Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Photo Feature: December 30, 2011

Silhouettes of trees at Casey Trees headquarters at sunset.
See you in the new year!

Casey Trees gets a visit from a Summer Crew Member!

Claire Carter, 2011 Summer Crew member.

The holidays are a time for families to gather and celebrate being together. Casey Trees is like a big family, and we were happy to have a visit from Claire Carter, a member of the 2011 High School Summer Crew. As a member of the Summer Crew, Claire helped Casey Trees water, mulch, weed and track tree conditions throughout the District from June to August.

"I thought working outside would be fun during the summer so you're not cooped up," Claire said. She bonded closely with other team members and Casey Trees employees like Neil Irving, who worked with her on the Summer Crew's bike team. The team uses bikes to pull a trailer filled with watering gear around the District.

Claire started her first semester of college in Georgia this fall and wasn't able to come out for the plantings this season, so she asked if she could stop by during break. "I asked Neil about coming out," Claire said. Eventually their discussions lead to Claire joining the planting crew on December 19th to help plant some trees for RiverSmart Homes. "We planted four trees and then replanted two," she said, "I miss being in the thick of it and riding around."

While Claire was the only member of the Summer Crew to come out Monday, they still share a close bond. "We got very close," she said, "I have plans to meet up with people from summer crew."

If you're in high school and would like to join us on the Summer Crew, learn more and get ready to apply this spring.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Giving Brings Good Tidings for All and Tax Breaks for You

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t make your charitable contributions for the sole reason of earning tax breaks in the coming year. In my experience, giving almost always comes from the heart, not the head – it allows people to feel closer to their community while making a difference in a positive way. That being said, there is no reason you shouldn’t benefit from your own philanthropy this holiday season.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, all donations made to Casey Trees are deductible as charitable contributions on your Federal Income Tax Return. Your tax deduction is received in the year your gift is fully processed, so making a gift by this December 31 means that your contribution is deductible this year – so give today!

To make your gift count for 2011, please do the following:

Give online:

Make your gift securely online before 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2011. Be sure to give yourself time to fill out the online form. You will receive a preliminary receipt that will confirm your gift was made prior to January 1st.

Give by mail:

Make sure your gift is dated and postmarked no later than December 31, 2011. Make checks payable to Casey Trees. Mail checks to:

Casey Trees
c/o Development
3030 12th Street NE
Washington, D.C.  20017

With your help in these last few weeks of December, we will have the necessary support and funding needed to continue our efforts to restore the tree canopy of our nation’s capital for years to come.

If you have any questions regarding your donation, please contact Mark DeSantis, Development Associate, at or 202.833.9125.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Recycle your holiday greenery Jan. 3-14

The winter holidays are coming to a close so it's time to start thinking about retiring the trees, wreaths and other greenery that have adorned our homes and offices the last month. Nobody wants to be the person who leaves their tree up until May.
In Washington, D.C., holiday trees and wreaths will be picked up curbside from January 3 to January 14. Remove all decorations and place the greenery in the treebox space in front of your home between Monday, January 2, and Monday, January 9. Do not put the trees in plastic or cloth bags. Trees collected between January 3 and 14 will be recycled. 

Note that trees placed on the curb after January 14 will be picked up by trash trucks as space allows and will NOT be recycled. So help save valuable space in our landfill and get your greenery outside for pickup before the recycle deadline.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Photo Feature: December 23, 2011

Citizen Foresters make the trek to the last planting of the fall 2011 season on December 16 at Franciscan Monastery.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Time to winterize your trees

Winter officially blows into town tomorrow making it time to prepare your trees for the cold months looming ahead. Doing so will help to prevent them from falling victim to the cold, dry conditions and winter precipitation.

Follow these five easy steps:
  • Inspect for broken branches. This is especially important following snow or ice storms. Damaged branches should be pruned carefully. Get a refresher on pruning techniques by reading a blog post from this past summer or register for a free pruning workshop on Saturday, January 14.
  • Assess trees for structural issues. If your tree has been in the ground for at least three years, you can begin structurally pruning. Make sure there are no competing central leaders or included bark. Some branches may need to be subordinated to help other, more important branches grow stronger.
  • Water your trees once or twice a month if temperatures stay above 40 degrees. Evergreens are especially vulnerable to drying out in winter. Once the ground has frozen, do not water.
  • Protect your trees. Use a broom to remove heavy snow or ice that weigh down evergreen branches. Do not sweep leftover salt into tree boxes or storm drains. Sweep it up and dispose of it properly.
  • Install deer damage management practices when appropriate, such as mesh fencing or tall tree guards.
And don't forget to appreciate your trees! Trees reveal their structure in winter. Use this time to see the differences in cones produced by conifers, including cedars, pines, spruces and junipers. Join us for the free tree walk titled Winter Id: Trees in Transition with local author Melanie Choukas-Bradley on Saturday, March 10 and we will point out some true gems. The tree walk is free but advance registration is required and space is limited.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wrapping up the Fall 2011 Planting Season

Last week we concluded the fall 2011 season of our Community Tree Planting (CTP) program. It has been another fantastic season of 30 volunteer-driven planting events, with nearly 1,000 adult and youth volunteers. The season's tree planting initiatives represent a financial investment in D.C. totaling more than $182,000, including 2,300 hours of volunteer labor.

Of note, the fall CTP season featured eight tree plantings at D.C. schools where more than 150 students from grades K-12 added 44 trees to and surrounding their campuses. Students also participated in Tree Rallies leading up to their planting date to learn about the many benefits trees provide and how to properly handle and plant trees.

Students from Blow Pierce PCS roll a balled-and-burlapped tree into place.

This season we continued to expand our fruit tree plantings, adding 39 trees to five sites: the U.S. National Arboretum's Washington Youth Garden, Green SEED Community Garden, Capitol Hill Montessori School, Developing Families Center and the McLean Gardens neighborhood.

