After the August 2020 derecho, Alliant Energy worked around the clock to reconnect customers’ electricity. Now, we’re helping replace lost trees.
If your community was in the path of the August 10th derecho, you know what it’s like to grieve the trees. In Cedar Rapids, a full 50% of the tree canopy was destroyed by the storm.
In the days immediately after the 2020 derecho, everyone focused on survival. Homeowners cleared debris and waited on hold with insurance companies. Alliant Energy employees worked tirelessly to restore power. Our employees and our company together donated $315,000 to help homeowners who needed electrical repairs before they could reconnect to the power grid. When that work was complete, we directed funds to get damaged homes ready for the winter.
Now, we’re ready to grow. With power restored and a difficult winter behind us, we turn our attention to helping communities replace trees. We donated $100,000 to Trees Forever’s Planting Hope program to support ReLeaf Cedar Rapids and other tree adoption programs throughout Iowa.
In addition, Alliant Energy’s Branching Out program will support 45 tree-planting projects in 37 communities across the state – most of them derecho-related. Communities applied for grants of up to $10,000 to fund new trees. Ames, Cedar Rapids, Marshalltown and Mechanicsville are just a few of the towns receiving grants. All told, communities will receive $206,000 in Branching Out grants to purchase and plant new trees in Iowa.
In addition to the funds, communities receive support from Trees Forever to select the best tree species for their area and create a tree-care plan.
“The first thing you notice when you drive into a town that was hit by the derecho are the spaces where the trees used to be,” said Terry Kouba, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company.
Together, we’re filling those spaces with fresh, green hope