Story City Trees Forever held its 23rd annual Tree Planting Day on Saturday, with many volunteers showing up to help plant trees around the community.

“Thanks to everyone who helped plant, make our community healthier, more beautiful and environmentally friendly,” said Mike Jensen, president of Story City Trees Forever. “We could not have done it without all of us working together.”

In 1993, the local Trees Forever group started its annual tree sale, which offers trees to Story City residents at a low cost, and tree planting, which increases the number of trees in parks and other common areas.

Since then, the community has seen an increase of about 2,900 trees, adding a total value of about $500,000 worth of tree planting projects.

Jensen explained that the tree sale offers trees at a huge discount to Story City residents, who then must plant those trees within the city limits, usually on their own property. A number of trees are also purchased by Story City Trees Forever and are planted in areas like parks and boulevards.

For example, several trees were planted on the boulevard west of the Bertha Bartlett Public Library.

The volunteers split up into pairs and small groups to plant the trees at specified locations around the community.

Jensen said that, between the tree sale and the tree planting, it’s a good way to ensure that a nice variety of trees is being planted in Story City and that the tree plantings are spread out throughout the community.

The project was made possible by a grant from Black Hills Energy and funding from the city of Story City.

Several youth and adult volunteers participated in the community tree planting, which started with a demonstration by Jensen and Dwayne Fiihr.