Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

‘Branching Out’ to improve the environment

Apr 17, 2018

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


Soon, volunteers and community leaders will be planting trees along the Kewash Nature Trail to help save energy, improve the air, and reduce storm runoff thanks to a partnership between Alliant Energy and Trees Forever’s Branching Out Program.

“Thanks to Branching Out, we are literally planting a better environment while making Washington healthier, more vibrant, and more energy efficient,” Marde McConnell, Washington Tree Committee chair, said.

She said the May 5 event that will be held shortly after the completion of the annual tree giveaway on the Washington square, has been planned by arborist Andy Dahl and Washington County Conservation director Steve Anderson. She said that volunteers will be planting 800 seedlings and 56 containerized trees. She said people wishing to volunteer to be part of the planting can gather at the Kewash Trail parking area across from Custom Impressions.

“We’re proud that over the last 30 years this program has planted more than a million trees and refused/reduced more than 59 million tons of carbon dioxide,” Doug Kopp, president of Alliant Energy, said. “The whole community benefits from these plantings.”

While trees clean the air, they also provide many energy efficiency benefits. Trees shade surfaces such as homes, businesses, streets, sidewalks and parking lots, reducing the heat those surfaces absorb. Trees also cool the surrounding air. Both help keep communities cooler in the summer and reduce cooling energy and peak electrical demand. Trees also help break up cold winter winds and reduce heating energy in the winter months.

“Tree plantings are great opportunities to teach the community and the next generation about the environment,” Shannon Ramsey, Trees Forever founding president and CEO said. “Branching Out plantings are also hands-on lessons where volunteers learn about how trees provide us with so many benefits — from cleaning out air, water and soil to helping homeowners save energy and money.”

Branching Out supports community plantings by providing financial support and technical expertise. This spring, Branching Out is giving more than $150,000 in grants to assist Iowa communities and groups with 38 tree planting projects. Washington is receiving $2,800 for the project.

People wishing to volunteer to assist in the planting can call McConnell at 653-3884 or Trees Forever at 1-800-369-1269 x110.

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