Welcome to the second entry of Meet Our Member Organizations, our new series that aims to introduce readers to our member organizations and share information about how they are creating a safer, healthier and more sustainable Iowa. The second organization featured in this series today is Trees Forever.
Trees Forever is a non-profit organization that focuses on planting and caring for trees and the environment. Trees Forever was founded in 1989 by current president and CEO Shannon Ramsay, and provides volunteer engagement, education and advocacy to promote healthy trees, forests and prairies. They are based in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area, and operate in numerous locations across Iowa and Illinois.
“Trees Forever is a hands-on organization that helps communities and volunteers start, implement and sustain projects. We do much more than plant trees,” said Leslie Berckes, Trees Forever’s central Iowa field coordinator. “We also work to improve water quality, promote native plants, diversify urban forests and more though our programs.”
Trees Forever operates in both rural and urban environments. They encourage people to plant a wide range of plants, from homeowners growing various plants in their backyard to farmers diversifying their crops, which benefit both the landowner and Iowa’s environment.
“We encourage rural landowners to plant buffer zones between their farms and rivers to promote clean water and prevent pollution,” Berckes said.
In addition to working with individual landowners, Trees Forever helps to create community forests and encourages community growth. They also produce numerous educational publications and videos, and promote environmental causes.
The Council and Trees Forever have a longstanding successful partnership, and each have grown because of it.
“The Council has helped us stay up-to-date with information we wouldn’t otherwise have access to,” Berckes said. “They have helped us bring our issues to the attention of legislators, and have helped get our message heard.”