Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Photo Feature - November 26, 2010

Maple Leaves in Mount Pleasant

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving From Casey Trees!

Thanksgiving artwork by Sara Turner.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Community Tree Planting Recap - Michigan Park and Edgewood

Northeast DC just got a little bit greener this weekend. Casey Trees staff and volunteers had a pleasant autumn Saturday planting trees at two locations in Northeast.

In a Community Tree Planting organized with the Michigan Park Citizens Association, nineteen Casey Trees volunteers planted fifteen trees, including Allegheny serviceberry, river birch, Deodar cedar, Japanese cedar, honey locust, Foster’s holly, tulip poplar and American elm. This is the second planting we've done with the Citizens Association, and we have another one planned for Spring 2011. Our thanks go out to Lead Citizen Forester Mariuccia Marolo and Project Organizers W. Thomas Lavash and Lori Moller for making this event possible.

We worked with the Edgewood Civic Association to plant 25 trees (cherries, river birch, katsura, southern magnolia and sweetbay magnolia). One southern magnolia was planted in the name of Kenyatta Stanley, a teenager killed by a stray bullet in 2009. Attending the memorial shoveling of the soil were her mother, Sharon Stanley; her sister and brother. We had a turnout of 46 volunteers, including fifteen of our Citizen Foresters, Councilmember Harry Thomas, ANC Commissioner Silas Grant, and members from Greater DC Cares and the Edgewood Civic Association. Thanks to Lead Citizen Forester Scott Opis and Project Organizer Tim Clark!

After a short break for Thanksgiving, we look forward to meeting more volunteers who want to help out in Crestwood on December 4th. Sign up on our website.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Photo Feature - November 19, 2010

Brilliant fall colors at 31st Street NW.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Headquarters Profile: Green Features at 3030 12th Street NE

This is the third of three posts about our new headquarters at 3030 12th Street NE and our tree yard at 3015 12th Street NE in the Brookland neighborhood. We are excited about our new home, and we wanted to share with you some of the green features we have implemented.

As well as planting a rain garden for the 3015 12th Street NE property that houses our tree planting operation, we also have a plan to implement a comprehensive system for stormwater management at our main office. The nearly completed design implements a 1,700 square foot bio-retention planter rain garden that will capture up to two inches of rain in a storm, a planted strip of street trees, a specially designed sidewalk that supports the street trees and a cistern that collects rain water.

View the full-size draft plan for the rain garden site. Some details may change.

In a rain event, ground level stormwater flows from the green roof surfaces and parking lot into the rain garden. Additional rain water is captured by a cistern stored in the building's garage. When a rain event overfills the capacity of the cistern, water spills directly into the bio-retention rain garden. During most rainy conditions, virtually no rainwater will flow into the city's storm sewer system. The rain garden will feature a lot of great trees: black gum, Jefferson American Elm, river birch, sycamore, sweetbay magnolia and baldcypress. These trees soak up immense amounts of water and greet visitors to the building.

Silva Cells being planted underneath the sidewalk in August 2010.

Underneath the 12th Street sidewalk, we constructed a Silva Cell sidewalk, which allows for tree roots to expand underneath the solid ground, using an underground frame and deck support system. It looks like a normal sidewalk above ground and supports foot traffic, but tree roots are growing in the 90% void space filled with soil, expanding far further than a conventional boxed planting would permit. Sweetgum trees will be planted along the road.

Casey Trees staff were responsible for much of the planning and design process behind the green construction at our headquarters. As with our green roof design, we could not have accomplished our goals without generous help from our partners. A grant from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) paid for the cost of installing the the infiltration planters on the 12th Street NE and the Silva Cells supporting the adjacent sidewalk. The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) funded the bio-retention planter and the cistern (as well as the green roofs).

The site where the rain garden will be planted, with the newly constructed Silva Cell sidewalk on the other side of the fence.

Read the media release about the move to our new headquarters, and check out our website for more photos and information.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Headquarters Profile: Green Roof

This is the second of three posts about our new headquarters at 3030 12th Street NE and our tree yard at 3015 12th Street NE in the Brookland neighborhood. We are excited about our new home, and we wanted to share with you some of the green features we have implemented.

Close-up of a green roof at the new Casey Trees HQ.

