November 1, 2014

MoDOT, Conservation team up to plant 250,000 throughout Missouri (AUDIO)

The Department of Transportation has teamed up with the Department of Conservation to plant a quarter million trees throughout the state.

Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Transportation.

MoDOT Director Kevin Keith talks to a group of fourth graders at an Apache Flats elementary school near Jefferson City, who helped plant two redbuds in front of their school through the “Trees for Tomorrow Program.” Conservation staff showed the elementary students how to properly plant and take care of the new trees in front of the school, which the students decided to name “Buddy” and “Bob.”

Keith says the program distributes trees to youth groups and schools for planting on public and private property throughout Missouri. More than 2.5 million trees have been planted since the program begain in 2007.

The Department of Transportation is required to plant a new tree for every tree it removes in the name of transportation construction. Keith says in 2007, MoDOT decided to up the ante and plant two trees for every one it removes.

Trees for Tomorrow also sends home a seedling with every fourth grader in the state on Arbor Day in April.

Under the program, MoDOT will purchase 250,000 trees that the Department of Conservation grows at its George O. White State Forest Nursery for what Keith calls pennies on the dollar. Total cost is $75,000. Conservation then distributes those trees to youth groups and schools throughout Missouri for planting on public and private property throughout the state.

“This is the sixth year we’ve partnered with Conservation for the program,” Keith told the students. “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,” Conservation Deputy Director Tom Draper says. “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.”

AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports (1:23)

To view more photos from the event, visit MoDOT’s Flickr page at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/modot/sets/72157631614327201/