Volunteers and community leaders in Huxley are planting trees in their community to provide more shade and save energy. The local effort is part of the statewide Trees Forever and Alliant Energy Branching Out program.

"We’re looking forward to working with Trees Forever and Alliant Energy to plant more trees in Huxley this year," said local project volunteer Selden Spencer. "With their help, we are literally planting a better environment while making Huxley healthier, more vibrant and more energy-efficient."

Planting trees provides more shade and cools the air, helping to lower energy costs and reduce peak electric demand. Trees also provide many other long-term health, economic, social and environmental benefits to the community.

"Trees Forever and Alliant Energy are very excited to support this project, as we know it will provide years and years of beauty and benefits to the community," said Shannon Ramsay, Trees Forever Founding president. "We want to thank our local volunteers for their hard work and their dedication to improving the environment and quality of life in Huxley. Together, we are planting a better tomorrow."

Trees Forever administers the Branching Out program throughout Iowa, providing technical and planning support to participating communities. Alliant Energy funds the overall program, and provides project grants to the communities. This fall the Branching Out program will award $115,050 in grants to assist 25 Iowa communities and groups with tree-planting projects. Huxley will receive $1,000 for its tree-planting project.

"Saving energy is important to everyone, and we believe our investment in tree planting and education will help our customers become more aware of the benefits that trees have to offer," said Tom Aller, president of Alliant Energy’s Interstate Power and Light. "We care about the communities we serve and welcome the opportunity to help them become more energy efficient."

If you would like to volunteer to help plant and care for the trees in Huxley, call Selden Spencer at 515-597-3165 or 515-231-2745 or Trees Forever at 1-800-369-1269 x110.

Branching Out grant applications are accepted throughout the year, but are considered for funding during two grant-making cycles (spring and fall). The next application deadline is Nov. 1 for spring 2014 projects, with award recipients announced in January. For more information, call Trees Forever at 1-800-369-1269 x110, or alliantenergy.com/branchingout or treesforever.org.