During the last week of April, and the first week of May, the Southwestern Community College agriculture department and Creston FFA Chapter students planted 12 evergreen and 38 deciduous trees valued at $7,740 on the SWCC college campus, Spartan Drive and at McKinley Park. The trees were secured through Alliant Energy’s Trees Forever program.
The Trees Forever program encourages community tree plantings for energy efficiency and environmental awareness throughout Iowa. Alliant Energy provides funding to organizations that can match the grant through in-kind services, labor or monetary means. Trees Forever administers the program and provides technical and on-site assistance. Community volunteers plan and choose sites, select species, order trees and enlist community volunteers. Since the start of Alliant’s Trees Forever program in 1989, more than 1.1 million trees have been planted in communities across Iowa.
Tree planting efforts since 1992 have seen the Creston FFA plant 2,818 deciduous trees, 628 evergreen trees and 786 shrubs valued at $524,740.00 in 98 landscaping projects throughout the Creston community. In addition, the Creston FFA Chapter has provided the community 105,700 evergreen and deciduous seedlings to establish windbreaks and wildlife habitats since 1991.
“The Trees Forever grants have directly resulted in the planting of 1,689 deciduous and 628 evergreen trees worth $206,172.00 since 1992,” said Galen Zumbach, Creston FFA advisor from 1977-2010 and current instructor at SWCC.
This fall’s planting was one of 27 grants, since 1992, the Creston FFA Chapter has been awarded through Alliant Energy’s Trees Forever program.
During the past school year, Zumbach prepared and secured two grants worth $17,737 through Alliant Energy’s Trees Forever program. The two grants saw 50 deciduous and 47 evergreen trees being planted on the SWCC campus and at McKinley Park. Another $7,500 Trees Forever grant, which will plant additional trees in McKinley Park and at the SWCC campus, will be submitted in November with notification from Trees Forever in June, as to whether the grant will be approved.
“The impact our tree planting projects has on our community might not be obvious today,” said Creston FFA Chapter Advisor Kelsey Bailey, “but it is something future generations will come to appreciate.”
Current Chapter President Zach Powers added, “Our chapter is proud of our relationship with Alliant Energy and its Trees Forever program. The impact Alliant Energy has had on beatifying our community is easily seen as one drives through our community.”