds will be dedicated to the stream restoration project to improve water quality, reduce erosion, protect habitat, and support biodiversity. The farm strives to educate about agriculture, nutrition, sustainability and the environment on the grounds. 
  • Great Parks Forever. Plans are for the funds to be used to reforest Mustang Fields with an experimental tree planting of a 9-acre land parcel to create new wildlife habitats along the Whitewater River corridor. Results will be used to help guide future reforestation projects in Hamilton County.
  • Green Umbrella. Funds will be used in the Growing Nature at Schools program, focused this year in Bond Hill (Bond Hill Elementary and AMIS) and Walnut Hills (Frederick Douglass Elementary) to create natural outdoor spaces for students.
  • Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District. Grant dollars will be used for the Cooper Creek Demonstration Urban Reforestation Initiative, focused on restoring the ecological integrity to the Cooper Creek. Funds will be used to help plant 250 trees to increase the tree canopy for the long-term improvement of stormwater management.
  • MetroParks of Butler County. Funds will be used for the Line Hill Meadow Restoration Project at Rentschler Forest MetroPark. The project will take the 8.5-acre field that has been overrun with exotic invasive plants and return it to a native prairie and meadow landscape. Signage will be added to help educate park visitors about the impacts of exotic invasive plant species on ecology and wildlife in the area.
  • Mill Creek Alliance. Funds will be used for the Mill Creek Restoration, Public Access, and Water Quality Monitoring programs. Mitigation of a low-head dam on West Fork Mill Creek will help to restore fish access to 35-square miles of habitat and improve water quality. Adding additional access points at other locations on the Mill Creek as well as water quality studies will also be part of the overall plan.
  • Taking Root. Grant money will be used for the Tree For Me Neighborhood Distribution program that helps to inform participants of the specific environmental and health benefits of trees and encourage better stewardship of our tree canopy. Residents can use the new interactive educational tool to see all of the benefits of a new tree on their property and to properly size and reserve their tree for pickup.
  • University of Cincinnati Foundation. Funds will be used for a real-time water quality monitoring system for the Great Miami River. Equipment will be installed to monitor water samples for contaminants. Data will provide managers and researchers means to study water quality changes to various hydrological events like storms and other environmental (contaminant release) events.

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