Apply now for MDC TRIM grants to help communities, schools and nonprofits

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – It’s time for communities, schools and nonprofit groups to apply for TRIM grants. TRIM is a competitive, cost-share tree care program administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Community Forest Council. According to Jennifer Behnken, a MDC community forester, the program provides a reimbursement of $1,000 to $10,000 to assist government agencies, public schools, and nonprofit groups with the management, improvement, or conservation of trees on public lands. An additional three to six grants of up to $25,000 may also be awarded each year.

“Trees are a vital part of any community and this is an important program to help organizations use their land wisely by planting and managing trees wherever possible,” Behnken said. “There are costs involved in managing trees and TRIM grants help meet this important need.”

Projects eligible for TRIM funding include tree inventory, hazardous tree removal or pruning, tree planting, and volunteer and city/county employee training on how to best care for community forests. Projects for funding are selected on a competitive basis. A panel of judges assesses each proposal for its value to the community, economic feasibility, thoroughness as a tree-management program, and the ability to promote, improve, and develop a community's urban forest.

Grant recipients can receive up to 60 percent of the money needed for their projects. Projects located in communities with The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA designation are eligible for an additional 15 percent in matching funds. 

The application form requires project costs, funding sources, maps and drawings of the project site, a three-year maintenance plan, and a letter of approval from the governmental body owning the proposed project site. Applications are due May 13 and can be found online at Applicants may submit their application electronically as a PDF. PDF files may be emailed to or printed and mailed to Behnken at 2302 County Park Drive, Cape Girardeau, MO. 63701.

Behnken is available for consults or to answer questions from potential applicants. She can be reached at MDC’s Southeast Regional Office, (573)290-5858, ext. 4421.