Iowa tree planting program for kids receives grant after sponsors pull funding

Iowa News

This Sept. 22, 2021 photo shows mature Atlantic White Cedar trees in Brendan Byrne State Forest in Woodland Township, N.J. New Jersey officials plan to restore 10,000 acres of cedars in what they say is the largest such effort in the U.S. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — The Iowa Trees for Kids grant program will be funding 15 projects for places frequented by youth.  

The project will help plant 239 trees on school grounds or other popular public places for kids, and an estimated 1,041 youth will be engaged through these projects, according to the release. 

The Trees for Kids grant awards up to $2,500 to purchase trees and mulch for planting on public property by the kids, coming at a needed time as the future of the program faces uncertainty.  

“This is the primary forestry education piece we have at the DNR,” said Jeff Goerndt, State Forester with the Iowa DNR, “It’s a high demand, high impact program that unfortunately has lost its financial support. Donations are appreciated but without new and hopefully sustainable funding, the program will likely go away.”  

The program has been active for 31 years and is completely funded by donations. It provides tree education and planting programs for students in Iowa and has assisted in planting more than 1.15 million trees and seedlings throughout Iowa, according to the release.  

“We’re extremely thankful to these Trees for kids sponsors for their decades of commitment to this program,” Said Goerndt, “Every penny that was donated was passed along to the communities through grants to organizations, schools, county conservation boards, and more to plant landscape-sized trees on public property like at schools, in city parks, or on county areas. It’s been popular with schools, communities, and our partners.” 

Donations can be sent to Trees for Kids Program c/o Gabriele Edwards, Iowa Department of Natural resources, 502 E Ninth Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034 

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