CEDAR RAPIDS – Volunteers in communities across Iowa will soon plant a diverse mix of hundreds of trees with the help of Branching Out grants. These grants are awarded through a partnership between Alliant Energy and Trees Forever.
This spring, Branching Out grants will fund 32 tree-planting projects in Iowa. In total, Alliant Energy will award $109,046 to communities to add trees in city parks, campgrounds, playgrounds, along nature trails and at schools.
Trees are a natural source of energy efficiency. They block the sun and provide shade on hot days, and offer a windbreak on cold days.
Unfortunately, trees take many years to reach full maturity. That’s why it’s important to make sure trees planted today will last a long time. With the threat of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), Dutch Elm Disease, Burr Oak Blight, and others, the need for a diverse population of trees is important across Iowa. This year, Branching Out is funding planting projects that include an increased variety of trees to communities.
“We have been working with communities to diversify the species of trees they plant and recent applications to the Branching Out program demonstrate the communities’ commitment to this effort,” said Meredith Borchardt, Trees Forever Program Manager. “A diverse urban forest is the best way to ensure resiliency when faced with threats such as the Emerald Ash Borer, or whatever the next major disease or pest threat might be.”
“By increasing the diversity of the tree populations in Iowa, we’re helping make sure the investment in these natural energy efficiency tools last a long time,” said Tom Aller, President of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility. “Iowans have made a big impact in adding trees to the state. Since we started Branching Out in 1989, we’ve partnered with communities and organizations to plant more than 1.4 million trees and seedlings.”
Alliant Energy provides funding for Branching Out, a nationally recognized program. It partners with Trees Forever and local community leaders to develop and implement public tree-planting projects. The program supports energy efficiency with strategic tree planting projects and designs. It also improves the quality of life, increases environmental awareness, and encourages volunteer involvement.
Communities and organizations receiving awards this spring:
Trees Forever is a nonprofit organization with a mission to plant and care for trees and the environment. Trees Forever has involved over 150,000 volunteers in projects that improve air and water quality, increase wildlife habitat, provide substantial energy savings and beautify our landscape.