Two years ago, a devastating windstorm, known as a derecho, tore through Marshalltown and other parts of Iowa, damaging homes and businesses and uprooting trees.
Trees Forever, Alliant Energy, and local volunteers and partners will work to help restore Marshalltown's tree canopy by planting new trees through the Branching Out program at 9 a.m. Oct. 5 beginning at Riverview Park. The public is invited to participate in the planting event.
Eight trees will be planted at Riverview before volunteers move on to plant trees at Anson and Goldfinch parks and the bike path area of Little League Park. A total of 24 trees will be planted, including hawthorn, Japanese tree lilac, sugar maple, linden and crabapple.
Trees help save energy by both keeping communities cooler in the summer through the shading of buildings, streets, parking lots and sidewalks, and warmer in the winter by breaking up cold winter winds.
"Saving energy is important to everyone, and we believe our investment in tree planting and education will help our customers become more aware of the benefits that trees have to offer," Tom Aller, president of Alliant Energy's Iowa utility, said. "We care about the communities we serve and welcome the opportunity to help them become more energy efficient."
Meredith Borchardt, program manager and field coordinator for Trees Forever, said that the Branching Out efforts in Marshalltown set root years before the destructive straight-line winds hit the community in July 2011.
"The Marshalltown Branching Out group has participated in the Branching Out program in each of its first 20 years," she said, citing more than 1,700 trees that were planted between 1991 and 2010. "We want to celebrate the longevity of the committee and their local accomplishments."
"Trees Forever and Alliant Energy are very excited to support this project, as we know it will provide years and years of beauty and benefits to the community," Trees Forever Founding President Shannon Ramsay said. "We want to thank our local volunteers for their hard work and their dedication to improving the environment and quality of life in Marshalltown. Together, we are planting a better tomorrow."
Riverview Park, 402 Woodland St., is located on the north side of town just off of Highway 14. The planting will begin in the southwest corner of the park. Volunteers should bring their own shovels to help plant and wear appropriate clothing (sturdy footwear and pants, sun and wind protection.) From Highway 14 turn east on Woodland St., take the first left into the park, and then the first right to the community building parking lot.
The Branching Out partnership between Trees Forever and Alliant Energy has resulted in the planting of more than 1.4 million trees in Iowa in the past two decades, for energy conservation and community improvement.
For more information about the Oct. 5 event, contact Meredith Borchardt at 641-430-3854.