October 21, 2014

Nebraska group plans to re-tree tornado-swept town

The Nebraska City-based Arbor Day Foundation is raising money to help bring trees back to Moore, Oklahoma, after the town was hit by a massive tornado on May 20th.

Abbie Ensenhart, the foundation’s disaster program manager, says they’ve recently sent trees to Joplin, Missouri, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, two other communites that were struck by huge twisters in recent years.

“When we look at Joplin, we have already distributed 18,000 trees and we still have a little over 17,500 to distribute in the next two to three years,” Ensenhart says. “In Alabama, we have distributed 60,000 trees. We do have another 10,000 that we are ready to distribute this next planting season there.”

Since 2006, the foundation’s Disaster Recovery Program has sent many tens of thousands of trees to cities impacted by natural distasters, like hurricanes and tornadoes, while also coordinating tree restoration efforts in those communities.

Ensenhart says they’re working on the campaign to bring new trees to Moore, Oklahoma, but it won’t be right away.

“There is time after these disasters where, obviously, health, shelter, food — those are the first necessities that need to be taken care of,” Ensenhart says. “Then trees come into the conversation a bit after that. When we look at our past campaigns, the timeline has been anywhere between six months to a year after a disaster has struck.”

To donate to the disaster recovery program, call the Arbor Day Foundation at 888-448-7337 or visit the website, www.arborday.org.

By Nate Gonner, KNCY, Nebraska City