With varying weather extremes affecting the forestry landscape, the  North Platte Natural Resources District  (NRD) in Scottsbluff, Neb., is working diversity and restoration into its 17 communities through the Free Trees for Fall Planting program.

The district, in partnership with the Nebraska Forest Service and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s Trees for Nebraska Towns, has successfully planted 650 trees in the past seven years, thanks to funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

“We deal with extremes on the weather side, and we are fighting a bit of an uphill battle with what Mother Nature naturally wants on our landscape, so that is part of the balancing act we play,” District Resource Conservation Coordinator  Todd Filipi said . “But trees and shrubs can serve many different purposes with our communities along with generally being aesthetically pleasing.”

Community organizations and volunteer groups can apply for the Free Trees for Planting program as an upcoming service project, which must include a public outreach component. Groups receive up to ten trees each. In 2019, 502 trees were distributed statewide through the program.