Reforesting Cedar Rapids - 2021

Project Profile

Project Location

Cedar Rapids, IA

Project Operator

Trees Forever

Project Type


Project Credits


Credit Availability


Project Contact

Leslie Berckes

Trees Forever is a non-profit with a three-decade history of success in Iowa. Approximately 1,125 trees will be planted around the City of Cedar Rapids from fall 2019 to fall 2021 by Growing Futures teens and community volunteers. Trees will be planted along city streets in the right-of-way and in city parks. This project combines several community priorities, including:

Storm Recovery

In August 2010, a devastating windstorm known as a derecho swept west to east across Central Iowa, harming more than 700,000 acres of timber. Cedar Rapids in particular was hard hit with the storm toppling or otherwise damaging 65% of the tree canopy with an estimated 669,000 trees lost.

Community Connections and Workforce Development

In 2019, Trees Forever launched a youth-centered worker program called Growing Futures in partnership with Iowa’s two largest cities, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, TransAmerica, Alliant Energy, and Microsoft. The program uses a thoughtfully designed and hands-on approach to give Iowa’s young people needed workplace skills and open doors for them to green careers while, of course, planting more trees. The collaboration looks to engage youth of diverse backgrounds and focus their work on under-resourced communities that lack tree cover and grow a tree canopy that provides real and lasting benefits for generations to come.

Improve Life for Iowans

Trees improve quality of life and are a cornerstone in achieving sustainability goals. The beauty of trees builds a positive sense of community and pride in the places we live. A single mature tree can provide $3,790 in value over its lifetime, a 250% return on investment.

Trees planted as part of this project will provide ecosystem services, also known as co-benefits, when they reach 25 years old. The co-benefits represent a savings of $81,210 per year, and $2,030,250 over the next 25 years.

  • Rain interception: 5,656 m3/year, $40,492 per year
  • Air quality: 0.173 tons/year, $812 per year
  • Energy – cooling (electricity): 168,742 kWh/year, $12,807 per year
  • Energy – heating (natural gas): 2,519,929 kBtu/year, $24,531 per year

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