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Donor Offers to Help Replant Union Grove Park Donations Needed to Match $5,000 Challenge Grant

February 17, 2012
Northern-Sun Print
An anonymous donor, whose family enjoyed the beautiful landscape and wonderful amenities of Union Grove State Park when she was child, has offered a $5,000 challenge grant to help fund replanting trees and other restoration efforts at the park after it was severely damaged during a summer 2011 wind storm. “If I can look down from heaven in 50 or 100 years, and see a family enjoying the shade of a tree I once helped to plant, then my life will have had a lasting meaning,” states the donor, who lives in east-central Iowa. A fundraising drive has begun to raise the $5,000 needed to obtain the matching grant funds. For every dollar donated to the new Union Grove Park tree campaign, the anonymous donor will match the donation dollar-for-dollar, effectively doubling the impact of those donations. If successful, the fundraiser will result in a total of $10,000 for much-needed replanting and recovery efforts at the park! Trees Forever is administering the Union Grove State Park Recovery Fund and helping with the fundraising campaign. Union Grove State Park, nestled in the rich farmland of western Tama County, has long served as a recreational oasis for thousands of locals and area residents. For generations, park-goers have utilized the park for family picnics, campouts, and other recreational activities. Fishing and boating on the park’s lake is also a favorite past-time, as well as enjoying the wide variety of wildlife and natural areas offered there. On July 11, 2011, a devastating wind storm swept through four east-central Iowa counties, bringing with it sustained straight-line winds in excess of 120 miles-per-hour in places. At Union Grove State Park, trees that had shaded family picnics and campsites for decades came crashing to the ground. An estimated 3,000 trees were destroyed or damaged throughout the park. With the help of many volunteers, the park staff and others from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have already removed most of the downed trees. DNR District Forester Joe Herring has developed a comprehensive planting plan, to ensure greater diversity and a healthier woodland forest over the long term. Park Manager Roger Thompson has already recruited dozens of volunteers who are willing to help plant, water and maintain the new trees. All they need now are the funds to buy the trees and help with overall forest management. As part of Trees Forever’s Recover, Replant & Restore program, Field Coordinator Mark Pingenot and his colleagues have been assisting with the Union Grove recovery and replanting project, as well as several other projects related to last summer’s wind storm event. Last fall, Trees Forever teamed up with the Iowa DNR and other professionals to offer two community workshops to discuss various issues around storm recovery, tree damage and loss, and possible replanting efforts. Dozens of concerned citizens, elected officials, city and county employees and others attended the two workshops. Gladbrook Trees Forever members John and Pat Clausen and Park Manager Thompson are also writing grants to help fund the reforestation efforts at Union Grove State Park. But individual and organizational donations are needed to obtain the $5,000 matching grant funds being offered. Donations to support this worthy cause can be mailed to: Union Grove State Park Recovery Fund c/o Trees Forever, 770 7th Avenue, Marion, IA 52302 For more information about the Union Grove Park fundraising campaign and tree planting project, please contact Trees Forever Field Coordinator Mark Pingenot at (319) 472-3343 or email For more information about this and other Trees Forever programs and projects, please visit Trees Forever is a nonprofit organization based in Marion, IA committed to planting trees, encouraging community involvement and stewardship, and caring for the environment. Programs focus on improving air and water quality, increasing wildlife habitat, providing substantial energy savings and beautifying our landscape. For more information visit or call 800-369-1269.


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