We'd like to thank all of our great sponsors this year who helped make these events possible. Sponsors of this season included the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association (Capitol Quarter), Capitol Hill Community Foundation (Capitol Hill Montessori School), and Washington Nationals Dream Foundation (Chamberlain Elementary Friendship Public Charter School). The Starbucks Coffee Company provided in-kind donations of coffee at select CTP events.

We look forward to seeing new and returning volunteers next season! Next spring will be one of our largest planting seasons ever, so we have a lot to look forward to.

Dozens of Citizen Foresters and volunteers gathered at Fort McNair in November to plant.

If you want to catch up on the fall 2011 season, check out our Flickr collection highlighting featured photos.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Casey Trees teams up with Mi Casa in Ivy City

Casey Trees was invited to work with Mi Casa and provide quality tree canopies through our RiverSmart Homes program. Mi Casa contacted us through their deputy director, Elin Zurbrigg and Heather Whitlow (former Casey Trees Director of Planning and Design). Seven of Mi Casa's newest low-income houses were selected to receive trees for their future owners.

Mi Casa has taken seven abandoned lots in the Ivy City area and built houses intended for low-income families. The houses feature sustainable ideas, like rain barrels, that allow rainwater to be collected and reused instead of flowing down storm drains. The houses also feature fences to help give these homes a bit of privacy from the streets and neighbors. In addition to these features, Mi Casa asked Casey Trees to plant some trees for these new homes so that future owners could enjoy the benefits of having canopy coverage.

"The goal was to get a shade tree, flowering tree and evergreen tree on each of the seven sites, or at least two out of three of each tree type as space allowed," said Jim Woodworth, Director of Tree Planting. Shade trees were planted to help keep the new homes cool and provide shade for the yards. Flowering trees were given prominent placement near the houses so that families could enjoy their seasonal beauty. Additional privacy was brought to the houses through the use of evergreen trees, whose foliage would protect the yards from public view as the trees mature.

As luck would have it, Mi Casa let us know that two of the houses were sold on the day of the planting. Hopefully these homeowners and their neighbors will be able to enjoy these new trees for generations to come.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Live Green Holiday Happy Hour Tonight

Get into the holiday spirit and go green on Thursday, December 15th! Live Green members can head to Café Green for Live Green’s Holiday Happy Hour!

From 5-7 p.m., Live Green will be there along with Honi Borden, author of The Day I Became a Superhero, as well as HawaH, editor of The Poetry of Yoga, who will both be signing copies of their books. Enjoy drink specials from Café Green's organic bar, and of course the 5% discount on all purchases at Café Green that Live Green members receive.

If you do not have a Live Green membership, head on over to and type in the referral code Casey TreesLG to earn Casey Trees a $10 donation. Don’t miss out on this and other Live Green events like the Art + Wine Bazaar and the GiveWell Dine-Out Night, not to mention the great everyday savings that come with a Live Green membership!

Monday, December 12, 2011

UFA Reorganization Act of 2011 Report Out

On December 7, Councilmember Mary M. Cheh convened the Committee on Environment, Public Works and Transportation to hear testimony on the Urban Forest Administration (UFA) Reorganization Act of 2011 (B19-894). Casey Trees' Executive Director Mark Buscaino was just one of several individuals to offer verbal and written testimony. We thank the committee for devoting almost three hours to discussing how to best protect one of D.C.'s greatest natural resources - its trees!

To learn more about the UFA Reorganization Act, visit our B19-894 devoted webpage or replay Thursday's online chat. To support our seven recommended modifications, send a letter of support today.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - December 9, 2011

We will be planting trees tomorrow at the Franciscan Monastery. Here is a photo from this past summer when it was about 50 degrees (F) warmer!
View more on Flickr or submit your own photos of trees

Planting Recap: Brookland

This past Saturday, Casey Trees had the pleasure of making D.C. a little greener - right in our own neighborhood! We love planting all over the District, but planting trees across the street from our headquarters, alongside our neighbors, was especially rewarding. 37 volunteers and Citizen Foresters came out to the planting. Everyone enjoyed the sunny morning while planting 18 trees along 12th Street Northeast. Following the planting, all enjoyed a delicious lunch from Silvestre Cafe. Special thanks to project organizer Astrid Joehnk and Lead Citizen Forester Kathie Shahan for helping make this CTP event a success!

Casey Trees crew member Jabbari Brew demonstrates safety methods outside of our headquarters on Saturday.

The Community Tree Planting event in Brookland marked this season's second-to-last planting. In fact, tomorrow will be our last planting of the fall season. But there are still ways to get involved with Casey Trees after the CTP season ends! Check out our calendar of events to sign up for an educational class, tree tour or workshop.

One CF and three volunteers plant a tree along 12th Street NE.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas from Casey Trees

Not sure what to get your friends and family this holiday season? Lucky for you, we have some great ideas some eco-friendly presents. Here are just a few great gift ideas for the tree hugger on your list:

  • Casey Trees T-Shirt: Our comfy, cozy graphic tees are the perfect present for anyone. Go online and get yours today for just $25.
  • Live Green Membership: For just $18 get discounts at all your favorite eco-friendly stores around DC. Use the referral code Casey TreesLG when signing up and LiveGreen will donate $10 to Casey Trees!
  • Tree Dedication: Honor your friends and family by dedicating a Casey Tree to them this holiday season. Dedications are listed online and the honoree receives an acknowledgment certificate as well as a site map of their tree’s location.
  • RiverSmart Homes Shade Tree: Have a friend looking to add a tree to their yard? Sign them up for the Casey Trees RiverSmart Homes program and we’ll provide a home consultation and recommend tree species before purchasing, transporting, and planting each tree for just $50.
Our "I Dig Trees" t-shirt design.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Photo Feature: December 2, 2011

A bold sweetgum newly planted at Fort McNair by Casey Trees this fall.
View more on Flickr or submit your own photos of trees

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tree of the Month: American Chestnut

Though today is the first of December,  you have probably already heard Christmas tunes on the radio for weeks. It's hard to think of the holidays without getting that lyric about chestnuts stuck in your head. For that, you can thank the American chestnut (Castanea dentata), our December Tree of the Month.

