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Grinnell nonprofit hopes to plant 1,000 trees after August derecho

Imagine Grinnell estimates the city lost 30% of its tree canopy in the storm.

GRINNELL, Iowa — 30% of the canopy is a staggering figure. 

Typically when we talk about tree loss, we call it irreplaceable

While that may hold true in terms of their age and stature, one group in Grinnell is working to make sure the loss doesn't become permanent.

"We were not prepared for this. I don't think anyone was," said Kendra Vincent, a board member with the nonprofit Imagine Grinnell. "So really you just had to rely on the people next to you." 

Cleanup from the Aug. 10 derecho in Grinnell hasn't happened overnight.

Nearly two months later, there's still more work to do. 

Part of that work involves replacing what was lost, including the huge number of trees severely damaged, or even totally uprooted, all across town. 

"It's been very sad to see what this new landscape of the community looks like, but it's also a chance that we can make it even better moving forward," Vincent said.

Imagine Grinnell's new 1,000+ Trees Project was born just a few weeks ago, with a goal of planting hundreds of trees throughout the city over the next three to five years. 

It comes with a price tag of $50,000 over the next few years. To accomplish this goal, Imagine Grinnell is hoping to raise $10,000 by the end of October.

Currently, the plan is to begin purchasing and planting trees in the spring of 2021.

It's certainly a massive undertaking for the non-profit, especially when concerns about future storms still linger, even months after the face of Grinnell was completely changed. 

Regardless, Vincent said Grinnell is full of resilient people who will continue to press forward in the face of adversity. 

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