2020 gave us plenty of negatives. But out of one of those negatives has come an opportunity and an occasion to celebrate a milestone for the state park system, which recently happened to commemorate its 100th "centennial" anniversary.

After last summer's derecho wiped out much of the tree canopy in certain parts of the state of Iowa, those trees are being replanted by several volunteer organizations, including Trees Forever.

In a more formal project, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has commemorated the occasion of the centennial anniversary by planting an unprecedented number of new trees across the state. 100,000 of them to be exact--nearly triple the 35,000 or so of a normal year.

The milestone planting commemorates not only the 100th anniversary of the state park system but also the centennial of the National Association of State Foresters. The DNR was assisted by volunteers in planting the 100,000 trees and funds were provided by the DNR and a grant from the Arbor Day Foundation.

Speaking of those volunteers, it took a lot of work on the part of a much smaller group than hoped for. 2020 and its COVID-19 social distancing regulations kept more volunteers from participating, but the project got done and now future generations will eventually be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor in Iowa's four state forests, dozens of wildlife management areas, and 23 of its state parks.

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