Before the early 1900's, there were approximately 4 billion American chestnut trees in the Northeast. They stood up to 110 feet tall and provided delicious nuts for street vendors to roast and sell during winter months. But due to a fungus-related disease called chestnut blight, American chestnuts rapidly disappeared. Fortunately, chestnut blight does not kill the tree's roots, so some sprouts survived. Today there are hundreds of healthy American chestnuts in the mountains of Michigan and Pennsylvania.

An American chestnut. Photo credit: njheart2heart
Since American chestnuts are somewhat rare in D.C., finding one is a special treat! You can find two American chestnut trees on the grounds of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and one that was planted in 2005 near the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More American chestnuts can be found in surrounding areas such as Glencarlyn Park and Sugarloaf Mountain.

How can you tell if you've spotted a rare American chestnut?
  • The leaves are simple and alternate and are usually between five and nine inches long. They are yellow-green and have sharply toothed edges.
  • The flowers are yellow cylindrical clusters, between four and nine inches long. They bloom between the late spring and early summer.
  • The edible chestnuts grow inside of prickly burs. Up to three nuts can be found in one shell. They sprout in early autumn. 
The jagged edges of an American chestnut leaf. Photo credit: njheart2heart
Be mindful not to confuse the American chestnut with its non-native relative the Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima). Chinese chestnuts have similar characteristics, but their leaves are identifiable by their dark, glossy green color and shorter length.

Winter Class Schedule Released - Sign up now!

With just two planting events left, we will soon be wrapping up our fall planting season. But did you know you there are plenty of ways to participate and learn about trees, even in the off-season? Our 2012 workshops, classes and tree tours will help you become an informed care-taker of the District's trees. That's the best part. The second best part is every event is free!

Informational classes
All classes are held at the Casey Trees Headquarters, at 3030 12 Street NE. Light meals are provided.
  • Trees 101 Saturday, January  21, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. This Citizen Forester-qualifying course will give you an overview of tree anatomy, tree identification and the benefits provided by an urban forest. 
  • Stand Up for Trees: Saturday, February  4, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Learn how to advocate for trees in your community and become a Citizen Forester.
  • What's Bugging D.C. - Our Urban Forest Pests: Wednesday, February 8, 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Learn about the major pests that threaten D.C.'s urban forest and what is being done to manage them. 
  • Trees 201: Saturday, February  11, 9 a.m. - noon. Geared toward Citizen Foresters and Project Organizers, Trees 201 will teach you year-round tree characteristics and limitations or tolerances in urban conditions.
  • Forest Gardens: Wednesday, February 22, 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Instructor and Researcher Lincoln Smith will focus on how to produce food such as vegetables, flour and nuts in healthy ecosystems.
  • Remarkable Trees of Virginia: Friday, March 23, 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Join Dr. Jeff Kirwan, co-author of Remarkable Trees of Virginia, for a discussion about remarkable and historical trees in Virginia. 
Casey Trees' Shawn Walker shows a participant how to prune trees at Dangerfield Island last winter.

Workshops and Tree Walks
  • Pruning Workshop: Saturday, January 14, 9:30 a.m. - noon. Location: Dangerfield Island, Alexandria. Join Barry Stahl, horticulturist for the National Park Service, for hands-on practice with pruning trees.
  • Winter ID - Trees In Transition Tree WalkSaturday, March 10. Location: Rock Creek Trail at Beach Drive, Maryland. Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of City of Trees, will lead a winter hike and put your tree identifying skills to the test in Rock Creek Park.
 For more information and to sign up, visit the calendar of events on our website.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tell the D.C. Council to Better Protect Trees

On December 7, you have the opportunity to tell the D.C. Council to better protect one of the District’s greatest natural resources – its tree canopy. 

Next Wednesday morning, Councilmember Mary M. Cheh, Chairperson of the Committee on the Environment, Public Works, and Transportation, will hold a public hearing on the Urban Forest Administration Reorganization Act of 2011 (B19-484). This legislation, introduced by Councilmember Phil Mendelson, is intended to address several shortcomings of the Urban Forest Preservation Act (UFPA) of 2002 that has resulted in the loss of thousands of trees across the District.

While we applaud Councilmember Mendelson for taking the lead on this discerning issue affecting the livability and beauty of our nation’s capital, we have proposed seven recommendations to B19-484 we believe will strengthen the proposed legislation and make the UFPA an effective tool in protecting and growing our tree canopy. 

As a friend, ally and tree lover, we hope you will stand with us on December 7 in support of our recommendations. Your support at this critical time is imperative to keep Washington D.C. the “City of Trees”. 

Take Action:
  1. Learn more. Our B19-484 devoted webpage details our recommendations and features video and support documents.
  2. Attend and testify at the public hearing. Public testimony is optional but helpful.

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011
    10:30 a.m.
    John A. Wilson Building
    1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room 412
    Washington, D.C. 20004

    R.s.v.p. now
  3. Send a Letter of Support to the Committee on the Environment, Public Works, and Transportation Councilmembers.

    Mary M. Cheh, Chairperson
    Yvette Alexander
    Muriel Bowser
    Jim Graham
    Tommy Wells

    Download the Letter of Support Template.
  4. Tell your friends, family members and peers to attend and submit letters of support.
  5. Make a donation to support our advocacy work.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why Plant Trees?

There are countless reasons why planting trees benefits D.C. - too many to list in a single post. But we think it is important that you know why we love trees and why you should too! So we have compiled a list of the top 5 reasons to plant trees.  
  1. Plant some green, save some green. Shade trees save D.C. about $2.6 million in air conditioning costs every year. And individual homes that are shaded by trees can pay 10-30% less for cooling costs than houses with no trees!  
  2. Provide environmental benefits. You may think this one is a given. But did you know that every year, D.C.'s trees filter 540 tons of harmful pollutants from the air? They also help clean our rivers by limiting the amount of storm water run off that pollutes D.C.'s waterways. 
  3. Increase property values. Homes in urban areas across the country sell for 10-20% when the property includes trees. 
  4. Reduce crime. Research shows that neighborhoods with trees have less crime than neighborhoods without trees. Trees add an aesthetic value to neighborhoods that helps draw residents outside. More eyes on the street means less crime.
  5. Create habitat for wildlife. Trees provide food and shelter for birds and small animals.
Every tree makes a difference. You can help increase the benefits by adding to the District's canopy. Take advantage of our tree rebate program and plant a tree this fall! Find out more reasons to plant trees on our website.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Planning for a Sustainable D.C.

