Jefferson is ‘Branching Out’ with new trees

Support comes from Trees Forever and Alliant Energy

Volunteers and community leaders in Jefferson are planting trees in their town to save energy, improve air quality, and reduce storm water runoff. The local effort is part of the statewide Trees Forever and Alliant Energy Branching Out program.

“We’re looking forward to working with Trees Forever and Alliant Energy to grow our tree canopy in Jefferson this year,” said local project volunteer Brad Riphagen. “With their help, we are literally planting a better environment while making Jefferson healthier, more vibrant and more energy efficient.”

Jefferson will receive $3,000 for its tree-planting project. Trees will be planted Tuesday along Maple St and Madison St. As in previous years, members of the Jefferson tree committee will be assisted by Greene County eighth graders during their science classes.

“We are pleased to see communities applying to Branching Out, diversifying the species of trees they plant,” said Shannon Ramsay, Trees Forever founding president. “Trees are so important for attracting business and shoppers, getting people outdoors and improving our overall health and well-being.”

Trees Forever administers the Branching Out program throughout Iowa, providing technical and planning support to participating communities. Alliant Energy funds the overall program, and provides project grants to the communities. This spring the Branching Out program is giving $164,256.10 in grants to assist Iowa communities and groups with 44 tree-planting projects.

Trees shade built surfaces such as homes, businesses, streets, sidewalks and parking lots- therefore, reducing the heat those surfaces absorb.  Trees also cool the surrounding air.  Both of these things keep communities cooler in the summer and reduce cooling energy needs and peak electric demand. Trees also help break up cold winter winds and reduce heating energy in the winter months.

“By increasing the diversity of the tree populations in Iowa, we’re helping make sure the investment in these natural energy efficiency tools lasts a long time,” said Doug Kopp, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility. “Iowans have made a big impact in adding trees to the state. Since we started Branching Out in 1989, we’ve partnered with communities and organizations to plant more than a million trees.”

Persons would like to volunteer to help plant and care for the trees in Jefferson, can call Riphagen at 515-370-1291 or Trees Forever at 800-369-1269, ext. 110.

Branching Out grant applications are accepted throughout the year, but are considered for funding during two grant-making cycles (spring and fall). The next application deadline is June 1 for fall 2016 projects with award recipients announced in August.


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