SMA Liaison David Jahn Iowa

David Jahn

 [email protected]

State Coordinators: 

Emma Hanigan, Urban Forestry Coordinator

(515) 249-1732

[email protected]

MidAmerican Energy News

MidAmerican Energy Announces Iowa Customers Tree Sale Program, Community Tree Grants

DES MOINES, Iowa – (March 8, 2018) – MidAmerican Energy’s Iowa customers and their communities can plant more trees through two company programs that promote tree planting across its service area.

“Plant Some Shade” Program
MidAmerican Energy’s residential customers in Iowa can purchase up to two trees for less than half price through the “Plant Some Shade” program. The trees, worth at least $65 at regular retail price, are available for $30 apiece on a first-come, first-served basis.

The program offers 3-to-10 feet tall deciduous trees, low-growing ornamental shade trees, and 2-1/2 feet tall conifers.

Deciduous trees, which lose their leaves in the fall, can provide shade on hot summer days to ease the cooling load on air conditioners. According to USDA Forest Service research, strategically placed mature trees can cut annual air conditioning demands up to 56 percent and heating costs up to three percent.

Low-growing ornamental shade trees and conifers, commonly called evergreens, are often used for windbreaks and can shield homes from winter winds.

“We encourage our customers to plant trees around their homes to promote energy efficiency and environmental stewardship,” Tina Yoder, MidAmerican Energy director of energy efficiency, said. “Trees help protect homes from the elements year-round, which helps our customers save energy and money.”

MidAmerican Energy customers must order and purchase the trees in advance through order forms available on the company’s "Plant Trees, Save Energy" page. Customers can then pick up trees they ordered at Plant Some Shade events April 18 in Cedar Rapids, April 19 in Davenport, April 26 in Iowa City, April 28 in Council Bluffs, May 3 in Waterloo, May 5 in Des Moines, May 10 in Fort Dodge and May 19 in Indianola.

Administered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and implemented by local partners throughout the state, MidAmerican Energy partners with each to promote the program.

“The Plant Some Shade program is an excellent opportunity for homeowners to purchase high-quality trees at a low price,” Evan Miller, DNR partnership coordinator, said. “Spring is a great time to plant new trees. Warm spring days and cool nights are perfect for tree establishment and root growth.”

“Trees Please!” Community Grant Awards
In a separate effort promoting community-wide tree planting, later this month MidAmerican Energy will deliver checks to communities that submitted winning grant applications last fall for the company’s “Trees Pease!” energy efficiency program.

The program awards more than $219, 000 through 72 grants to Iowa cities and communities to fund tree planting projects in public areas such as parks and roadways. Since 1998, MidAmerican Energy has awarded more than $4 million in funding.

“We’re proud to give back to our communities through the Trees Please! program,” Yoder said. “Trees provide many benefits, including energy efficiency. Trees serve as natural windbreaks in the winter and provide shade to homes and businesses in the summer.”

In September and October, cities and community organizations can submit applications for Trees Please! grants to MidAmerican Energy to be considered for grants of $1,000 or more. MidAmerican Energy selects grant recipients based on the merits of a project, the benefit to the community, and the ability to obtain matching funds.

More Information 
For more information on either program, go to MidAmerican Energy’s "Plant Trees, Save Energy" page, email [email protected], or call 800-434-4017.

About MidAmerican Energy Company
MidAmerican Energy Company is an energy provider serving 770,000 electric customers and 751,000 natural gas customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Information about MidAmerican Energy is available on the company’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, which can be accessed at MidAmerican Energy Company's website.

DNR Staff Updates:

Jeff: Operation ReLEAF position filled by Gabbi. Jeff has a meeting with

DNR leadership in afternoon about filling more vacancies in the Forestry subgroup, especially

District foresters (2-4 positions if funding works; 1 year contracts with potential to extend

year-to-year). Also hoping to hire a program forester to help with grants and forest health. Jeff

has taken on much of the programming and would appreciate shifting some of that responsibility

so he can follow his own PD. Jeff has a good sense that supervisors will approve. Forestry

division now going by forestry section or subgroup. Jeff explained funding streams (if you need

better details, please reach out to Jeff or another DNR staff member--numbers make my brain

slow down): all federal funds going into one pool, then district forester money comes out of that

pool. Funding stream is slightly more complicated than it was previously (more departments for

the money to filter through). DNR told to submit status quo budget to state and anticipate slight

general fund budget reduction (around $125K). Woodland health line item still in budget. Emma

has been asking for funds and staffing for western part of Iowa; current inventory waiting lists

are 72% from western/northwestern parts of state as EAB moves through the state. Additionally,

previous grants and other resources were directed to the eastern part of the state.

Old business: Emma has not heard much else from the UTC joint councils. A majority of the

comments were coming from states themselves and we’d like to hear more from the councils

themselves. There is work to develop a Midwestern joint meeting and include other states,

including Iowa (any volunteers to be part of this?), as well as arranging a yearly conference call

between the council chairs to share strategies and ideas, which will benefit everyone.