Contributing writer - Lisa Morris, Planning Associate

Mayor Gray has an ambitious goal: he wants to make our city “the greenest, healthiest, most livable city in the country.” From this intention, Sustainable DC was born. The Office of Planning launched the initiative in September with a website and series of public meetings to get people talking about what sustainability means to them and what it can mean to life in the District. Residents, businesses and organizations around the city have already contributed thousands of ideas from window farming to a canoe-share program. Here at Casey Trees, we’ve been participating in the process and sharing some ideas of our own.

It may come as no surprise that our recommendations focus on a simple concept: more trees! Trees are at the forefront of creating a green, healthy and livable city. They remove pollutants from the air, capture stormwater before it can flow into waterways, make streets more inviting for walking and biking, provide habitat for animals and can even act as a local food source. They do all of this at relatively little cost and can be integrated into the existing urban fabric without requiring major structural overhauls. In short, they’re a great bargain.

Most agree on the goal of enhancing the urban forest, but to make it happen in a dynamic urban environment with competing demands for limited space, we need a roadmap. The District has an informal goal of growing the tree canopy to 40% by 2035, and to turn this goal into action, we need laws, policies and regulations that give it teeth. One example is to update the Urban Forest Preservation Act of 2002 to ensure that it protects the large canopy trees of today and tomorrow. An Urban Forest Master Plan is another necessary tool to provide clear direction on how to reach this goal. The City’s MS-4 stormwater permit requires the adoption of such a plan; however, the City has yet to develop one. 

Changes to the built environment and development regulations can also help create a more tree-friendly city. For example, encouraging developers to bury utility wires underground makes room for expanded tree canopy, and suspended sidewalks with soil cells underneath create space for roots to stretch out so they can get all the nutrients they need to thrive. These are simple strategies to accommodate population growth and new development without sacrificing our urban forest.

Trees are a critical part of the living system that is a city. We are excited to bring this perspective to the Sustainable DC process as we build a road map to a greener, healthier and more livable District.

Roxane Sismanidis: Making a Difference through the CFC

Casey Trees CFC Donor and Citizen Forester Roxane
 with husband and fellow Citizen Forester Steve Burant
Roxane Sismanidis has been a government employee for the past 21 years. And for 21 years she’s also been a loyal annual contributor to the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area (CFCNCA), helping her favorite local nonprofits continue their great work throughout the community.

In the last few years, Roxane – who is also a Casey Trees Lead Citizen Forester – has chosen us as her charity of choice, helping bring trees to her hometown of D.C. “I know that with Casey Trees my donation will go towards making a difference in my own neighborhood and across Washington,” Roxane says, “and that I’m making a worthwhile investment that I’ll be able to enjoy – personally.”

Roxane is just one of the scores of federal employees who have chosen to donate to Casey Trees through the Combined Federal Campaign over the years, and we’d like to thank her for that. Without Roxane’s annual contribution, and the generous contributions of others like her, we simply wouldn’t be able to do the work that we do. It is exactly this support from our friends and neighbors that allows us to continue our tree planting efforts throughout the city. That’s why we need your help.

If you’re a government employee, join Roxane this year in creating a greener and more sustainable city by donating to Casey Trees today (CFC #24598). Donating is easy and can be done online or even through a monthly payroll deduction.

By making a pledge to Casey Trees you’re doing more than just helping plant trees; you’re building an important legacy in our city, one that will last for generations to come.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Big Thanks to Our Friends at the Capitol Hill Community Foundation!

On Wednesday, November 2, Casey Trees headed to Capitol Hill Montessori School to do what we do best—provide trees to those who need them!

On this beautiful fall day, nearly 30 first- through fifth-grade students got to take a break from classes to work alongside Casey Trees staff to learn how to dig, plant, water, and care for trees (and toss a Frisbee or two around with some of our staff members!). Six trees and a few hours later, Capitol Hill Montessori School students had a brand new natural outdoor space to enjoy on their new campus.

Casey Trees staff member Sara Turner plants a tree with students.
But this planting wouldn't have been possible had it not been for the support of our friends over at the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, an organization dedicated to serving the needs of the Capitol Hill neighborhood and its residents. Their generous gift to Casey Trees enabled us to plant four native tree species in the school’s native garden area, in addition two apple trees around the campus. Contributions like these are vital to making sure that our Community Tree Planting program continues to be provided to interested neighborhoods and communities at no cost.

We at Casey Trees are honored to have received such overwhelming support from our new friends, and are equally proud and excited to be putting that money right back into the neighborhood that helped make this happen. From all of us at Casey Trees, we’d like to extend a big thanks to the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, and all those who work tirelessly to make what they do possible.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Discovering and Mapping Late Fall Tree Colors

Contributing writer - Tom Buckley, Director of Technical Services and Research

Driving out to Casey Tree Farm in Berryville, Virginia recently with Jim Woodworth and Mark Buscaino, I benefited from the their understanding of the interplay between tree species and the landscape. For a city kid, the organization of fall colors in a country landscape is novel: the white bark of sycamore trees; the creeks and waterways they hide.

In D.C., the street trees are somewhat divorced from aspects of their habitat, and the link between their species and their “landscape” is more artificial. However, the arborists at the Urban Forestry Administration in D.C. have kept meticulous records of the location of their work, allowing novices to track the colors that we notice in passing.

