In 1991, a group of people met to talk about an organization dedicated to plant, maintain, and educate people about trees. In 1992, with the backing of (at the time) Waverly Light and Power (WLP), Waverly Trees Forever was born. The first 5 years, WLP donated $20,000/year to Trees Forever. Since 1998, WLP which became Waverly Utilities in 2016, has donated $10,000/year to Trees Forever. Public donations of trees, money, grants awarded, and volunteer hours have made a big difference in the amount of progress over the last 28 years.
The committee has changed over the years with new faces but the same mission. The City of Waverly has been an integral part of the Waverly Trees Forever Program. City staffers are members of the Waverly Trees Forever committee. These city employees work extra hours to plan projects and help ensure that planting projects are completed, and are also involved in the long-term maintenance of the projects. The municipal utility is also an integral part of organizations with staff being part of the committee and volunteering for projects and the monetary support. With these partners working together, Waverly has become an aggressive mid-size community in Iowa with regard to energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Trees Forever has made a lasting contribution to the quality of life of Waverly, Iowa. Every park, school, public area and building have benefited from a Trees Forever planting project. Many churches, non-profit organizations, and private homeowners have taken advantage of the many programs available from Trees Forever.
From the beginning, the Trees Forever volunteers have been advocates for trees and green energy efficiency. The volunteers have been active in educating the public about the worth of mature trees and the advantages of planting for efficiency and species variety. They were instrumental in saving a 200 year old bur oak, establishing right tree in the right place programs, tree, leading tree maintenance workshops, advocating recycling and the use of mulch, and making aware the public and private entities that trees are important to the community.
Waverly Trees Forever was one of the first Trees Forever affiliates and has won several awards from the State of Iowa's Urban Forestry Council. They include:
- Outstanding Volunteer: Kathy Sundstedt, Chair, Waverly Trees Forever
- Outstanding Professional: Tab Ray, Director, Waverly Parks and Recreation Department
- Outstanding Utility Partner: Waverly Light and Power
- Outstanding Media Partner: Waverly Newspapers, Greg Sieleman and Don Huston, editors
- Outstanding Local Partner: Waverly Utilities
- Outstanding Youth Project: John Verdon and the WSR Science Club
- Outstanding School Project: Washington Irving Elementary
Since 1992, Waverly had been recognized as a tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation. To win this award, a community must meet four requirements: (1) have a forestry department or City Tree Board (2) possess a tree ordinance (3) spend a minimum of $2 per capita on tree resource management (4) celebrate Arbor Day.