Help available for land buffers, tree planting and improving water quality

Trees Forever is an organization with a mission to plant and care for trees and the environment by educating organizations and individuals about the need for forests and promoting stewardship of our natural resources.

It’s also becoming common for organizations to create partnerships with Trees Forever as its initiatives gain momentum and, more importantly, the benefits of its mission become clearer.

Trees Forever has created numerous programs across the nation since its inception in 1989, pooling resources from donors and sponsors to fund and assist with grassroots projects.

One such project is the Illinois Buffer Partnership, a program in conjunction with the Illinois Farm Bureau, in which landowners can apply for funds to help create buffer projects on their land.

Farmers, rural land owners and those near watersheds find it a worthwhile program to slow runoff from fields, reduce soil erosion, filter and purify water, increase wildlife habitat, create visual screens, and, in turn, produce more farm income from that land.

When an applicant is accepted for $2,000 in cost-share funds, plus an opportunity to obtain seed at half-price, the landowner is required to host a demonstration day to share their knowledge with other landowners and encourage a buffer project in other regions.

Those interested have until the end of the year to apply for the funds, and will be notified in February if they have been selected as a participating landowner.
Another Trees Forever project in the Midwest is the Iowa Living Roadways Community Visioning program in which small rural communities in Iowa of 10,000 residents or fewer are eligible to get access to professional planning services for landscaping roadsides, entranceways and trails in their communities.

Iowa State University is a partner, providing teams of landscape architects, student interns, faculty and staff to assist in creating concept plans. Once completed, Trees Forever assists in carrying out the projects by providing funding sources or grants available for such work.

Communities that participate benefit greatly from the work of volunteers who are able to include environmental stewardship into concept plans and projects that essentially enhance the beauty and safety of areas in which residents drive, walk or bike daily.

Trees Forever has also made its mark in Iowa communities served by Black Hills Energy Co. with its Black Hills Power of Trees program, which provides matching grants and technical assistance for planting trees in parks, near schools, residential areas, gateways, trails, cemeteries and near libraries.

In addition to providing annual matching grants ranging from $500 to $7,000, Trees Forever helps with species selection, reviewing site plans, planting and caring for the trees, coordinating volunteers, and working with the media and fundraising.


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