Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Citizen Forester Spotlight: Kevin Kelso

Ever since he was a child, Citizen Forester Kevin Kelso has had a passion for trees. A native to Des Moines, Iowa, Kelso says one of his earliest memories “is looking out the window of the car… and seeing the towering trees on either side of the road forming a green archway overhead.”

After moving to D.C., Kelso was shocked by satellite images showing the District’s diminishing tree canopy that appeared in The Washington Post. They were the same images that moved philanthropist Betty Brown Casey to establish Casey Trees in 2002. Kelso was concerned for the District’s trees and began following the efforts of Casey Trees, “fascinated by its tree inventory project.”

Kelso (left) works with a fellow volunteer at a Community Tree Planting event in March

In 2007, Kelso acted on his love for trees and attended one of Casey Trees’ free classes, Introduction to Trees and Inventory (now called Trees 101). He has been a committed Citizen Forester ever since, qualifying as a Lead Citizen Forester in 2008 and attending more than 40 Community Tree Planting (CTP) events.

For Kelso, planting with Casey Trees is always a “rewarding experience.” He loves tree planting events because they present an opportunity to meet new people and visit different neighborhoods. He also says that there is a meditative quality to tree planting: “mundane concerns are displaced by the focus on getting that tree in the ground.”

Sure, planting events are self-gratifying for Kelso, but his motivations for volunteering with Casey Trees are also altruistic. Unlike all too many of us, Kelso grasps the long-term effects of our interactions with the earth. He takes pleasure in knowing that the reconstruction of D.C.’s canopy will create a “lasting improvement that will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

This Citizen Forester spotlight was featured in the August issue of our online newsletter The Leaflet. Read more stories from The Leaflet or sign up here to receive updates from Casey Trees!

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