Trees Forever is wrapping up its annual conference in Ames today to celebrate what it calls Iowa’s Living Roadways. Mark Signs, the organization’s communications director in Marion, says the meeting is designed to recognize the achievements of Iowa’s towns, including those that take part in the Community Visioning program.

Under the program, Trees Forever works with small Iowa towns to help them envision better futures for their communities. They bring in design boards, landscape architects and others to draw up designs and plans for improvements to their roadways and trails. Signs says they’re able to work with about a dozen Iowa communities each year through the program.

“It’s a very extensive program that lasts several months and involves several visits from our staff and the landscape architects,” Signs says. “There’s a lot of outreach to the members of the community who get to participate in the process along the way.”

Throughout the day, there are various speakers and panels that aim to help community groups continue their good works. Signs says, “One of the discussions is a panel of grant writers who will help some of the local community volunteers learn how to write a better grant proposal to get funding for their projects.”

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By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City