Forest ReLeaf of Missouri and Spire, the natural gas distribution company, provided up to 250 trees to Carl Junction residents Saturday in an effort to help restore the landscape after a tornado damaged hundreds of properties in 2019.
“We know trees create green infrastructure that improves our health and happiness,” Forest ReLeaf of Missouri’s executive director, Meridith Perkins, said in a statement. “This new partnership with Spire has fueled Forest ReLeaf’s capacity to share the essential benefits of trees to more communities across the state.”
"There are 39 separate species that homeowners were able to select from," said Jon Skinner, community forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation, which partnered for the program.
Over a period of a days, a number of tornadoes hit Missouri in the spring of 2019, including Carl Junction, Jefferson City and elsewhere. The EF3 Carl Junction tornado damaged hundreds of homes, and Joe Perkins, fire chief, previously told the Globe an estimated 500 to 600 trees were destroyed or uprooted.
The replacement trees were offered as part of a statewide effort between the organizations, with the goal of planting 900 trees in Missouri this fall to provide environmental benefits and help residents save money and energy.
Residents who had previously ordered trees were able to pick them up in 3-gallon containers at Briarbrook Golf Course. Each resident who had placed an order received two trees.
Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, a tree growing, planting and advocacy organization, aims to grow tree canopy across the state to help enrich communities, according to Perkins. The Priority ReLeaf Program was created after the 2011 Joplin tornado, when state and nonprofit groups helped supply more than 8,000 trees to the city.