Trees Forever founding president and CEO Shannon Ramsay says communities across Iowa and Illinois that were impacted by the powerful storm can apply for grants of up to $5,000.
“We want to help communities, neighborhoods, schools replant and replant with the right species,” Ramsay says. “We’re still in the fundraising mode because it’s going to take millions and millions of dollars to replant.”
The program, called Planting Hope, is designed for non-profits, groups conducting planting projects on publicly-owned lands, and for tree and seedling giveaways on private properties.
Grants may also be awarded to educational classroom projects, club or church projects, fruit and nut orchards, school memorials, and cemetery plantings.
“We want to replant the right way and by the right way, the right tree in the right place,” Ramsay says. “We want to plant native trees that will be part of the food web for insects, pollinators, birds, and all the wildlife, as well as shading our neighborhoods and homes.”
The August 10th derecho had winds that peaked around 140-miles an hour — the equivalent of a category-4 hurricane — and it caused at least $13 billion damage, most of it in Iowa. There was much publicity about how larger cities like Cedar Rapids, Marion and Marshalltown lost a tremendous portion of their tree canopies, but smaller towns were equally devastated — or worse.
“Van Horne lost 85% of their trees. There was a huge amount of damage,” Ramsay says. “We will help communities replant along their streets, in their parks, and provide a lot of educational resources on how to take care of those trees.”
Applications are due April 1st for the initial round of grants for the spring planting season, while more funds will be available later, with due dates of June 1st and November 1st. Grant applicants must be in the derecho area, specify the species they’d like to plant, and provide a three-year maintenance plan.
Find an online application at treesforever.org.