New business:


We have secured speakers for the main keynote, focused on pests and diseases: “The

Good, the Bad, and the Invasive,” presented by Donald Lewis, Mike Kintner, and Laura Jesse

Iles. Discussion about what direction this keynote should take included “what are some of the

good insects that we hear about, but need no action,” “what does the PIDC see a lot of,” “what

else is invasive beyond EAB (“oh no, what next?!”). Additional discussion about the workshop

focus, suggestions included oak (one of two issues, such as distinguishing oak wilt from oak

tatters or burr oak blight) or ALB. We should not to treat EAB as “old news” as the effects are

about to be very apparent; professionals are probably getting EAB’ed out, but is the public (or

our luncheon attendees, who might be a level or two above the average homeowner). Other

suggestions for future workshops include: changes in mature canopies, aftermath of EAB, urban

timber use, and climbing in an EAB world. We plan to ask Laura and Mark Vitosh to lead the

workshop, similar to the diagnostic session at STSC. Heath will lead the charge and Jeff can

ask our workshop suggestions if they will present.

We need volunteers for the day of (please see Emma’s email from last week for a link to

the Google Sheet with duties). Jeff will help with awards, Evan will help with photos, Kevin will

reach out to the City of DSM to see if they will sponsor rolls and coffee as they have in the past,

John and Kevin will ask the mayor, city manager, etc. to give a welcome at this year’s luncheon.

Emma has sent a request to the governor’s office to attend. The Arbor Day Foundation will be in

attendance this year (most likely Amber, Emma’s point of contact). We have rotated through

emcees in the past, so the archives will be searched to find whose turn it is.



Federal budget:

At the time of this meeting, the House suggested a 2% reduction, while the Senate

proposed 25%. Senators Ernst and Grassley do not make budget decisions, but we still

encourage people to talk to them about suggestions for the Farm Bill. Recommendations from

the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition were handed out (see attached SUFC pdf). Consider

signing up for e-news from either SUFC or the American Forest Foundation for updates and

action items. If anyone knows how to look up subcommittee members (specifically for

appropriations), please share that!

Forestry advisory council:

Heath has been to three meetings with approximately 14-15 people and Bruce

Trautman. First meeting covered “what now” regarding the reorganization of the Forestry

Bureau/Division/Subgroup, now focused on three areas: communications and advocacy,

funding, and mission and direction. Discussions include information such as staff paid by one

department, but report to a supervisor in another department (the departmental organization

doesn’t make sense). Working on developing strong statements without making things personal.

The Natural Resources Commission says the committee should come up with

recommendations, but that they cannot be unring the bureau chief bell or bring the department

back. Paul has been in meetings and Todd Bishop has also been in attendance. There is talk

about the decision to dissolve the bureau was made by two administrators without the input of

stakeholders and is that the way things should have been done? “They” said that stakeholders

would not be affected, but they never contacted stakeholders! We as committees and councils

need to be in contact with our staffers because they can’t come to us, but we can go to them.

Will this group make a difference? Who knows, but Leslie is optimistic that there appears to be

small signs of positive encouragement. Leslie encourages others to be involved to make sure

urban forestry is represented. Jeff encourages LOTS of questions and mentioned the example

of landscape-scale grant applications; forestry needed other folks from wildlife to help write

grants. They were able to shuffle people around to cover current grants and cooperation

between forestry and wildlife has really improved since the reorganization.

People you should know: 

US Forest Service:               Jill Johnson            (651) 649-5253    [email protected]

Iowa State University:         Tom Harrington    (515) 294-0582    [email protected]

                                            Jeff Iles                  (515) 294-3718    [email protected]

                                            Jesse Randall         (515) 294-3221    [email protected]

                                            Mark Shour           (515) 294-5963    [email protected]

Iowa DNR                           Paul Tauke             (515) 725-8450    [email protected]

                                            Emma Hanigan      (515) 249-1732    [email protected]  

                                            Tivon Feeley         (515) 725-8453    [email protected]

Iowa Agriculture                  Robin Pruisner     (515) 725-1470    [email protected]

                                           Mike Kintner         (515) 745-1470    [email protected]   

 Coming events in State:

The Forestry Bureau is currently tracking and working against 5 key pests that threaten Iowa's woodlands. These 5 pests (emerald ash borer, bur oak blight, thousand cankers disease in walnut, Asian longhorned beetle, and the gypsy moth) will cause an estimated loss of approximately $70 million dollars a year for the next 20 years (that's $1.4 billion) and even worse, cost next to 20 billion dollars in tree removals. This decision will impact the quality of life in Iowa for generations to come.

62nd Annual ISU - Shade Tree Short Course & INLA Tradeshow

February 20-22, 2018

Scheman Building, Ames, IA

National events of interest:

SMA New Member Incentive: Get one year of the SMA magazine City Trees FREE on a trial basis.  Please join your peers in this international community of practice.  Click here to sign up!

2017 Society of Municipal Arborists International Urban Forestry Conference

November 13-14 2017 - Tulsa, OK

Partners in Community Forestry Conference

November 15-16, 2017      Tulsa, OK

2017 American Society of Consulting Arborists Annual Conference

November 29 – December 2, 2017 – Stevenson, WA  

Links of Interest

Iowa DNR Grants        

IA State Forestry Nursery

ISU Forestry Extension

Trees Forever             


I am a proud member of the Society of Municipal Arborists and the Iowa Urban Tree Council. I received the 2015 Trees Forever ‘Advocacy Award’ for dedication to Des Moines TreeKeepers (citizen volunteer and advocacy program) and for empowering others to speak for our trees. I’ve spent 12 years in professional urban forestry as a City Forester, 6 in Pittsburgh, PA, and 6 in Des Moines, IA. Prior to that I spent 15 years managing municipal and county landscapes in SW Florida. I am an ISA Municipal Specialist, with a TRAQ credential. I am a Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA #425) with the American Society of Consulting Arborists.