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MHS Bobcat Alumni Fund raises over $40K for tree planting

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ The Marshalltown High School Class of 1969 has raised $40,000 toward its $50,000 goal to plant 300-500 trees indigenous to Iowa on private and public land in Marshalltown, to replace the arbors damaged in the July 19 tornado.

In summer 2018, the Marshalltown High School Class of 1969 launched the MHS Bobcat Tree Restoration Fund Drive with the goal of raising $50,000 to plant 300-500 trees indigenous to Iowa on private and public land in Marshalltown, to replace the arbors damaged in the July 19 tornado.

While unable to plant trees in the winter, the group has not remained dormant. It has raised $40,000 toward its goal, thanks to the efforts of its members.

“Our tree restoration fundraising focus is on attracting donations from MHS alumni classes and local Marshalltown businesses,” Alumni Fund Campaign Vice President/Treasurer Lyle Jensen said. “With seven months to go, we may be able to increase our goal to $60,000 and plant 600 Iowa grown trees. We have incorporated MHS Bobcat Alumni Fund, Inc. as a fully registered and approved IRS 501(c)(3).”

The fund drive will go through September 29 and culminate with a MHS All Alumni Picnic Celebration held at Riverview Park. This ambitious project also commemorates the class’ 50th year reunion.

“The MHS Alumni Class of 1969 has taken a leadership role in launching an important legacy project to help restore the canopy of trees that once graced our hometown before the devastating tornado in July,” Jensen said.

Marshalltown City Horticulturist Kristin Titus has worked closely with the alumni group, as well as the local Trees Forever in mapping out what trees should be planted and when.

“We want to look at a long-term approach,” she said. “If we were to plant 500 trees just a couple years apart, something that could happen 30 to 40 years down the road is those trees maturing and declining at the same time, so it’s good to spread out the planting over a period of five to 10 years.”

The MHS Bobcat Tree Restoration Fund Drive has obtained approval for the following:

• A total of 35 trees for the Marshall County Courthouse lawn and county parks

• Fifty trees to be planted at the Iowa Veterans Home

• Fifty trees for use by the City of Marshalltown and Parks and Recreation

• Over 50 trees available working with the Chamber and JBS for the Ward 1 District

• Over 200 trees for the City of Marshalltown/Trees Forever Committee – Terrace Tree Program

“In Memorial” trees with ID marker, amount to be determined

• Private property trees that could honor a loved one or veteran, amount to be determined

Tree planting will begin the week of April 22 to honor Earth Day, with a second planting slated for October.

Jensen’s efforts are being honored by the Iowa Urban Tree Council, which will present him with an outstanding volunteer award on April 3.

“I will be accepting the award on behalf of all of the donors and Marshalltown tree restoration volunteers that are making the project a success,” Jensen said.

People interested in getting involved may visit the class’ Marshalltown Tree Restoration Fund Facebook page. Donations may be made at gofundme.com/marshalltown-tornado-restoration and through PayPal.

Checks are payable to: MHS Bobcat Alumni Fund, c/o Lyle Jensen, P.O. Box 287, Winterset, Iowa 50273. For more information, Jensen may be reached at 515-468-9631 and lylejensen.ia@gmail.com.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611

or sjordan@timesrepublican.com