Agencies Partner to Plant Thousands of Trees

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JEFFERSON CITY - On a recent sunny morning, Pioneer Trail Elementary School students pushed dirt around a newly-planted redbud tree that will bloom and provide shade for years to come.

This tree and thousands of others will be planted this year through the Trees for Tomorrow program, a partnership of the Missouri departments of Transportation and Conservation.

Under the program, MoDOT will purchase 250,000 trees that the Department of Conservation grows at its George O. White State Forest Nursery. Conservation distributes those trees to youth groups and schools throughout Missouri for planting on public and private property across the state.

"This is the sixth year we've partnered with Conservation for the program," said MoDOT Director Kevin Keith. "Sometimes our job of building roads and bridges requires us to remove trees, and we're committed to replacing them with new ones each year. This is a great way for us to put the tree replacements into the hands of the experts."

More than 60 varieties of tree seedlings go to youth groups throughout the state, including Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, FFA and 4-H groups. MoDOT also funds MDC's long-standing annual program that provides a tree seedling to fourth graders statewide in celebration of Arbor Day. Free tree seedlings are also provided at Arbor Day and Earth Day events.

"Trees for Tomorrow is a great way to get kids involved in protecting our natural resources," said MDC Deputy Director Tom Draper. "We're proud to work with MoDOT and kids all over Missouri to get trees planted, improve our environment and enhance the natural beauty of our state."

Trees for Tomorrow started in 2007, and more than 2.5 million trees have been provided throughout the state.