The 10,000 square foot Casey Trees administrative building is a half new, half renovated office building on the 12th Street NE corridor in Brookland. The key feature of the building is a green roof system that covers just over 25% of the roof area. There are three green roof sections covering part of the first floor and garage, and the upper story roof is covered by a white "cool roof" which reflects sun off the building and keeps the interior cool. Part of the reason for constructing the green roofs on top of the first floor was to ensure the visibility of the roof for staff and visitors. We planted three different types of green roofs, each with more than half a dozen varieties of herbaceous flowering plants (primarily the sedum genus). The design of the green roof maximizes water absorption, while keeping the building much cooler than a conventional roof would in summer months.

If you haven't seen a green roof up close before, you may be surprised to find that they are not simply elevated grass lawns. In fact, they aren't made of grass and you actually shouldn't walk or sit on top of a green roof unless you are maintaining it. It is built only for the purpose of gathering as much rainwater as possible. If there is excess water, it filters through pebbles surrounding the platform and flows to storm gutters. The storm gutters at the Casey Trees site empty into our rain garden and bio-retention site. Even though these roofs are utilitarian and efficient in nature, they are beautiful to behold.

A section of green roof is unrolled like a carpet.

Non-profit green roof advocates DC Greenworks and Level Green Landscaping worked together to get our green roofs constructed and planted in a matter of days. This project would not have been possible without funding from the District Department of the Environment (DDOE). We hope to use our green roof design as a model for sustainable development in DC, as part of our participation in the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES) Pilot Program.

More pictures of the new green roofs.

Read the media release about the move to our new headquarters, and stay tuned for more blog posts about the eco-friendly features of the site.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Headquarters Profile: Tree Yard Rain Garden

This is the first of three posts about our new headquarters at 3030 12th Street NE and our tree yard at 3015 12th Street NE in the Brookland neighborhood. We are excited about our new home, and we wanted to share with you some of the green features we have implemented.

The Casey Trees rain garden on the day of planting.

On a rainy day like today, one realizes that the District gets a huge amount of rain water. Where does that water go? In areas that are completely forested, like Rock Creek Park, stormwater gets absorbed into the ground, as a part of a natural process that supports life and filters pollutants from the water. But in the rest of the city, where buildings, sidewalks and roads take the place of water-absorbing trees and plants, it's a different story. Those millions of gallons of water need to flow somewhere, and the water that isn't absorbed by street trees and gardens goes to our sewer system as runoff. On average, even a half of an inch of water in a storm can cause excess water (and all of the pollutants carried with it) to overflow from the sewer system, directly into our waterways.

That is why we have installed a rain garden at our tree yard at 3015 12th Street NE across the street from our new office headquarters, transforming an abandoned gas station into an attractive staging area for our tree planting activities. Stormwater drains from the impervious paved area of the property to the rain garden, where the water is filtered in a simulated natural process, infiltrating into the ground instead of being directed to the sewer system. 

The goal is to intercept the "first flush," the runoff water containing the greatest concentration of pollutants. The rain garden spans the length of the 12th Street side of the property and features a wide diversity of plants and trees, including red osier dogwood, bald cypress, river birch, New England aster, sweetbay magnolia and switchgrass. The site hosts our tree planting crew's tools and equipment, and we keep up to 225 trees ready for planting on location.

We are making this effort and other similar efforts to reduce our environmental impact, showing what is possible with a small property in an urban environment.

The Casey Trees tree planting crew in action, next to the newly planted rain garden.

Read the media release about the move to our new headquarters, and stay tuned for more blog posts about the eco-friendly features of the site.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Community Tree Planting Recap - St. Gabriel's Church

Kudos to the 50+ volunteers who came out to re-tree St. Gabriel's Church on Grant Circle in NW. We had a lot of student support from The American University, George Washington University and University of Maryland, College Park. 

We hope you caught the tree planting bug and come out again. Four Community Tree Planting events remain. Sign up.

In the Field - Tree Planting in Shaw-Howard

Contributing Writer - Sara Turner, Arborist Auditor  

The RiverSmart Homes program is a unique partnership between Casey Trees and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) that helps homeowners add shade trees to their residential property for just $50.00 per tree.

As the RiverSmart Homes Arborist Auditor, I visit the homes of all the individuals who have requested trees. To get there, I ride my bike. I have found that biking allows me to see a greater number of interesting things and see how neighborhoods compare in their tree planting efforts. 