To better understand some of the trees I noticed around the District, I created a map from the UFA’s street tree data. In the UFA’s dataset, each individual street tree is a data point on the map and each is categorized by species. We are able to filter the results so that only certain species are displayed for a custom map view. I filtered the street tree map to display only those known to keep their leaves into the late-fall and winter.

Ginkgo trees are yellow, pin oaks red, and Chinese elms purple. Click on individual points on the map to view Street View or learn more about the species. Navigate around the map to see where these street trees are planted throughout D.C.

Friday Photo Feature: November 18, 2011

Tools ready to go before a tree planting at Capitol Quarter.
View more on Flickr or submit your own photos of trees

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Volunteers Help Re-Tree D.C.

Planting trees all over D.C. would not be possible without the help of District residents. In just two weeks Citizen Foresters, volunteers and project organizers have helped Casey Trees host six Community Tree Planting (CTP) events in five different wards.
  • Ward 4: On Nov. 4, Rock Creek Cemetery in Ward 4 got a little greener thanks 39 volunteers and six Citizen Foresters. 
  • Ward 8: On Nov. 5, Oxon Run Park and Congress Park Plaza, both in Ward 8, received a total of 50 trees. 57 volunteers at Oxon Run and 30 volunteers at Congress Park Plaza helped make each CTP event possible. 
  • Ward 6: On Nov. 9 25 volunteers and seven Citizen Foresters helped plant 28 trees at Fort Mcnair. We had probably the best mild weather we've had all year for this event and it was great to have the support from folks at Fort McNair as we did last November.
  • Ward 2: On Nov. 12 11 trees found a home on the grounds of Rose Park. Among the volunteers was a former high school crew member from the summer of 2009! 
  • Ward 3: Also on Nov. 12, McLean Gardens received 15 young trees. 31 volunteers and 13 Citizen Foresters came out to the CTP event. 
Volunteers plant trees at Oxon Run.
Check out more photos from the event! Or take a look at the whole season so far.
Thanks to everyone who has helped make this CTP season a success! All upcoming planting events are currently filled to capacity, but Casey Trees still needs your help in reforesting D.C. Consider making a donation to help offset the cost of new trees.

Join Live Green and Support Casey Trees - Tonight!

Looking for a way to get over those mid-week blues? Well for all you Live Green members out there, the answer is easy. Head to Local 16 tonight, November 16, as our partners at LiveGreen celebrate this favorite neighborhood hangout as their newest Live Green Spot.

Tonight from 6 til 8 p.m., Live Green members will receive complimentary VeeV Skinny Mojito and appetizers by Café Green. The best part? From now on, all members receive 10% off their tab at Local 16!

But remember, these discounts and many more apply to Live Green members only – so get your membership today! Simply go to to and type in the referral code: CaseyTreesLG. By doing so, a donation of $10 dollars will be made to Casey Trees!

Join the thousands of Washingtonians who already enjoy the discounts and deals offered daily around the city, while helping us add some trees to the District. And be sure to come out tonight to Local 16 (1602 U Street, NW) and get a taste of what a Live Green membership can do for you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's National Philanthropy Day! Celebrate with Casey Trees

We are happy to say that we’re only six weeks into our fall Community Tree Planting season and the efforts of our staff and volunteers are already showing. Sixteen new trees have helped make Boys Town Washington, D.C. a more welcoming destination for youth in crisis to seek help; fruit trees have made Green SEED Community Garden a model for urban agriculture; and with over 40 shade trees planted, eight local schools now have greener outdoor spaces for their students to enjoy. Overall, more than 300 trees have been planted so far this fall season!

However, at Casey Trees, our work is never really done - there are always more trees to be planted. But we need your help to keep going. Today is National Philanthropy Day, a country wide celebration highlighting the importance of the generosity of people like you who make it possible for organizations like ours to continue constantly working for a stronger community and a healthier planet for everyone. So please consider making your own philanthropic contribution in support of our work and canopy restoration efforts in recognition and tribute of all the generous people whose donations makes nonprofit work possible.
We have certainly accomplished a lot this year, but there is so much more to do. We could not have come as far as we have without your help, and we cannot go further without it. Please make a tax-deductible donation of any amount to Casey Trees today and join us in our work to plant trees, build communities, and restore our beautiful city’s urban canopy.

Monday, November 14, 2011

44 Trees for Schools

More than half-way through our fall Community Tree Planting season, Casey Trees is having a great time adding young trees across D.C.  The weather has been gorgeous lately, every event has been a success and we've had the opportunity to plant at eight schools across the District!

Over 150 students have helped us plant 44 trees in five wards. Here is a recap of what we've been up to:
  • Oct. 19: H.D. Cooke Elementary School.  23 third-grade students got their hands dirty with Casey Trees when they helped plant six trees all around their school grounds.
  • Oct. 19: Chamberlain Public Charter School. Just a couple hours later, 11 students from Chamberlain PCS helped Casey Trees put four trees in the ground. A class of Pre-K students learning about trees in their class came out to watch the event.
  • Oct. 20: British School of Washington. 23 students ranging from age 6 to 16 planted six trees. We interviewed teacher and project organizer Mr. Horton as part of a feature story in our September E-Newsletter 
  • Oct. 26: Woodridge Elementary Friendship Public Charter School. 23 fourth-graders helped us plant 5 trees, including 3 redbuds. Anticipating the event, the excited students had made posters announcing the planting and put them up all over the school.
Students from the British School of Washington prep the ground for new trees. See more photos from the event!
  • Oct. 26: John Burroughs Education Campus. Right after the Woodridge planting, we planted two sweetgums, two tulip poplars and one yellowwood with the help of 11 students. The John Burroughs students ranged from first to sixth grade.
  • Nov. 2: Blow Pierce Junior Academy Friendship Public Charter School. Mrs. Leavengood-Boxer's fourth grade class joined Casey Trees in planting six trees. The event was especially enjoyable for Casey Trees staff member Jabbari Brew who attended Blow Pierce!
Jabbari Brew helps fourth-graders from Blow Pierce roll a tree into its hole. Check out more photos from this planting!
  • Nov. 2: Capitol Hill Montessori School. The Casey Trees planting crew headed from one school planting to the next and helped plant 6 trees at Capitol Hill Montessori.
  • Nov. 3: Collegiate Academy Friendship Public Charter School. 10 high school seniors helped us plant six trees. Following a pattern of reminiscence, Collegiate Academy is Jabbari Brew's high school Alma Mater.
Casey Trees school plantings are a little different from the rest of our CTP events. Schools can request fewer than ten trees - the minimum for CTP sites. Additionally, students are the only volunteers so they get to experience every step of the planting process. We go back to the school about a week after we plant to go over tree-watering methods with the students. From start to finish and as the trees grow, students learn first-hand how important trees are for our environment.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Casey Trees and Community Gardens

