Marion Independent School District (MISD) students and volunteers were doing their part to help replace some of the trees lost in the August Derecho. During the month of May, twenty trees were planted at Marion High School, Vernon Middle School and Longfellow Elementary thanks to a $2,500 grant from Iowa DNR’s Trees for Kids program.
“When I heard more than 130 trees had been removed from district property following the Derecho, I knew we had to help,” said Marion Independent School Foundation Director Erin Steffen.
Steffen collaborated with MISD Assistant Operations Director Geoff Proffitt, Marion City Arborist Mike Cimprich, and Iowa DNR’s Disaster Recovery Coordinator Nick McGrath to determine planting locations and species. She hopes these twenty trees are just the first step in recovering what was lost.
At Marion High School, students in the Field Biology class planted trees along 15th Street and near the back entrance of the high school. At Vernon Middle School, STEM Club students planted trees near the 4th Avenue entrance and along the Safe Routes to School sidewalk completed by the city last year. At Longfellow Elementary, trees were planted at the front of the building with help from parent Langdon Olson and retired teacher Cynthia Martin. Trees were planted with energy savings in mind, and so they can be viewed from classroom windows, which has shown to improve mental health in students.
The Trees for Kids program is administered by the Iowa DNR and is funded through partnerships with the Iowa Woodland Owners Association, Iowa Tree Farm Committee, Iowa Bankers Association and Trees Forever.