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The popular Trees for Kids grant program will be funding 15 projects to plant 239 landscape-sized trees on school grounds or other public places frequented by youth. An estimated 1,041 youth will be engaged with the outdoors through these projects.
The Trees for Kids grant awards up to $2,500 to purchase trees and mulch to be planted on public property. Youth are required to be engaged in the process, most often helping plant the trees on site.
A USDA Forest Service study found that a large tree planted in the Midwest will provide $3,790 in environmental and other benefits over its lifetime. Trees pay us back through environmental, economic, and health benefits and so much more.
The Trees for Kids grant program, funded 100 percent through donations, has been active for the past 31 years. Trees for Kids is a tree education and planting program for students of all ages across Iowa. Its mission is to promote the value of trees to Iowa’s youth by providing educational materials and opportunities for tree planting and tree care. Trees for Kids grants have assisted in planting more than 1.15 million landscape-sized trees and seedlings in communities across Iowa.
“We’re extremely thankful to the Trees for Kids sponsors for their decades of commitment to this program. Every penny that was donated was passed along to the communities through grants to organizations, schools, county conservation boards, and more to plant landscaped-sized trees on public property like at schools, in city parks, or on county areas,” said Jeff Goerndt, State Forester with the Iowa DNR. “It’s been popular with schools, communities and our partners.”
The Trees for Kids grant program faces an uncertain future after the program sponsors shifted their financial support to other priorities. Goerndt said they will explore new funding sources to continue the popular program.
Iowans who want to help, can send a contribution to the Iowa DNR with a note that the funds should go to the Trees for Kids program. Donations can be sent to Trees for Kids Program c/o Gabriele Edwards, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 502 East Ninth Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034
“This is the primary forestry education piece we have at the DNR. It’s a high demand, high impact program that unfortunately has lost its financial support,”Goerndt said. “Donations are appreciated but without new and hopefully sustainable funding, the program will likely go away.”