60,000 new trees could be planted around Iowa through new partnership

Trees Forever Growing Future program manager Aaron Brewer helps a group fill in dirt around their tree after planting it
Trees Forever Growing Future program manager Aaron Brewer helps a group fill in dirt around their tree after planting it along 42nd Street NE in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A new initiative will partner tree planting and a credit union that could translate into 60,000 new trees.

GreenState Credit Union is partnering with Trees Forever, a nonprofit focused on planting and caring for trees, on a three-year initiative called Grow Green to plant a new tree for each new membership in the credit union. The effort is scheduled to begin in early 2020.

“With our new brand, we feel this is an excellent opportunity to make our green state a little greener,” Jim Kelly, GreenState’s chief marketing officer, said in a news release. “Based on past performance, we project to add roughly 60,000 members over the next three years, so we hope for a meaningful impact.”

GreenState was previously University of Iowa Community Credit Union.

GreenState would keep track of the new members, while Trees Forever would work with volunteers and local and statewide officials to coordinate planting the trees in public spaces.

“Trees provide an amazing package of benefits — not only for humans but for all life on planet Earth,” Shannon Ramsay, president and chief executive of Trees Forever, said in a news release. “Trees Forever will focus on native trees in strategic locations for improved air and water quality, wildlife habitat and recreational areas such as parks and along trails.”

The trees would likely go up around the state. The credit union, which has 200,000 members, has locations in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Davenport, Waterloo, Dubuque, Grinnell and areas surrounding many of those communities.

According to the credit union, membership is open to those living or working in Iowa and 10 Illinois counties, as well as University of Iowa student, staff, or alumni, direct relative of a current member or if you join the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children.


Trees Forever, which is based in Marion, has many partnerships to promote tree planting and health and works with various community groups and students on planting initiatives.

“We are really excited about this initiative,” said Jackie Wedeking, communications and marketing manager at Trees Forever. “It is a new partnership, a new program that will allow us to plant more trees.”

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