Public invited to “Branching Out” tree planting


OTTUMWA—An award-winning partnership that has resulted in the planting of more than 1 million trees in Iowa is working on its second million. “Branching Out,” a Trees Forever and Alliant Energy program, will hold a tree planting event on Friday, October 10 at Douma Elementary.

“By increasing the diversity of the tree populations in Iowa, we’re helping make sure the investment in these natural energy efficiency tools last a long time,” said Doug Kopp, President of Alliant Energy’s Iowa utility. “Branching Out reflects the commitment both Alliant Energy and Trees Forever have made to energy efficiency and the environment by so far planting more than 1.4 million trees and seedlings.”

Students, school staff, volunteers and other community members will join together Oct. 10 to help plant a diverse mix of trees, including oak, black gum, hophornbeam, and more. The public is invited to participate.

The tree-planting at Douma Elementary is particularly noteworthy as one of 25 special events held this year to mark the 25th anniversary of Trees Forever, which was founded in 1989. We started Trees Forever because there was a need to plant more trees, restore forests and be a voice for natural areas,” said Shannon Ramsay, Founding President and CEO. “Our partnership with Alliant Energy started soon after we began and has resulted in energy savings that continue to grow, as the trees grow in size.”

Leslie Berckes, Program Manager & Field Coordinator for Trees Forever, noted that in addition to energy savings, the trees reduce carbon dioxide, improve air quality, decrease storm water runoff and help beautify communities. Berckes said the plantings in Ottumwa will diversify the tree species growing throughout the city in anticipation of emerald ash borer, which is spreading across Iowa and destroying ash trees. Greater diversity decreases the risk that future tree pests and diseases can devastate our rural and community forests as emerald ash borer threatens to do today.


What: Ottumwa Branching Out tree planting

When: Friday, Oct. 10, remarks begin at 12:30pm, planting begins at 1:00pm (Rain date is Oct. 17)

Where: Meet at Douma Elementary, 307 W. Mary Street

Other: Volunteers should bring their own shovels, work gloves, and wear appropriate clothing

(sturdy footwear and pants, sun and wind protection.)

No registration is needed for this free program. For more information, contact Leslie Berckes at

[email protected] or 515-681-2295.