Nick Fetty | October 30, 2014
Twenty evergreens and 52 deciduous trees were planted on the campuses of Creston’s high school, middle school, and elementary school as well as the Southern Prairie YMCA, McKinley Park, Graceland Cemetery, and the Southwestern Community College campus. The trees were valued at approximately $9,860 and the “Branching Out” grant (which is a collaboration between Alliant Energy and Trees Forever) provided the funding. Volunteers from the community selected the planting sites, the trees species, and worked on other logistical components of the project.
The Creston FFA has worked on tree planting efforts since 1992 and Southwestern Community College got on board in 2010. This joint effort has led to the planting of nearly 3,000 deciduous trees, more than 700 evergreen trees, and just under 800 shrubs for a combined value of more than $500,000. Additionally, the FFA chapter has also planted more than 100,000 evergreen and deciduous seedlings to provide windbreaks and wildlife habitat in the community.
This fall, the Branching Out program provided $105,585.94 for projects in 23 Iowa communities. Since the Branching Out program started in 1989 more than 1.4 million trees have been planted all across the state. The program aims to plant diverse tree populations in an effort to combat pests such as the emerald ash borer.
Galen Zumbach – an agricultural sciences instructor at Southwestern Community College – recently applied for another grant to plant more trees and will be notified if he is approved next spring.