The Iowa-based Trees Forever organization is holding its annual conference and celebration tomorrow in Ames. Shannon Ramsey is the president of the group, headquartered in Marion, devoted to planting trees statewide.
This year’s theme is “The Fruits of Our Labor!” and events will start with a tour of a central Iowa success story.
“We’re going to tour the National Bear Creek Buffer Site, just north of Ames, where Iowa State University, the Leopold Center, Trees Forever and others have been working for years with a group of farmers on restoring Bear Creek,” Ramsey says. “It’s just a great demonstration of what trees, shrubs and grasses can do to improve water quality.” There will be a series of workshops in the afternoon, followed by an awards banquet.
Ramsey says the keynote speaker will discuss apple trees and his new book focusing on the 14-thousand apple varieties in North America since the 1600s. Ramsey says a panel will zero in on “Edible Incredible” at the event. “We’ve got so much interest in Iowa in local foods,” Ramsey says. “People want to grow at any scale, in their back yard, in a small garden or a commercial scale. We’ll hear from people raising chestnuts, hazelnuts, aronia berries and then, how to cook with some of those things.”
She says the U.S. is now importing more than 90-percent of its chestnuts and hazelnuts, which is a promising niche market for Iowa growers. Learn more about the celebration at: www.treesforever.org/annualcelebration.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)