Des Moines Residents Set Program Record for Trees Being Planted

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DES MOINES, Iowa — The vaccination rollout has caused Iowans to see a glimpse of normalcy in different areas of their lives. For thousands in Des Moines, it has led to a historical amount of trees being planted.

“I feel like people have really been waiting to do something positive and cool in the spring and Mother’s Day. What a cool way to celebrate Mother’s Day, and I think the pandemic definitely created a pent-up demand for doing something fun in spring,” said Shane McQuillan, the Des Moines urban forestry project manager.

More than 2,000 residents participated in the Tiny Trees Program through the city’s forestry division. The free tree event at Polk County River Place was canceled a year ago due to the pandemic. Residents are allowed up to five trees from a preset list to choose from. A total of 10,000 trees were ordered by residents, setting a new program record. Benefits of these trees being planted on private property include increased property value, saving on heating and cooling bills, providing more oxygen and creating additional habitats for wildlife.

“You put a tree in the community and it’s going to benefit yourself and a lot of people into the future. All the trees that we get to sit under in the shade, for heating and cooling and habitats were probably planted by a lot of people a long time ago. It’s a nice thing to pay it forward by planting a tree today,” McQuillan said.

For more information about the program, including signing up or volunteering next year, call Public Works at 515-283-4950.

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