Waukon Trees Forever receives grant funds for annual tree planting

Volunteers and community leaders in Waukon are scheduled to be planting trees this Saturday, May 2 (see shaded box elsewhere on this same page) that will help save energy, improve air quality, and reduce storm water run-off. The local effort is part of the statewide Trees Forever, in partnership with the Alliant Energy Branching Out program and the Black Hills Energy Power of Trees program.
“We’re looking forward to working with Trees Forever, Alliant Energy and Black Hills Energy to grow our tree canopy in Waukon this year,” said local project volunteer Ken Olson. “With their help, we are literally planting a better environment while making Waukon healthier, more vibrant and more energy efficient.”
Trees Forever administers the Branching Out program throughout Iowa, providing technical and planning support to participating communities. Alliant Energy funds the overall program, and provides project grants to the communities. This spring the Branching Out program is giving $181,923.80 in grants to assist Iowa communities and groups with 44 tree-planting projects. Waukon will receive $1,886.50 for its tree-planting project.
“We are pleased to see communities applying to Branching Out, diversifying the species of trees they plant,” said Shannon Ramsay, Trees Forever Founding President. “A diverse community 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.”
Branching Out grant applications are accepted throughout the year, but are considered for funding during two grant-making cycles (spring and fall). The next application deadline is June 1 for fall 2015 projects, with award recipients announced in August. For more information, call Trees Forever at 1-800-369-1269, x110, or alliantenergy.com/branchingout or treesforever.org.
“By increasing the diversity of the tree populations in Iowa, we’re helping make sure the investment in these natural energy efficiency tools lasts a long time,” said Doug Kopp, President of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility. “Iowans have made a big impact in adding trees to the state.”

The tree-planting project is also possible through the Power of Trees program, a partnership between the Marion-based non-profit Trees Forever organization and Black Hills Energy. Waukon was awarded a grant of $732.70. Black Hills Energy will award $69,000 in grants this year to assist more than 25 Iowa communities and groups with tree-planting projects.
Trees Forever administers Black Hills Energy's Power of Trees community tree-planting program and provides on-site technical assistance for the projects. Black Hills Energy provides grants to selected communities within its service territory. Community volunteers plan and choose planting sites, select species, order trees, enlist local volunteers and raise local matching funds and in-kind contributions. Additional information on the Power of Trees program, and how to apply, is also available at www.treesforever.org and www.blackhillsenergy.com.
"Black Hills Energy's company-wide Power of Trees program is designed to encourage energy efficiency, environmental awareness, sustainability and community stewardship," said Amber Buckingham, Iowa Energy Efficiency Program Manager for Black Hills Energy. "Our partnership with Trees Forever and local community volunteers is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate for great results in the communities we serve."
Trees shade built surfaces such as homes, businesses, streets, sidewalks, and parking lots reducing the heat those surfaces absorb. Trees also cool the surrounding air. Both of these things keep communities cooler in the summer and reduce cooling energy needs and peak electric demand. Trees also help break up cold winter winds and reduce heating energy in the winter months.
"Trees Forever is very excited to participate in this great tree-planting project, and we know it will provide years and years of beauty and benefits to the community," says Ramsay. "We want to thank our local volunteers for their hard work and their dedication to improving the environment and quality of life in Waukon. Together, we are planting a better tomorrow."
Anyone who would like to volunteer to help plant and care for trees in Waukon is asked to call Olson at 563-568-4612 or Trees Forever at 1-800-369-1269, ext. 110.