Helping a community recover

When a massive derecho storm hit central Iowa without warning last August, the destruction was widespread.

By Kirsten Ferguson August 18, 2018
A person in a helmet and working clothes using a chainsaw on a downed tree.

The intense windstorm brought up to 130-mile-per-hour gusts, equivalent to a Category 3 hurricane or 40-mile-wide tornado. As soon as the winds quieted, the accredited Bur Oak Land Trust in Iowa City went to work.

Bur Oak Land Trust staff and AmeriCorps crew used their skill, equipment, determination and hundreds of hours of time to help Iowans across the state. The crew deployed for three weeks to Cedar Rapids — an area hit particularly hard — as part of an AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team to clear hazard trees and other debris from neighborhoods.

Bur Oak also joined a community effort to help the Meskwaki Nation — the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa — which went dark from power outages and experienced damage to roadways, infrastructure and 200 homes. The land trust pitched in by donating nearly $4,000 and delivering more than 100 pounds of frozen beef and venison. The Bur Oak crew also logged scores of hours cutting and clearing trees on the Settlement.

“Service to the community is at the core of our mission, and when disaster strikes, we’re there to lend a hand,” says Executive Director Jason Taylor. “We’re proud to be a part of a resilient community and appreciate those who support us and the work we do.”

More in Climate change