I have been particularly impressed by what is going on in the Shaw-Howard neighborhood. Good trees such as sweetgum, serviceberry, southern magnolia, redbud and sweetbay magnolia are taking root in people’s front yards at an impressive rate. 

This fall, through the Riversmart Homes Program, Casey Trees planted at three houses along S Street NW and at one house on 6th Street NW. Three other residents within the quarter-mile radius, shown in the map, are signed up for a spring (March-May) planting. Other residents have planted trees through our Tree Rebate, Community Tree Planting and Treescape Design Workshops.

View a full-size version of the map of the trees planted in the Shaw-Howard area by Casey Trees through our RiverSmart Homes program and other efforts.

Typically I meet with homeowners who all have one thing in common - they want a tree. Their reasoning for wanting the tree makes them unique. Common reasons include wanting to reduce storm water runoff, cool their house, add privacy, hide an undesirable view and infuse seasonal color. I consult with them on where they should consider adding trees and help them select tree species that will help them best achieve their goals.

Sara Turner and Berin Skoza stand by a newly planted tree.
Back in September, I had an appointment with Berin Skoza, an active and engaged citizen of the neighborhood. He wanted to green his neighborhood with trees. Berin took me around and introduced me to several of his neighbors. I met Heidi and her toddler. I consulted with Joe, a carpenter and designer. I worked with Gretchen who has lived in the neighborhood for over 25 years. I consulted with David and Ann. I met May, a lovely senior on S Street, who wanted a tree because her neighbor has one. She also saw our crew planting trees one day, and asked crewman Jabbari Brew, how she could get her hands on one.
Our Executive Director, Mark Buscaino, always reminds staff how important trees are for greening streets and cooling the District but also for bringing people together. My BFA thesis show of oil paintings and prints explored the theme of the sociological coming together of people through food and eating at the table and playing card games. It is very thrilling that even through a different medium – soil and woody plants – my work still focuses on the notion of people coming together. This time through trees!

Shaw residents have spread the good word, from neighbor to neighbor, about trees and about the work Casey Trees and the DDOE is doing. Thanks, Shaw Neighborhood, for letting me be a part of your community building.

For more information on our RiverSmart Homes program, visit our website or contact Sara directly at

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Photo Feature - November 12, 2010

Maple tree on 19th Street NW.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Contribute to Casey Trees Through the CFC

Are you a Federal government employee? At the end of this year, you have a chance to give back directly through the Combined Federal Campaign, a great annual workplace charity campaign for federal employees. If you want to donate to Casey Trees, it's really easy - our CFC code is 24598, which you can enter on your CFC pledge form. Any amount you choose to give would be greatly appreciated. Your financial contribution will directly support our innovative tree planting and education programs.

The deadline for pledging is December 15. Get in touch with us or the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area (the CFC for the DC region) if you have any questions, and remember that the CFC code for Casey Trees is 24598.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Community Tree Planting Recap - Tilden Gardens and Ellington Field

It's the middle of prime planting time in the fall, so we're making the best of the great weather! This past Saturday, with the help of our volunteers and community groups, Casey Trees organized two Community Tree Planting events, one at Tilden Gardens, and one at Ellington Field.

The Tilden Gardens CTP had an incredible turnout with 55 volunteers (including 10 Citizen Foresters). Sixteen trees were planted, with eight varieties represented: serviceberry, river birch, redbud, holly, red cedar, sweetbay magnolia, Yoshino cherry and swamp white oak. This is a great five-acre property and local residents really showed up in force to help out.

The CTP sponsored by the Burleith Citizens Association at Ellington field had the largest volunteer turnout of this season with 130 volunteers (including 11 Citizen Foresters). Groups from B&D Consulting, Ellington High School, Maret School, Georgetown University Alternate Spring Break, Georgetown men's and women's track teams, Burleith Citizens Association and Youth Villages all showed up to lend a shovel. There was definitely a lot of Georgetown blue and gray at this planting! Volunteers helped to plant 20 trees: holly, hornbeam, southern magnolia, red maple, sweetgum, London planetree, redbud, Chinese fringetree and tulip poplar.

As you can see from the turnout from this past weekend, volunteers and local community support really make these plantings possible. Thanks to all who came out to plant trees with us.


Apply for a CTP. Volunteer at a CTP event. Download the fall CTP schedule. Sponsor a CTP event.