Mount Mercy University has been awarded a $5,330 grant that will help bring over 20 new trees on campus as part of a project to enhance the university's sustainability efforts. Made possible by the Branching Out program through Alliant Energy and Trees Forever, 10 of the new trees will replace storm-damaged trees. A tree planting ceremony will be held on campus Thursday, October 4, at 2:30 p.m. on the Basile Hall patio.
"We are pleased and grateful to announce this partnership with Alliant Energy and Trees Forever. This opportunity to build upon our sustainability efforts and make our campus more environmentally friendly is significant to the university's mission and the future of the institution for years to come," said Mount Mercy President Christopher Blake.
In August, Alliant Energy and Trees Forever announced they would award over $90,000 to 23 Iowa communities through the Branching Out program. This nationally recognized organization brings communities together to fund and implement tree-planting projects while addressing energy efficiency and environmental awareness.
Speaking at Thursday's ceremony will be Mount Mercy University President Blake, Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, Mount Mercy Assistant Dean for Accelerated Programs Colette Atkins, Alliant Energy Regional Director of Customer Operations Brad Morgan, Trees Forever founding President and CEO Shannon Ramsay, and Field Coordinator Dustin Hinrichs.
Contributing to Mount Mercy's grant application were community members and friends who wrote letters of support for the university, including: Corbett; Ramsay; Marty Andreas, a member of Mount Mercy's Board or Trustees as well as the board of Trees Forever; John Hughes of Hughes Nursery; Sister Mary Lou Podzimek, Mount Mercy Board of Trustees member and campus neighbor; and alum and campus neighbor Rita Hutchins.
Mount Mercy's 40-acre campus, located in the heart of Cedar Rapids on one of the highest elevations in Linn County, is known for its park-like setting and is commonly referred to as "the Hill." The campus was built on a large mound after its founding by The Sisters of Mercy in 1928. With many changes over the years on campus, including the construction and renovation of buildings and storm damage, Mount Mercy's landscape has changed. With a commitment to sustainability, the university makes every effort to preserve and care for the campus in environmentally friendly ways.
The new trees will replace some that have been lost and will also address energy efficiency and environmental needs, including interception of water runoff from a parking lot and directing water to storm sewers.
For more information on Mount Mercy University's sustainability efforts, visit http://sites.mtmercy.edu/sustainability.