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Trees for Kids Grant

Grants to Iowa Nonprofits, Agencies, and School
Districts for Educational Tree Planning Projects

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

03/09/18 4:00 PM Receipt


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Grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 and in-kind support of free seedlings to Iowa school districts, local governments, and nonprofit service organizations for educational tree planting projects involving children, youth, and young adults. First-time applicants are strongly encouraged to schedule a site visit by February 9. Funding may be used for the purchase of trees and mulch.

Educational Requirements:

The purpose of the Trees for Kids program is to educate children, teenagers, and young adults about the importance of trees and their myriad benefits, as well as to offer hands-on planting and maintenance experience. To that end, the program requires youth involvement in planting, mulching, and initial watering for all projects receiving funding. A DNR-led demonstration on proper planting, mulching and watering is required at the beginning of each event, and/or for each group involved in the project; projects that incorporate multiple groups working independently of one another will require multiple demonstrations.

Event Scheduling and Makeup Date:

Applications MUST include specific date and time for your event, as well as an alternative date and time in case of postponement. Because the Trees for Kids program is intended to provide positive experiences for the youth involved, weather events that may compromise such an outcome will be taken into account when considering postponement. In addition to rain, extreme wind, snow, or uncomfortably cold conditions are grounds for postponement. Postponement is at the discretion of the applicant; any event rescheduling, including weather-related postponement, MUST be communicated to the program coordinator. Failure to inform the program coordinator of rescheduling or postponement may result in withholding of grant funding.

Youth Supervision:

It is expected that a sufficient number of adults will be on-site the day of the event to help lead the project and supervise the youth participating. While the program coordinator and other DNR staff will be happy to answer any questions, correct any mistakes, and offer general guidance and support, DNR employees will NOT be held responsible for supervising participants or disciplining unruly participants. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that participants are acting appropriately and that specific rules and guidelines regarding acceptable behavior are followed.

Tree Requirements and Species Diversity (for species options, see list included in nursery letter):

Trees may ONLY be provided by Iowa nurseries licensed with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). Out-of-state nurseries, including nurseries local to your planting, are not allowed to provide trees.

Trees MUST meet the specifications set forth by the American Nursery Stock Standards (ANSI Z60.1). Please ensure that your nursery is aware of this, and please encourage them to review the specifications laid out in the nursery letter. Trees MUST be container-grown; bare-root, balled-and-burlapped, field grown, and other non-containerized trees absolutely WILL NOT be reimbursed via grant funding and will be considered donations by the nursery. Containers must be either 5-gallon or 7-gallon, or root bag equivalent; trees that are smaller than 5-gallon or larger than 7-gallon MUST receive approval from the program coordinator.

In order to ensure species diversity and to protect against large-scale losses from future forest health threats, no more than three trees of any one species for projects of 30 or fewer trees, OR 10% of any one species for projects of 30 or more trees, will be allowed. No more than 20% of any one genera will be allowed for projects of ANY size. For example, a project with fifteen trees will allow no more than 3 trees per species OR genera, or no fewer than 5 species or genera in total, whereas a project with 50 trees will allow no more than 5 trees per species and no more than 10 trees per genera.


Mulching is a requirement for every tree planted, and the source and cost of mulch for your planting must be included in the application. If possible, you are strongly encouraged to take advantage of any mulch offered by your local community, as such mulch is typically free and comes from locally-removed trees. If purchasing your mulch from a nursery, please refrain from using cypress mulch or weed control mulch. You are allowed to purchase up to two bags of mulch per tree.

Watering and Ongoing Care:

Trees for Kids projects are required to include initial watering of 5-10 gallons per tree, depending on container size; furthermore, ongoing watering is required during the growing season for at least the first two years after trees are planted. Applications MUST include a detailed description of who will be responsible for ongoing watering and how frequently they will do so. It is highly recommended that projects DO NOT rely on grounds and maintenance crews for watering, as time limitations for such staff often results in watering being neglected. Instead, it is best to formulate a plan that uses youth or adult volunteers, on a rotating basis if necessary, to handle long-term watering needs.

Free Seedlings:

As part of the Trees for Kids grant, schools and public entities in Iowa are eligible to receive free packets of up to 200 bare-root seedlings. Seedlings are grown from native seed at the State Forest Nursery in Ames. Packets consist of up to eight species selected from a wide variety of hardwood, conifer and shrub offerings (subject to availability). Applying organizations do NOT have to participate in the Trees for Kids program to receive seedlings.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 174007

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants are awarded in amounts of $1,000 - $5,000 per project. Any costs in excess of $5,000 must be covered by the applicant.

Term of Contract:

Spring projects MUST be completed no later than May 31, 2018.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Local and state governments such as school districts, cities, and counties, and service organizations with 501(c)3 status can apply for Trees for Kids funding.

Service organizations lacking 501(c)3 status can attain eligibility by involving local governments in the holding of funds.

Shovels, buckets, gloves, saws, and other supplies, as well as any costs associated with digging, site preparation, and other labor, are NOT covered by grant funding.

Projects MUST take place on public or private school grounds, or on public lands such as parks and right-of-ways. Plantings on private property other than private school grounds are NOT eligible for grant funding.

Pre-proposal Conference:

*A pre-application site visit is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED for all new applicants (and optional for repeat applicants). Please contact the program coordinator by Friday, February 9, 2018 to set up a visit for your spring event.

Pre-Application Information:

For spring events, all materials are due to the program coordinator by 4:00 PM Friday, March 9, 2018.

To request free seedlings, please use the Spring 2018 Seedling Application form.

Reimbursement Process: Upon project completion, the applicant will pay the nursery directly for the trees and any mulch provided. Once this has been done, the applicant will submit an invoice on official letterhead to the program coordinator which itemizes the money spent. A final nursery invoice, W9, and final report are also required, along with any photos or media from the event. The program coordinator will review the invoice and, upon approval, submit it to DNR accounting for reimbursement to the applicant. It may take up to 60 days from the time the coordinator submits the reimbursement materials for the applicant to receive payment.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Evan Miller, Trees for Kids Program Coordinator
(515) 725-8455

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Iowa