Amidst the hustle and bustle of D.C. lie over 40 community gardens, where District residents can plant and harvest their own produce. Community gardens provide educational and peaceful oases for residents across the city. This CTP season, Casey Trees is getting involved with their efforts.

Volunteers help plant a tree at the Washington Youth Garden on Oct. 18.
Visit our Flickr page for more photos.
Green SEED Planting
On Oct. 29, District residents braved rainy weather to help plant 13 trees at the Green SEED Community Garden. 20 volunteers and 9 Citizen Foresters joined Casey Trees in adding apple, fig and cherry trees to the garden. Established in 2010, the Green SEED Community Garden is located between 17th St, 18th St, D St and E St. Special thanks to Lead Citizen Forester Patricia Carmichael and project organizer Dan Fitzgerald for their help in making the CTP event possible.

Washington Youth Garden Planting
This CTP season has seen another community garden planting, in early October. Casey Trees, along with four Citizen Foresters and 17 volunteers, planted 16 fruit trees at the Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum. The trees were mostly apple and peach. Val Wheeler, Lead Citizen Forester and Kaifa Anderson-Hall, project organizer provided leadership in organizing the event.

Upcoming film: Community of Gardeners
On Saturday November 19, from 2 p.m. till 5 p.m. we will host a free screening of the documentary film, Community of Gardeners at our headquarters in Brookland. The film highlights the important role of seven different community gardens in Washington, D.C., including the Washington Youth Garden. A discussion with director and award-winning film artist Cintia Cabib will follow the screening. Guests from local community gardens will also help lead the discussion. Space is still available.

Sign up for this unique opportunity to learn more about the community gardens of D.C. You can also read about the film on the Community of Gardeners website. We hope to see you on November 19!

Tonight: Growing Fruit Trees in the DC Area
This evening we will feature a class at our headquarters on fruit trees, presented by Dr. Christopher Walsh of the University of Maryland. We will discuss the potential role of fruit trees in urban and suburban landscapes as well as practices we can incorporate to best manage the challenges they pose. This class is currently full.

Contact Shawn Walker with any questions about classes.

Give to the Max Day is Today! Join Thousands and Donate to Casey Trees Today

The day is here!

Today, as the clock struck midnight, the first annual Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington got underway. For the next 24 hours, Casey Trees is joining thousands of area nonprofits in the hopes of raising money and bringing in new donors to their causes.

By giving to Casey Trees today, your donation not only goes towards helping us plant our trees across DC, but also helps give us a shot to win our share of $125,000 in cash awards being offered to select nonprofits. Organizations like Casey Trees can win up to $25,000 for bringing in the most individual donors or the raising the most money. So today, make your donation count even more and give to your favorite tree planting nonprofit – Casey Trees.

But don’t just donate, spread the word! The individuals who bring the most donors on behalf of their cause can add an extra $10,000 to their donation. Tell your friends, family, and neighbors that today is the day to donate to Casey Trees!

To donate, simply go to the Casey Trees page on the Give to the Max web site, and choose the amount you’d like to donate. However, your donation only counts towards these incredible prizes today, November 9th.

If you’ve been thinking about donating to Casey Trees, don’t wait any longer. Give now and join thousands of donors on Give to the Max Day. Help us reach our goals so we can continue to provide trees and restore the urban canopy in your community.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - November 4, 2011

A river birch planted at our 3015 12th Street NE tree yard.
View more on Flickr or submit your own photos of trees

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Re-Tree DC With the CFC

Are you a federal employee? Do you love the work we do at Casey Trees? Well if so, take this opportunity to join your friends and coworkers and help bring trees to your community through the annual Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). This year marks the 50th anniversary of the CFC - the only authorized workplace charitable giving drive for Federal employees. And while the campaign officially began on September 1st, you have until December 15th to support one of more than 4,000 approved local, national, and international charities.

For the fourth year in a row, Casey Trees is a participating member in the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area (CFCNCA) - the local CFC campaign for Federal employees in the Washington Metropolitan Area and the largest workplace giving campaign in the world. And as a celebration of this 50th anniversary, the campaign leaders have set a 2011 fundraising goal of $67.2 million. We’re calling on all our friends in the federal government to help reach that goal by donating to Casey Trees through the CFC today!

If you are a federal employee and want to give through the CFC, all you have to do is fill out a donation pledge form designating a chosen organization and the desired amount you want to give. To make your donation to Casey Trees and help bring trees to your neighborhood, all you have to do is choose CFC #24598, and select your amount – any donation makes a huge difference.

Every gift we receive through CFC will go towards our tree planting, education, and design initiatives that help the environment and restore DC’s urban canopy. Casey Trees has already planted over 1,500 trees this year alone. This number is impressive, but with your support alongside your family, friends, colleagues, and coworkers, Casey Trees can continue to grow and plant trees in greater numbers in more schools, street corners, parks and other locations around the city.

By pledging support, you are making the first step towards establishing a green legacy in our Nation’s Capital to be enjoyed for generations to come. Choose CFC #24598 today for a healthier and more beautiful District of Columbia.

Nov. 30 is the Spring CTP Application Deadline

Volunteers plant trees at Capitol Quarter.
Apply for a Community Tree Planting event and join the hundreds of D.C. residents who have helped re-forest the city! Casey Trees is currently accepting applications for our spring CTP season. If your application is accepted, Casey Trees will provide and plant trees at your specified location for free. But hurry - the deadline for all applications is Nov. 30. 

