Two organizations in Iowa received grants for tree planting projects.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Wright Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation (WFSI) is pleased to announce the grantees from its Spring/ Summer 2021 grant cycle, focused on improving the tree canopy in the Midwest. WFSI has awarded $75,000 to Trees Forever and $50,000 to Friends of Des Moines Parks.

“We’re thrilled to award two organizations who share a common vision of planting trees in derecho-impacted communities to restore and improve the tree canopy and diversification,” says Scott Packard, WFSI chairman. “These projects will have lasting environmental benefits, improving the quality of life for natural habitat and people alike, while also providing volunteer and educational opportunities for the community.”

The award to Trees Forever will support the Planting Hope Program to cover tree plantings and associated care through Growing Futures teen employment program in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, tree plantings and associated technical assistance across the derecho-impacted areas in Iowa and Illinois, and the multi-state TreeKeepers volunteer training program. Trees Forever staff will advise select community partners on species selection, proper planting and maintenance, and ensure long-term monitoring and documentation.

“The goal of the Wright Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation is to ‘move the needle forward on sustainability projects’ and that is just what’s happening here at Trees Forever,” said Kiley Miller, Trees Forever President & CEO. “With the Foundation’s support, our organization is now able to accelerate our dual efforts of helping communities recover from last year’s devastating derecho and also providing job training opportunities to high school students who, we hope, will become the next generation of arborists. I fully expect the Foundation to drive new and powerful collaborations between the agriculture and forestry industries and nonprofits for the benefit of people and the environment.”

WFSI Trees Forever Check Presentation

Friends of Des Moines Parks will source, plant, mulch and maintain as many trees along the Three Lakes Estates Trail as funds allow. Trees will be planted along the trail where it connects the southern portion of the Easter Lake Neighborhood to Easter Lake Park. The new trees will replace thousands of trees lost during the August 10, 2020, derecho. The trees will help improve water quality, provide shade along the trail and help reduce the urban heat island effect. Planting along the stormwater control basins will provide increased natural habitat for birds and insects and aid in efforts to manage the stormwater control features in a more sustainable way.

“On behalf of our entire team, I want to thank the Wright Foundation for awarding us this generous grant,” said Benjamin R. Page, Des Moines Parks and Recreation Director. “These funds will help us to further our derecho recovery efforts and tree canopy replacement work. We look forward to working with the Wright Foundation for years to come.”

WFSI Friends of DM Parks Check Presentation Resized