The Coalition includes Trees Forever, Iowa Woodland Owners Association, Iowa Nut Growers, Iowa Tree Farm Committee, the Iowa Urban Tree Council and Trout Unlimited. Other partners concerned about trees and forests lend their support and voice. The Coalition has a consultant on retainer working on our behalf with a strong presence during the legislative session and throughout the year.
The Coalition for Iowa’s Woodlands and Trees is pushing for a $2 million forest health line item in the 2019 Iowa budget. The $2 million would go toward the Woodland Health Initiative to replant and restore Iowa’s trees and forests by providing grants, technical assistance, and education to an additional 75-100 Iowa communities. Currently, Governor Kim Reynold’s budget has $500,000 allocated to the line item, and tree advocates are asking lawmakers to protect that $500,000, if not increase it.
“We want to emphasis to lawmakers that we can’t afford to keep cutting funding to help Iowa’s trees and forests.” Trees Forever CEO and Founding President Shannon Ramsay said. “Last year, Iowa’s energy efficiency tree planting programs were severely cut following changes to Iowa law. Some of these programs are functioning at roughly 40 percent of what they were last year, and other utilities completely cut their programs. With emerald ash borer in more than half of Iowa’s counties, our tree populations are going down, and we’re not able to keep up with replanting efforts at the rate that trees are dying.”
On Iowa Trees and Forests Day (Thursday, March 21, 2019), tree advocates hung large price tags on eight trees on the Iowa Capitol Campus and used novelty “Old Hickory Jackson” bills as a tool to demonstrate that a tree has both monetary and intrinsic value.
Join us in speaking for the trees by contacting your local representative. Find your state representatives and their contact information by clicking here.