Apply today if you:
  • Want to plant 10 or more trees at a location in D.C. (school sites can request fewer).
  • Can obtain permission from all property owners to plant at the site.
  • Are willing to attend an orientation meeting and agree to care for the trees for two years after the planting.
  • Love trees!
Since its inception in 2005, the CTP program has helped put thousands of young trees in the ground. Casey Trees provides all the trees, tools and volunteers to make each CTP event a success. Remember, even if you can't apply for a CTP event, we still need your help! Consider making a donation or sponsoring a CTP event to help offset tree costs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Casey Trees, Area Non-Profits Join Forces to Raise Big Bucks on Nov. 9th

Calling all Casey Trees fans: we need your support! 

On Wednesday, November 9th Casey Trees will be participating in the first annual Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington, a massive one-day regional online fundraiser that will unite local Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC communities to support nonprofits serving the area. Starting at midnight, Casey Trees will join hundreds of other local organizations in hopes of attracting 10,000 new donors and raise at least $3 million. But with your help on November 9th, a simple donation could mean an even bigger reward for Casey Trees.

As part of Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington, nonprofits large and small can earn their share of $125,000 in cash awards, including up to $25,000 for nonprofits with the most individual donors and the most money donated.  The individuals who bring the most donors on behalf of their cause can add an extra $10,000 to their donation. A prize like this would make all the difference in achieving our tree planting goals for next year – so please consider donating to Casey Trees on November 9th.

Donating is easy.  Simply go to the Casey Trees page on the Give to the Max web site, and choose the amount you’d like to donate. Remember – your donation only counts on November 9th so be sure to wait until then to give!

Join your family, friends, and neighbors in raising money for the organizations that do work in your area. Together we can reach this goal and help our community – and Casey Trees – make a difference.

Tree of the Month - Scarlet Oak

The chill of last weekend may have stripped some trees of their foliage, but many will retain their leaves late into the season, including our November Tree of the Month, the scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea). It is the official tree of the District of Columbia and has some of the most brilliant colors you will see this season. Its deep red autumn colors appear late in the fall season and give the tree its common name. The scarlet oak is native to the Eastern United States. Its habitat stretches along most of the Appalachian Mountains, but can also be found in Southern Indiana, Southeastern Missouri and Mississippi.
Scarlet oak leaves.
Photo credit: Jason Hollinger
The scarlet oak shares many similarities to its close cousin, the pin oak, but several key features make it easily identifiable. The scarlet oak's acorn is larger at one half to one inch long and features a deep cup that covers almost half of the nut. The scarlet oak also features ascending branches that can form an open, rounded or irregular crown that looks markedly different from the horizontal and drooping branches of the pin oak.

The scarlet oak's leaves are simple and oval shaped with deep C-shaped cuts that create up to nine bristly lobes. The leaves are a bright and shiny green on top with a paler shaded underside and are usually three to seven inches long. The leaves autumn colors range from a subtle russet to the deep scarlet coloration the tree is famous for.

Facts about the scarlet oak
  • The scarlet oak prefers dry and sandy soils especially along ridges and slopes
  • The tree's canopy can spread up to 50 feet in diameter
  • The scarlet oak's acorns are a food source for gray squirrels, mice, deer, wild turkey and other birds
  • Their taproot system can make the scarlet oak difficult to transplant
  • These trees can fare droughts much better than other trees
A scarlet oak on Hobart Street in Mount Pleasant.
The scarlet oak can be found in a variety of locations throughout the District, but some of the more famous locations include the grounds of the White House, Supreme Court, and the Capitol. They can also be found along New Hampshire Avenue NW, the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, Tudor Place in Georgetown, and Rock Creek Park. One notable example is the 2006 Champion Scarlet Oak at 3374 Minnesota Avenue SE. Be sure to search for scarlet oaks that we have planted on our interactive Casey Trees Map. Just select "Casey Trees' Plantings" and type "scarlet."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DPW Leaf Collection

Time to get raking, everyone! D.C.'s Department of Public Works will begin collecting fall leaves on November 7. The DPW will vacuum and compost your leaves on a designated date, depending on your Ward and neighborhood. It's easy for you and beneficial to the environment!

Just remember to:
  • Rake the leaves into a pile within a tree-box space. 
  • Remove any tree limbs or rocks from the pile.
  • Check for trash. Making sure your pile is free of litter can help prevent water pollution. 
See the ward-by-ward schedule or visit the DPW website to plan the best time to rake leaves from your yard. You can also check your address on the DPW map to see the planned leaf pickup times through December.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Starbucks Keeps Casey Trees Warm This Fall Season

We know our volunteer work is fun and rewarding, but we also realize that being ready to plant trees at 9:00AM on a Saturday morning can be tough – especially if it’s cold or rainy (or in the case of this weekend, snowing!). Luckily for our volunteers, for the fourth year in a row Starbucks is a contributing sponsor for the 2011 fall Community Tree Planting season! At most tree planting events, you’ll find Starbucks coffee at the Casey Trees registration table. Volunteers can help themselves to a hot cup of joe to wake up, stay warm and get moving.

Starbucks’ generosity provides a reminder of what goes into each Casey Trees planting event. Our grassroots approach to beautifying this city means that both our applicants, and Casey Trees, rely heavily on our volunteers for much of our labor needs in planting trees. In turn, Casey Trees provides groups with the tools, training, technical assistance, and of course the trees, at no cost to them. In order to continue the success of our Community Tree Planting program, support like this from our neighborhood partners and friends is invaluable.

To learn how you can help out, visit our donation page to make a financial or in-kind contribution for an upcoming tree planting. Or, as always, you can get involved by volunteering and lending a hand at one of our many events. The bottom line is, whether you’re one of the world’s biggest coffee shops, or just one individual, there is no shortage of ways in which you can help support us in restoring the tree canopy of our Nation’s Capital.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Live Green and Casey Trees Partner Up to Save You Money

Looking to save money while helping out in your community this fall?  Well you’re in luck! For a limited time Casey Trees is partnering up with Live Green to make eco-friendly living a little more easy, fun, and affordable in the DC Metro Area.

