Growing Futures: ‘Leafing’ a legacy for future generations

In 2018, Trees Forever is piloting a comprehensive youth leadership and employment program called Growing Futures, which encompasses three pilot projects listed below. Designed to address critical social, economic, and environmental needs through a thoughtfully designed, hands-on approach, the program will address generational poverty, workforce development needs, provide a path to green careers, and plant more green. 


Growing Futures Tree Teams

Teams of seven to ten teenagers in Des Moines, Iowa, will plant, water and care for the city’s trees. With adult supervision and training, these young people will learn new skills that will position them to be future leaders in the community. The teams will participate in weekly enrichment activities, including resume writing, “green job” experiences, financial literacy training, project management and more.


Growing Futures Woodland Rescue

Woodland Rescue youth leaders in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will work with private landowners to remove and treat invasive species and help with basic woodland management. These individuals will assist landowners with species identification, care and maintenance of new plantings, detailed site plans and more.


Granting a Better Tomorrow Grants

Thanks to our many donors who contribute to the Trees Forever endowment, we are providing funds for projects for the first time from Trees Forever Foundation income. Grants of $100 to $1,500 are available with an emphasis on youth and underserved schools and communities. Click here for more information.

Growing Futures

At Trees Forever, we plant trees and native plants because we want the next generation to inherit a healthy planet, and we think it’s important that young people are active in creating the places where healthy trees will grow – the trees of their future."

-Leslie Berckes, Program Development & Innovation Director


To learn more about the Growing Futures initiative or to support this program, email Leslie or

call 515-681-2295.