Tiny Trees Make a Big Difference

posted by Guest Blogger on Friday, October 29, 2021

Tree truck with volunteers planting trees in the backgroundWhat do you get if you combine the Iowa Environmental Council, Urban Ambassadors, Metro Waste Authority, and the City of Des Moines? A whole lot of trees planted! That is exactly what happened on Friday, October 22. With the help of volunteers from the Iowa Environmental Council, the City of Des Moines now has 50 new trees in the ground, benefitting everyone in the community.

After the derecho wind event in August 2020, Metro Waste Authority gave out grants for tiny trees, which the City was fortunate enough to receive. Taking these smaller trees, Urban Ambassadors transplanted them into a local gravel bed (a type of nursery) and nature did theVolunteers getting explanations about tree growth rest, growing these trees into larger ones. An ongoing project with the City and Urban Ambassadors is trialing tiny trees in the right-of-way, the area between the sidewalk and the road. With adequate protection such as the mulch and fencing provided, they should outgrow similar, larger trees within a few years.

Trees are important for many reasons, however, the people who live and move within an urban forest are vitally important also. Conversations and building relationships (such as this event) are integral to growing and sustaining the urban forest in this city and our surrounding neighborhoods. Planting near Union Park, our hardy (and I noticed dancing at times) volunteers installed a mix of tiny trees and larger trees, working all day to help “tree up” this neighborhood.

Volunteers securing fencing around tiny treeVolunteers combined with local nonprofits is such a rewarding partnership, as the learning and engagement that occurs helps grow any urban forest in many different aspects (trees of course! But…. social, knowledge, future projects, volunteer expertise….. did I mention dancing?). Currently Des Moines has 15,000 vacant spots, so if you are interested in organizing a planting day, visit our website and register for one of our “treeing up” programs. Whether you want one tree or 1,000 trees, we will get you treeing-up areas no problem.

Volunteers planting trees

Finally, if you want to “see” the trees we planted, visit here and you can find out about the trees we planted and any other of the 50,000 + trees in the City of Des Moines. Thanks to all the volunteers, non-profits, friends of trees, and everyone, that helped this planting event suc‘seed’! (I’m a dad now. I can make jokes like that, right?). I look forward to the next one. Cheers!


About the Author

Shane McQuillan headshot

Born in New Zealand, Shane McQuillan started his forestry career throughout the lower east coast of Australia. He spent ten years working in production plantation forestry. He returned to university to complete his BSc in Forestry Science in 2013. Along the way, he married a Chicagoan and started working for Davey Tree as a utility forester. Two years later, he realized Iowa is a much better place to live and started working for the City of Des Moines. Shane was the first person to occupy the Urban Forestry Project Manager position and was recently promoted to City Forester. He enjoys learning about all the different aspects of Public Works and building relationships in and outside the City to better serve its citizens and grow the urban forest.

  1. carbon pollution
  2. climate change
  3. conservation
  4. land stewardship

About The Author

IEC is pleased to welcome guest bloggers on a number of different topics throughout the year. If you are interested in submitting a blog piece to IEC, contact us at iecmail@iaenvironment.org.