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The Scarlet & Black

Campaign begins to replace trees lost in derecho

The anonymous survey was deployed by the Ahrens Family Foundation and the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation in January, 2022. Photo Contributed.

Imagine Grinnell recently launched its 1000+ Trees Grinnell Initiative, a project that aims to restore the trees lost in Poweshiek and neighboring counties as a result of August’s derecho.

Imagine Grinnell is a partner program of the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation with the mission to “turn imagination into action to create a more vibrant, sustainable and healthy Grinnell.” After viewing a GoFundMe page set up by a Grinnell faculty member to raise money to help plant 500 trees in Grinnell, leaders at Imagine Grinnell recognized the need for their newest initiative.

Jennifer Cogley, an AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) member working with Imagine Grinnell, provided an overview of the plan. The 1000+ Trees Grinnell Initiative is a three-year project with a goal to raise 50,000 dollars to replenish the trees lost in the derecho. Funding for the project will be covered by community donations and grants. Imagine Grinnell has already applied for two grants, one from the Clif Bar Foundation and the other from Aliant Energy.

The scope for the project focuses on residential trees — those in yards, private parks and the rights-of-way between sidewalk and street. The city will handle planting in city parks and public spaces. There is currently a moratorium placed by the city of Grinnell on planting trees in the rights-of-way which will end in 2021, allowing Imagine Grinnell to start planting in the Spring.

The initiative is still in its beginning stages. “First, we’re going to be doing a survey through the chamber offices and through an Imagine Grinnell social media push to kind of establish who would be interested in a tree, who’s lost trees, how many trees were lost,” Cogley said.

Look out for that survey in the next few days on the Imagine Grinnell website and Facebook page.

Imagine Grinnell formed a steering committee of community members, Imagine Grinnell board members, a representative from the city government and an arborist who will provide advice on what types of trees to introduce into Grinnell’s environment.

Committees dedicated to outreach for the project and education about tree care and maintenance have also been formed and are looking for more members from the community. If you are interested in joining, reach out to Cogley at or 641-236-5518 extension 109.

To kick off the project, Imagine Grinnell is hosting an event on Oct. 24. All community members are invited. The plan is to plant several trees around town in a range of private locations such as Ahrens Park, which is utilized by the public but privately owned. For more information on the event and future updates on the project, check out the Imagine Grinnell website and Facebook page.

Volunteers will also be needed to help plant trees starting in the spring, but until then Imagine Grinnell is encouraging community members to donate to help reach their goal of 50,000 dollars. You can donate by going online to the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation website and selecting “Imagine Grinnell” in the drop-down menu when asked to select a fund.

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Nadia Langley, Editor in Chief
Nadia Langley is a fourth year majoring in history and French. Her favorite historical French quote is: "Literally I didn't say that, that's so cray," -- Marie Antoinette, 1793.
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