Branching Out helps Iowa communities replace trees lost to derecho 

Grants support the planting of more than 1,600 new trees

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – March 15, 2021 – Cedar Rapids, Marshalltown and Ames are just a few of the 37 Iowa communities (see full list below) that will soon be greener thanks to grants from Alliant Energy’s Branching Out program. Alliant Energy partners with Trees Forever to help communities develop, select and plant a diverse mix of trees. This year’s funds will help communities plant trees to replace those destroyed by the 2020 derecho or the emerald ash borer.

“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. “As we work to build stronger communities, we’re proud to provide larger grants this year to plant more trees to help rebuild the tree canopy.”

These grants provide $206,000 in assistance. Derecho-affected communities applied for grants up to $10,000 to fund new trees that will save energy and improve the environment. Non-derecho communities were eligible for grants up to $5,000.

In addition to the funds, communities also receive tree-planning support from Trees Forever. A tree expert helps communities select the best species for their area and create a care and maintenance plan to make sure the new trees have long and healthy lives.

“Trees clean our air, water and soil, and improve our physical and mental health,” said Shannon Ramsay, Trees Forever chief executive officer and founding president. “These trees will shade our neighborhoods and homes. Branching Out helps create more vibrant and healthier communities.”

Alliant Energy first partnered with Trees Forever to offer the Branching Out program in 1990. Together, they’ve helped award nearly $7.5 million dollars in grants to Iowa communities to plant more than one million trees.

Several communities will plant their trees this spring, with many more plantings planned for the fall. To learn more about the program, visit