Community Foundation Grant Makes It Possible






The world is in jeopardy of losing food crops vital to our survival. Why? Crops need to be pollinated. For many crops, the primary pollinators are bees, butterflies, and birds, which feed off native plants. Pesticide use, bee mites, land development, and landscaping to create attractive lawns and gardens have dramatically decreased the number of native plants. For these reasons, pollinators are dying off. 


“The statistics are rather frightening,” said Lisa Fipps, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement at KHCPL. According to the Pollinator Partnership, “Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1,200 crops. That means that one out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators. If we want to talk dollars and cents, pollinators add $217 billion to the global economy, and honey bees alone are responsible for between $1.2 and $5.4 billion in agricultural productivity in the United States. In addition to the food that we eat, pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife.”


The library is the perfect organization to lead the project, Fipps said. “Our staff creates programs all year long to educate people about a variety of topics. Why not use some of our time to make people aware of the pollinator crisis, educate them about pollinators, and show them the steps they can take to help?” Plus, Fipps noted, the library has space to host programs and presentations. “With the grant from the Community Foundation of Howard County, the only taxpayer dollars funding Grow the Solution Together is for KHCPL staff time to host the programs, but, again, our staff presents a variety of programs every year anyway to benefit the community.” 


A key element of Grow the Solution Together is KHCPL’s native plant giveaway and sales. While supplies last, KHCPL will give one native plant to per family, along with a care guide. Those wanting more than one can purchase additional native plants: one for $2 or three for $5.


“You can plant these beside other flowers or set aside one area for native plants,” Fipps said. “There are several local people who have well-established gardens featuring native plants, and they are also members of the Howard County Master Gardeners’ Association. They’ve been a tremendous help. They’ve educated us so we can educate others. They’re also helping at the plant giveaways and sales.”


Programs KHCPL plans to have in the upcoming year include an expert showing people how to take care of native plants, and a honey tasting and talk about beekeeping. “There will be a lot going on to increase awareness, education, and action,” Fipps said. “We’re even putting together a contest to encourage people to show us how their plants are growing and ways they’ve helped pollinators.”


KHCPL will send out press releases, use social media, and have a dedicated Grow the Solution Together web page to keep people updated about the various programs. In addition, details will be in the quarterly newsletter mailed to the homes in the community.


“It’s difficult to say all that will be involved with Grow the Solution because the more we talk about it, the more ideas people have,” Fipps said. “That’s a good problem to have. Whenever we talked to people, we thought we’d have to persuade them to be a part of Grow the Solution Together. Nothing could be further from the truth. As soon as we said, ‘We want to help save pollinators and increase the number of native plants in the community,’ people said, ‘Count us in.’ And, ‘I’m so glad the library’s doing this. This is so needed.’ ” 


So far, community partners include the Howard County Master Gardeners’ Association, Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Purdue Extension, Howard County Soil & Water Conservation District, City of Kokomo Parks & Recreation Department, Bon Air Middle School, Carver Center, Kokomo Housing Authority, and The Living Garden. 


“We would be happy to partner with other organizations that want to help save pollinators and increase native plants,” Fipps said, adding all they have to do is call her at 765.626.0807.


“Grow the Solution Together empowers us to act locally while thinking globally,” said KHCPL Director Faith Brautigam. “I am excited about the impact this project will have on our community, in growing understanding and encouraging action. The broad partnerships will play a major role because they will help us to reach a diverse group of residents. Our community will have the privilege of looking at a worldwide issue that could potentially affect our food supply. I am especially grateful to the Community Foundation of Howard County for catching our vision and providing funding for the project.”


“It’s exciting that KHCPL will spearhead the only community collaboration focused on this issue that we know of in the state to date,” Fipps said.







Get YOUR free native plant and have a chance to buy more during one of KHCPL’s giveaway/sale dates:

* 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, May 8, Community Garage Sale, at Kokomo Beach

* 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 9, Farmers' Market, corner of Washington and Mulberry streets

* 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 16, Farmers' Market, corner of Washington and Mulberry streets

* 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, May 30, Farmers' Market, corner of Washington and Mulberry streets

* 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, June 1, Summer Reading Club kickoff party, KHCPL South

* 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, June 4, Summer Reading Club kickoff party, KHCPL Main

* 5:30 to 8 p.m., Friday, June 5, First Fridays/Strawberry Festival, KHCPL Main

One FREE native plant per family. All other native plants $2 each or 3 for $5

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A very family-friendly, fun, and scenic 5k run and walk with all things Rudolph. You start and end at the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library and journey through Foster Park. Christmas music is just one element that livens up your December morning. Once back at the library, enjoy healthy snacks and hot chocolate. You could win one of 10 fabulous door prizes, including a Garmin Forerunner. THEN comes the awarding of the trophies. Trophies, sponsored by Salin Bank, will be awarded to the top overall male and female finishers in the run and in the walk, and to the top male and female runners in each of the following age groups: 0-12; 13-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; and 60+. In addition, trophies will be awarded to the overall fastest walker in each of the following age groups: 0-18; 19-35; 36-54; and 55+.

And when it comes to trophies and medals, we do them right. Check out these from last year.



Notice all the smiles? That's because ticket price includes a blinking Rudolph nose, reindeer antlers, snacks, and a long-sleeve T-shirt. The first 175 finishers get a medal! So what are you waiting for? Register TODAY and $ave with our Early Bird special!!! (The fees go up on Nov. 16, folks.)

Choose one of three easy ways to register:

1. Online through Eventbrite at

2. In person at KHCPL Main, South, or Russiaville.

3. Download the forms below, slip them into an envelope, along with a check made out to KHCPL and the words FUN RUN on the memo line, and mail to: Lisa Fipps, KHCPL Main, 220 N. Union St., Kokomo, IN 46901.

BY-THE-WAY NOTES: To receive a T-shirt for race day, you must register by Nov. 19. We have youth, adult, and plus sizes to 5XL. There is an additional $2 fee for sizes 2XL-5XL. Dogs on leashes that are well-controlled and up-to-date on their vaccines are welcome. No rain/weather date. No refunds. If you pay online with the third-party vendor not affiliated with KHCPL, Eventbrite, you will sign your waiver to participate on race day. Or you can find it below, sign it, and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before Dec. 3.

Questions? Call Lisa at 765.626.0807 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .