Friday, April 29, 2011

Casey Trees releases Third Annual Tree Report Card in conjunction with Arbor Day, D.C. falls to a C

Read the 2010 Tree Report Card and those from past years in their entirety.
Each spring in conjunction with Arbor Day, Casey Trees releases its Tree Report Card – the only independent assessment of a city’s trees in the nation. The Tree Report Card rates five individual tree metrics – awareness, coverage, health, planting and protection – to arrive at an overall grade which reflects the quantity and quality of the District’s trees and public and private efforts to expand and sustain them.

For activities occurring in 2010 the overall grade is a C, a decline from the B- given the previous year. 

The lower grade is due in large part to the F assigned to tree protection which measures the effectiveness of the Urban Forest Preservation Act (UFPA) of 2002. The UFPA and its Tree Fund were created to replace large trees that are removed due to development and related activities. Our findings show that the UFPA is not achieving its goals due to poor oversight and use of Tree Fund dollars for purposes unrelated to those stipulated in the UFPA. 

Chief among the issues cited for the failing grade was the redirecting of $539,000 from the Tree Fund to the General Fund in FY11 to offset budget shortfalls and the lack of records to show if 10,000 trees that should have been planted since 2002 are alive or were even planted. Our Tree Report Card recommends that the Gray Administration reevaluate how the UFPA is administered and potentially shift that role to an agency that is better suited to the tasks outlined in the Act.

Read the entire 2010 Tree Report Card in a page-turning publication on our website. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - April 22, 2011

Last week's tree planting event at Turkey Thicket.
View more on Flickr or submit your own photos of trees.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Community Tree Planting Recap - Ward 5 Plantings

Volunteers planting trees in the rain at Turkey Thicket.
On Saturday we organized two fun but very rainy tree plantings at parks in Ward 5, not far from where our office is located. Volunteers planted a total of 39 trees at the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center and Michigan Park. The rain never let up and actually became worse as the planting went on, but we persevered through the rain, mud and rocky soil.

At Turkey Thicket, we had a great turnout of 81 volunteers including nine Citizen Foresters and volunteers from the Urban Land Institute (for the second week in a row), Playworks, George Washington University College Democrats, Lockheed Martin, Offender Aid and Restoration, and the Brookland Garden Club. We planted 18 trees in the north part of the Turkey Thicket grounds.

Newly planted trees at Michigan Park.
Just up the road at Michigan park there were 41 volunteers including six Citizen Foresters helping to plant 21 trees. Bob, Lori and Dan Moller provided a fabulous lunch for the volunteers afterward. Special thanks go to Tom Lavash who helped organize this event.

More photos from these events are available on our Flickr page:
Want a chance to hang out with Casey Trees in Ward 5 again? Visit our Open House on Saturday, April 30 between 12 PM and 5 PM. There will be lots of activities for all, including a tree walk around the Brookland neighborhood and a close look at our new headquarters. RSVP for free online and tell your friends and family!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - April 15, 2011

Peeling bark on the trunk of a street tree in Brookland.
View more on Flickr or submit your own photos of trees.

Casey Trees Celebrates National Volunteer Appreciation Week

Today, we recognize Joseph Bui, a Casey Trees' Citizen Forester since 2007, as part of National Volunteer Appreciation Week.

Joseph wanted to learn about how to prune trees, so he took a class with Casey Trees in 2007. “I heard about it through a friend. Some of my trees on my property needed a lot of pruning.”

His first planting was at Murch Elementary School. These days, he mostly volunteers with Casey Trees as a Citizen Forester at weekday school plantings because of the way his job, with Convio, is structured. It allows him to take time off during the workday to volunteer.

“I like to go outside and get messy in the dirt. It’s nice sense of accomplishment to plant a tree in the morning. The staff is nice.” He finds that most volunteer opportunities that come to him through his job don’t allow him the contact with the people receiving the benefits. “Whereas at Casey Trees, you come into contact with the people who are receiving the trees. I like that a lot.”
He praises Casey Trees’ organization. “You make it very easy to find out about and take part in events.”

And then there’s the benefit of seeing the fruits of his labor. “As I go around the city, I see trees that I planted pretty frequently. … It’s nice to see the results.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Casey Trees Celebrates National Volunteer Appreciation Week

Inspired by Stephen's commitment to building community? Register to volunteer at an upcoming Community Tree Planting event.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Community Tree Planting Recap - Tudor Place and Columbia Heights Village

Volunteers built an inukshuk from excavated stones and bricks, inspired by veteran Citizen Forester Otis Maréchaux.

Highlights from two of the past week's plantings:

On Thursday, April 7 we planted nine trees at Tudor Place, returning after a successful larger planting last October. The grounds of this beautiful, historic home in Georgetown serve as a refuge from the bustle of the city streets. We have joined the Tudor Place organization to restore some of the property's original tree species. Deb and Jeff Nussbaum graciously sponsored this planting in honor of the birth of their child, Sophia. Among our 25 volunteers were seven boy scouts from Troop 632 in Tecumseh, Michigan who delayed their sightseeing to join our community planting.

Rolling a ball and burlap tree into position at Tudor Place.
On Saturday, April 9 we had a large planting of 30 trees at Columbia Heights Village, a community at the corner of 14th and Harvard Streets NW with lots of green space and a single tall ginkgo. We benefited from the efforts of 73 volunteers, including 16 Citizen Foresters. Among our volunteers were groups from the Urban Land Institute, American University's study abroad program, George Washington University's Epsilon Alpha service sorority, Washington International School plus residents and neighbors from the community. Also, Councilmember Jim Graham arrived just in time for pizza after the planting! Thanks to Earl Lee for serving as a Lead Citizen Forester and to the Columbia Heights Village Tenants Association for helping to organize the event.

Lead Citizen Forester Earl Lee and Project Organizer Garrett Lee put together a slide show of photos and other content from the Columbia Heights planting - you should take a look!

A newly planted tree at Columbia Heights Village.

More photos from these events are available on our Flickr page:

Casey Trees Celebrates National Volunteer Appreciation Week

Monday, April 11, 2011

National Volunteer Appreciation Week

Casey Trees is pleased to celebrate National Volunteer Appreciation Week by profiling members of its Citizen Forester Volunteer Corps. All week we will be running print ads in various publications and profiling them on our blog to say thank you for everything they do. Today we salute Yousef Master and Sara Carr.

Yousef Master and Sara Carr found Casey Trees through Sara’s former colleague at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, long-time Citizen Forester Gregg Serenbetz. Now Citizen Foresters themselves, they are contributing to the next generation of CFs. Their son, Xavier, made his first cameo appearance at the final planting of the 2010 winter season at the Metropolitan Branch Trail event and has become a spring regular.

“We wanted something environmental,” Yousef says. The physical work feels good. “It’s a good way to start the weekend — We don’t sleep in anymore with this guy — And we’re usually done by noon.”

Another benefit: “It’s really cool to see parts of the city, from far Northwest to Anacostia, plus cool places like Tudor Place.”

Consider volunteering yourself. Our spring 2011 Community Tree Planting season runs until May 7.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - April 8, 2011

From the Casey Trees Flickr photo archives: a rainy spring 2008 planting at Rosedale Conservancy.
View more on Flickr
or submit your own photos of trees.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Community Tree Planting Recap - Woodland-Normanstone

Volunteers digging in. View more photos from this event on Flickr.

This weekend we planted trees at Woodland-Normanstone Terrace, our fourth Community Tree Planting in four consecutive seasons in the neighborhood. This was a notable planting as we planted the 100th tree in Woodland-Normanstone, with 28 trees planted in total. We had a turnout of 73 volunteers including 17 Citizen Foresters. Everyone joined together at the beginning before the safety demonstration, taking turns reading the poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer. The event concluded with champagne, beer, grilled sausages and tea sandwiches.

