GRINNELL, Iowa – When the August 2020 derecho hit Fairview Elementary in Grinnell, over a dozen trees were destroyed. Thursday, students got to take part in the planting of trees to help replace those lost.
The Iowa DNR’s Community Forestry Grant Program helped fund this and 65 other projects in the 27 counties hit hardest by the derecho. Projects had to be on public land as well as having matching funding to qualify for a grant. That’s where the Aherns Family Foundation, with its Imagine Grinnell arm, comes in. Jennifer Cogley, Director of Partner Programs, says, “This grant came up and we were wanting to plant trees with schools and this was the perfect fit to help out the schools, help out the community and plant trees.”
All $250,000 appropriated by the Iowa Legislature was awarded through the grant program. Urban Forestry Program Specialist with the Iowa DNR Gabbi Edwards points out each of the nearly 2,500 trees that will be planted will eventually provide benefits worth over $3700. An added bonus in this case is the sense of pride the students feel after helping plant the trees. “If they’re able to be a part when they’re young, as they grow and they continue to use this school they’ll be able to have that pride to say, ‘I planted that tree when I was in Kindergarten.'”
A variety of trees were planted to help diversify the canopy at Fairview. Autumn is a great time to plant trees as well, as they are able to establish roots before winter. A DNR video shows the steps in about 4 minutes.