Dozens of trees removed from the Iowa State University campus in Ames will be turned into gifts crafted by Iowa prison inmates. Ash trees are being cut down on the I.S.U. campus in preparation for the inevitable arrival of the emerald ash borer, a pest that’s sweeping across the upper Midwest and destroying all ash trees.
Iowa Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin says much of the lumber from the those trees will be reworked by inmates in the Iowa Prison Industries program. “A masters level class from the architecture school at Iowa State has approached us about taking these fallen ash trees and converting them into some designs they are going to create,” Baldwin said.
The eventual final products will become gifts for alumni who donate money to the university. Some of the lumber from the ash trees is being turned into furniture, designed by students, for buildings on campus.
Baldwin noted Iowa Prison Industries workers are also creating some of the furniture for the office of new I.S.U. President Steven Leath. A variety of shade trees are being planted to replace the ones being removed from the I.S.U. campus.