Imagine driving through town or walking around your neighborhood, and the trees that framed, shaded and brought life to your community are now gone. For many Iowa communities, this scenario became a reality when a derecho swept through in August 2020.
Soon, about 40 communities in Iowa including Cedar Rapids, Marshalltown, and Ames, will be a lot greener – after receiving grants to plant more than 1600 new trees.
Rebuilding the tree canopy in several towns.
“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.”
The grants from Alliant Energy’s Branching Out, a nationally recognized community grant program, provided more than $200,000 in assistance. Alliant Energy partners with Trees Forever to develop, select and plant a diverse mix of trees.
Trees Forever sends a tree expert to each community to help select the best tree species for their area. They also provide care and maintenance plans to ensure the trees have long, healthy lives.
Planting trees cools the air, lowering energy costs.
“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.”
For over 30 years, Branching Out and Trees Forever have awarded nearly $7.5 million dollars in grants to Iowa communities to plant more than one million trees.
Several communities are planting their trees in spring 2021, with many more plantings planned for the fall. To learn more about the energy efficiency of tree planting and the Branching Out program, visit alliantenergy.com/branchingout.