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Trees Forever and Alliant Energy hold Branching Out event in Grinnell

Project will diversify City Park trees

GRINNELL (April 15, 2014) - The Trees Forever and Alliant Energy Branching Out program is looking to the future with a tree-planting event in Grinnell.

Neighborhood residents, city staff, students and other community members will join together on Wednesday, May 7, to help with a project at Van Horn Park, where a diverse mix of trees, including oak, bald cypress, and Kentucky coffee tree, will be planted. The public is invited to participate.

The Branching Out partnership between Alliant Energy and Trees Forever has resulted in the planting of more than a million trees in Iowa during the past two plus decades for energy conservation and community improvement. The tree planting is also one of 25 special events held this year to mark the 25th anniversary of Trees Forever, which was founded in 1989.

"Trees Forever is very excited to support this project, as we know it will provide years and years of beauty and benefits to the community," said Shannon Ramsay, Trees Forever Founding President and CEO. "We want to thank our local volunteers for their hard work and their dedication to improving the environment and quality of life in Grinnell. Together, we are planting a better tomorrow."

"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. "Iowans have made a big impact in adding trees to the state. Since we started Branching Out in 1989, we've partnered with communities and organizations to plant more than 1.4 million trees and seedlings."

Leslie Berckes, the Trees Forever Field Coordinator coordinating this planting, notes that trees help save energy by keeping communities cooler in the summer by shading buildings, streets, parking lots and sidewalks, and warmer in the winter by breaking up cold winter winds. Berckes said the plantings in Grinnell will diversify the tree species growing in Van Horn Park in anticipation of the 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: Grinnell Branching Out tree planting
* When: Wednesday, May 7, beginning at 9 a.m. (Rain date is May 12.)
* Where: Meet at Van Horn Park, Spencer Street between 15th and 16th Avenue, north side of Grinnell.
* Other: Volunteers should bring their own shovels, work gloves, and wear appropriate clothing (sturdy footwear and pants, sun and wind protection.)

For more information, contact Leslie Berckes, 515-281-4791, and see:

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Trees Forever is a nonprofit organization based in Marion, IA committed to planting trees, encouraging community involvement and stewardship, and caring for the environment. Programs focus on improving air and water quality, increasing wildlife habitat, providing substantial energy savings and beautifying our landscape. For more information visit or call 800-369-1269.

Alliant Energy Corporation's utility subsidiary in Iowa and Minnesota is Interstate Power and Light (IPL). IPL utilizes the trade name of Alliant Energy. The Iowa and Minnesota utility is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and provides electric service to 525,000 customers and natural gas service to 233,000 customers in more than 700. Alliant Energy is committed to providing the energy and exceptional service its customers and communities expect - safely, reliably, and affordably. Visit or call 1-866-ALLIANT (866-255-4268).

Leslie Berckes




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