Communities of Trees
Who plants trees in your town? As hazardous, dead trees are removed, who replaces them? Who in your community assures a healthy and growing community forest? Fortunately, a lot of people have taken on these important challenges.Many city leaders, school administrators and teachers have planted trees by taking advantage of the Conservation Department's tree planting cost share program, called Branch Out Missouri (BOM). The Conservation Department began the Branch Out Missouri program in 1991 in recognition of the value that trees have in towns. BOM is a competitive cost-share program designed to encourage planting and maintaining trees in Missouri communities.
"We have a beautiful school campus because we were able to plant trees where few existed" says Dr. Charles Hawkins, assistant principal at Glendale High School, Springfield School District. "Can you imagine what our school will look like in 10 or 15 years?"
A tree planting plan, developed by the Conservation Department, guided Glendale's efforts. Two successful Branch Out Missouri projects allowed the school to plant trees to shade buildings and parking lots, beautify the front of the school and buffer the football field and its noise from the surrounding neighborhood, all within two years.
Dr. Hawkin's says, "Without Branch Out Missouri, the project would have been done in piecemeal fashion, if at all." BOM allowed the school to move forward quickly at little expense.
Branch Out Missouri also allows communities to secure matching funds for limited dollars allocated for landscaping.
The Boone County Sheriff's Department needed that kind of help to plant trees around its new administration building and jail. They had planted a few large trees, along with many seedling trees but didn't have enough money to do much more. Branch Out Missouri dollars allowed the Sheriff's Department to plant additional 8- to 10-foot tall trees.
Captain Beverly Braun, who supervised the project, says she saw instant results. "The planting was such a success and was so visible that the Boone County Commissioners budgeted money to plant more trees the next year." The Sheriff's Department planted this second project on their own. However, it was the Branch Out Missouri planting that made the second project possible. "The grounds look just wonderful," says Braun of the second planting project.
The BOM program provided the city of Centralia a springboard to secure financial support for community tree planting. Like many other towns, Centralia's urban trees are aging and beginning to decline. "Unless new trees were planted, the city's