DES MOINES - Five Des Moines Area schools will involve their students in the planting and care of 50 new landscape trees paid for by an Iowa Department of Natural Resources Trees For Kids Grant.
Students at Pleasant Hill Elementary, Goodrell Middle School, Hoyt Middle School, Brubaker Elementary, and McKee Education Center will plant shade trees with the assistance of AmeriCorp volunteers working through Iowa Department of Human Rights.
Pleasant Hill will plant a diverse mix of sugar maple, bur oak, swamp white oak, red oak, and red maple. They are preparing for emerald ash borer by increasing diversity and planting to replace existing declining ash and Scotch pine. The trees will provide shade for the playground and reduce storm water runoff. Goodrell Middle school will reduce their cooling costs by planting six species of shade trees near the school building. They will also make sporting events more enjoyable by providing shade near the basketball courts, and soccer and baseball fields.
Brubaker-Hoyt and McKee both plan to create shade areas by the playgrounds and athletic fields. By planting the trees, each school will have a living habitat to learn from and observe. "What better place to discuss the process of photosynthesis or simply read a good book than under a tree?" asked Emma Bruemmer, state urban forester with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau.
Trees for Kids and Trees for Teens are tree education and planting programs targeted to Iowa's elementary and secondary school students. The goal of this program is to educate students about the value of trees and to encourage tree planting projects at schools and other public areas around the state.
"Trees provide us with multitude of benefits and are particularly beneficial to the mental development of youth. Studies have shown that children with access to green spaces score higher on tests of concentration and self-discipline. Additionally, Attention Deficit Disorder symptoms are relieved in some children after spending time in green spaces," said Bruemmer.
Trees for Kids/Trees for Teens is a competitive grant that awards between $1,000 and $5,000 to qualified tree planting projects on school grounds or publicly owned property. Grants applications are available year round, and are awarded in the spring and fall of each year, with over 20 grants awarded each season. If you know of a school in need of trees, call Laura Wagner at the Iowa DNR Forestry Bureau for more information about how to apply for the grant at 515-281-6749.
This unique program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources - Bureau of Forestry, MidAmerican Energy, Black Hills Energy, Alliant Energy, Trees Forever, Iowa Tree Farm Committee, Iowa Woodland Owners Association, Iowa Bankers Association, and Iowa Landscape and Nursery Association.