During the week of Oct. 15, the Southwestern Community College Agriculture Department and Creston FFA Chapter students planted 28 evergreens and 37 deciduous trees valued at $10,005 on the SWCC college campus and at McKinley Park and the arboretum located on the Greater Regional Medical Center campus. 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-IP&L 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 membership and Southwestern Community College agriculture students (since 2010) plant 2,902 deciduous trees, 656 evergreen trees and 786 shrubs valued at $534,740 in 101 landscaping projects. The local FFA chapter has also provided the community with 106,300 evergreen and deciduous seedlings to establish windbreaks and wildlife habitats.
According to Galen Zumbach, who was the Creston FFA advisor from 1977-2010 and currently an instructor at SWCC, “The Trees Forever grants have directly resulted in the planting of 1,689 deciduous and 628 evergreen trees worth $206,172.00 since 1992.”
This fall’s planting was one of 28 grants 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 13 evergreens and 38 deciduous trees planted on the SWCC college campus, at McKinley Park and on the high school campus in April, and 28 evergreens and 37 deciduous trees planted on the SWCC college campus, at McKinley Park and the arboretum located on the Greater Regional Medical Center campus last week.
An Alliant Energy “Trees Forever” grant was recently submitted by Zumbach and, if approved, Creston will see trees valued at $10,000 planted on the Creston High School/Middle School, SWCC campuses, Southern Prairie YMCA and McKinley Park. Trees Forever will notify the successful grant applicants January 2014.
"The impact our tree planting projects has on our community might not be obvious today, but it is something future generations will come to appreciate," said Creston FFA Chapter Advisor Kelsey Bailey.
"Our chapter is proud of our long standing relationship with Alliant Energy and its Trees Forever program," said current chapter president Lane Miller. “The impact Alliant Energy has had on Creston is easily seen as one drives through our community.”