Thanks for coming out to plant trees with us this weekend! We're glad we could play a role in planting one hundred trees in your neighborhood.

You can view photos from this event in a photo set on Flickr. If you want to see all of the events from this season, browse the Spring 2011 collection or view the map of photos from recent plantings. There are plenty of opportunities this season to join us at planting events so take a look at our calendar and register to volunteer online.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Introducing Tree Talk Thursdays

You probably have pressing questions about trees in D.C. So do we - at Casey Trees we're always learning more from each other about urban forestry, how trees interact with the environment and how to take care of our trees. With the introduction of Tree Talk Thursdays, we are looking forward to expanding that dialogue outwards to you, whether you are a long-time Citizen Forester or a newly interested neighbor. Want to learn about how to take care of trees in the summer heat? Want to find out about the state of the tree canopy in D.C.? Read on.

Tree Talk Thursday will be a moderated discussion where we take selected questions from the public and answer them in real time. We will feature the expertise of Casey Trees staff and we will bring in outside contributors to help answer questions and shape the discussion. This is our way of hearing your concerns about trees in your neighborhood and helping to answer your questions. Tree Talk Thursday will also be the best place for you to learn what's new with our organization and how you can help us restore, enhance and protect our city's tree canopy.

All Tree Talk Thursday chats will take place live from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on select Thursdays. Our first session will kick off with a discussion on how to properly select and plant trees on April 14. Elizabeth Philbrick, Manager of Frager’s Hardware Store’s Garden Center, will join Mike Galvin and Sara Turner, Casey Trees’ deputy director and urban forestry manager respectively, on the chat.

To submit a question in advance or to suggest a topic, email You can also tweet a question or idea @CaseyTrees and we'll take note of your question for the next session. Go to to tune in to a chat live, or check back afterward for a replay of the chat. Sign up now to get an email reminder for the upcoming session. These talks are open to the public, whether you want to participate or just tune in and learn.

Here is the spring/summer 2011 Tree Talk Thursdays schedule:

April 14
Prepping to Plant Trees - Shopping and planting smart.

May 12
Tree Report Card - Grades are in. Reporting on how D.C. did.

June 9
Certified Arborists - Why you want one, where to find one.

July 14
Summer Tree Care - A tree survival guide.

August 11
Trees of Note - Discovering, appreciating notable trees in the D.C.

September 8
Weathering Storms - Minimizing damage to trees and property.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Community Tree Planting Recap - Catholic University of America (Part 2)

Newly planted cherry tree at CUA. View more photos from this event on Flickr.

When we kicked off our spring season we planted trees at Catholic University as a part of our Citizen Forester training. This past Friday, April 1, we returned to the campus to plant ten Japanese cherry trees on the green grassy knoll near the Crough Architectural Center. That makes this our second planting this season and our fourth planting to date!

The day started out with a blessing of the trees by Fr. Andy Santamauro. Joining ten staff and one Citizen Forester was a dedicated group of 31 students and staff who helped finish the planting in record time. We followed up with a wonderful lunch sponsored by School of Architecture and the Facilities department. During lunch the following people presented:
  • Diana Mayhew, Director, National Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Ambassador John Malott, Pres and CEO, Japan America Society
  • Randy Ott, Dean, School of Architecture and Planning, CUA
  • A representative from Embassy of Japan
  • Iris Miller, Director, Landscape Studies and Urban Institute Studio
  • Sue Erhardt, Casey Trees

Volunteers planting trees on campus.

Thanks to all who were involved with making this event possible, including the National Cherry Blossom Festival organization who sponsored the cherry trees. You can view photos from this event in a photo set on Flickr. If you want to see all of the events from this season, browse the Spring 2011 collection or take a look at the map of photos from recent plantings. There are plenty of opportunities this season to join us at planting events so take a look at our calendar and register to volunteer online.

Group photo after a job well done.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - April 1, 2011

Blossoms of a newly planted cherry tree at Catholic University of America.
View more on Flickr or submit your own photos of trees.