From now until the end of the year, for every new Live Green membership sold, a donation of $10 will be made to Casey Trees and our tree planting initiatives.  By going to and typing in the referral code: CaseyTreesLG you will join the thousands who already enjoy the discounts and deals offered daily around the city, while helping us add some trees to the District!

Live Green is a DC-based organization that partners with eco-friendly businesses and provides them with exposure to their network of environmentally-conscious members who get exclusive discounts on green products, services, or events. A Live Green membership includes a Live Green discount card that you can use at over 50 participating businesses throughout the DC Metro Area.  Since each company they endorse is carefully screened based on their affordability, quality, and sustainable business practices, you can be sure you’re shopping responsibly and supporting socially conscious businesses – all while saving some money.

This fall season make the jump to go "green" while saving some “green” and see what a Live Green membership can do for you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Washington Nationals Dream Foundation Brings Trees to Chamberlain Elementary

On Thursday October 13th students at Chamberlain Elementary in Southeast DC got a special surprise from Casey Trees: four new trees to be planted on their school grounds. 

Despite a few clouds and a bit of rainy weather, 11 students from second and third grade classrooms came out to plant one river birch, one American basswood, one American hornbeam and one sweetgum alongside faculty and a handful of Casey Trees staff members. Even a few eager pre-k students, who are learning about trees in class, came out with their teachers to watch the planting unfold and share their knowledge with us all.

This planting event was especially meaningful to Casey Trees, however, because of one very special partner: The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. Thanks in part to a generous donation from the Dream Foundation, Casey Trees was able to provide Chamberlain students with a new, outdoor natural classroom – one that they created with their own hands.

Casey Trees staff member, Jabbari Brew, gives Chamberlain students
safety tips before their October 13th planting.
The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, the charitable arm of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club, is dedicated to forging community partnerships that improve the lives of area children and their families. Established in 2007, the Foundation’s cornerstone programs focus on children’s education, health and recreation.

From all of us at Casey Trees, we’d like to send a big thank you to the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation for their help in bringing trees to Chamberlain Elementary School this fall. Whether these students will be enjoying a long recess or an impromptu outdoor science class, this donation will help to greatly increase the quality of the time they spend at school.

To learn how you can help our school community tree planting initiatives, visit our website or contact Mark DeSantis, Development Associate, at 202.833.9125.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Foliage to Look Out for in D.C.

Photo credit: Jennuine Captures. 

With all the brilliant colors popping up around D.C., we can't possibly cover every changing tree in our Tree of the month posts. So we've compiled a short list of beautiful trees to look out for during the remainder of the fall season. Hit the town and enjoy them!
  • American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia) - Find the beech's simple yellow leaves at the U.S. Capitol grounds, Dumbarton Oaks and along the Capital Crescent trail. Also look out for the European beech trees (Fagus sylvatica) , whose leaves change to yellow or orange later on in the season.
  • Red maples (Acer rubrum) - All trees in the maple family sport fall foliage, but the red maple is particularly note-worthy. Its leaves usually turn crimson, but it can also display yellow, purple and orange. Find the red maple in front of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and on the White House grounds (Jimmy Carter planted a red maple there in 1977!).
  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) - The star-shaped sweetgum leaves can turn a multitude of colors. Oftentimes, several colors will appear on one tree. Check it out near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, at the National Zoo and in West Potomac Park.
Multi-colored sweetgum leaves. Photo credit: liberalmind1012.
  • White oak (Quercus alba) - The white oak can be found all over D.C., including at Dumbarton Oaks, Tudor Place, Logan Circle, Cedar Hill and the Capital Crescent Trail. Most white oak leaves turn red, but some turn a gorgeously rare deep-wine.
  • Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum) - Similar to the white oak, sourwood leaves can sometimes turn a deep shade of red. Other times, they display a brighter orange-red color. Find these simple oval-leafed trees at Glenwood Cemetery and the U.S. Botanic Garden on Maryland Ave SW. 
Find white oaks like this all over D.C. Photo credit: Tie Guy II.

For more help identifying tree species, visit our resources page!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association Sponsors Community Tree Planing, Southwest Rejoices

CFEBA volunteers celebrate the addition of 17 streets in Capitol Quarter.
Our fall Community Tree Planting (CTP) season continued this past weekend with two tree planting events that added 29 new trees to the District. One planting in particular was especially meaningful – the Capitol Quarter CTP – as Casey Trees partnered with the event’s lead sponsor, the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association (CFEBA) to plant 17 trees in one of the city’s newest waterfront neighborhoods.  

Established in 1946, the Energy Bar Association (EBA) is a non-profit voluntary association of attorneys, non-attorney professionals and students, whose mission is to promote the professional excellence and ethical integrity of its members in the practice, administration and development of energy laws, regulations and policies. CFEBA is its philanthropic arm that engages in a variety of energy-related and general charitable activities - including tree plantings!

CFEBA's sponsorship didn’t stop with just financial support – they brought in extra sets of hands as well. Almost 20 hard-working and enthusiastic EBA members came out early on their day off and joined Capitol Quarter residents to help plant trees. From all of us at Casey Trees, we’d like to extend a big thanks to our friends at CFEBA for their support in our reforestation efforts. A special thanks goes to Walter Hall, II who serves on CFEBA's Board of Directors and was integral in the sponsorship and recruitment of volunteers.

Partnering with local businesses and organizations to restore the tree canopy of the nation's capital is always a rewarding experience. We love working with local groups and sponsoring a tree planting is the ideal way to show your commitment to bettering the neighborhoods you do or hope to do business in. 

To learn how you can join the Charitable Foundation of the Energy Bar Association in being a CTP sponsor, visit our website or contact Mark DeSantis, Development Associate, at 202.833.9125.