Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - September 30, 2011

Crew members Jabbari and Ed off-loading a balled-and-burlapped sweetgum tree.
On Wednesday, we had 159 trees delivered to our tree yard for the upcoming planting season (launching tomorrow at Catholic University!)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

CT at the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair

Visit Casey Trees at the the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair this weekend! The fair will take place Saturday, October 1st, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We'll be at booth #55 near the 18th Street entrance. Stop by to learn about our programs or classes, ask us tree questions, make a donation to receive a t-shirt ($20 for adults, $15 for kids), or just say "Hi!"

We are proud to participate at the eighth year of the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair. We'll be hanging out with independent artists from all over the country as they sell their handmade goods to everyone wanting to enjoy a day out in Adams Morgan.

Don't forget to check out the Crafty Bastards website to see who will be there. They've even provided a map and some tips for planning your day. Be sure to visit us on the grounds of the Marie Reed Learning Center at 18th & Wyoming in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

You should also make some time to visit our partners, Bare Tree Apparel, at booth #160.  They've kindly decided to donate 25% of their Crafty Bastards 2011 sales to Casey Trees. Stop by their booth, buy some stuff and be sure to tell them we sent you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Get Kids Involved With Arbor Kids Activities

Getting children involved with nature is easy with our Arbor Kids activities! Our downloadable activities offer kids the chance to learn about trees and why they are important to have around. Printable and easy to use, these activities don't require any fancy materials beyond some paper, something to write with, a tape measure, and our Tree ID Guide. Check out the activities and show those kids how cool trees can be!

The Name That Tree! activity introduces children to the science of tree identification. Children are asked to identify trees around their home and school using our Tree ID Guide and asks them to collect some leaves of various shapes. The children can then make collages with the leaf rubbing instructions included with the activity.

The Tree Benefits Scavenger Hunt sends children on an adventure through the neighborhood as they look for trees and how they interact with people and the environment. Look for leafy trees, big trees, things that live with trees, and tree products found at home. Each item also presents a short description of why trees are important.

The How Tall is That Tree activity shows children how to measure a tree. You can learn how to compare the tree's shadow to their own using proportions to estimate the trees height. You may need the aid of a friend or adult to measure their height and shadow. Afterwards, share the pictures of the trees they measured and post the data to the Casey Trees Map and photos to our Flickr group.

The My Trees: Home Inventory activity shows children how to be aware of trees and their condition. The activity asks children to make a map of their yard and then identify the condition of the trees and their species. They can then share this information with their parents so that any sick or injured trees can be properly addressed. Don't forget to post the trees near and around your house online!

If you're looking for even more activities for children or are an educator looking to add tree activities to their science classroom should check out our ROOTS curriculum.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fort Dupont Tree Walk

Come enjoy the fall foliage with Casey Trees on October 15. Jorge Bogantes Montero, from the Anacostia Watershed Society and Shawn Walker, Urban Forestry Instructor for Casey Trees will lead a tree walk at Fort Dupont from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

As part of Feet in the Street (FITS) Day, the roads of Fort Dupont will be closed to vehicles. Take advantage and stroll around the park. Participants in the tree walk will learn about notable specimen and their characteristics, as well as basic tree identification methods.

There are only a few spots left in the October 15 Tree Walk at Fort Dupont, so register soon! For more information and to view all upcoming events, check out our calendar.

Casey Trees volunteers at a tree planting at Fort Dupont in 2006.

Tree Canopy Work Continues at District Schools

In the upcoming months, eight schools across the District will work with Casey Trees to improve their tree canopies. And for good reason - while the city's average canopy coverage is 35 percent, D.C. campuses lag behind with an average canopy coverage of just 20 percent.

Parking lots, playgrounds and open fields are all important features for schools, but strategically-planted trees can be an asset to schools and their students.

Chris Horton, project organizer for the British School of Washington community tree planting, agrees. "Trees will provide shade and interest in places to play," said Horton, who applied for a CTP at the request of one of his students. Horton also looks forward to "the sense of ownership and care" his students will have for the young trees. 

New trees are a great source of education for young students, both during the planting process and after. At CTP events, students learn how to plant trees and work together to reach a goal. Classes can then utilize the young trees to teach science lessons in an engaging, outdoor setting. Students will have a tangible example of why caring for and appreciating the environment is important. 

"Children exposed to trees learn to admire them, their environment, and nature," said Sue Erhardt, our Director of Education.

Interested in giving your school's tree canopy a boost? The deadline for the spring 2012 CTP season is Nov. 30. Downloadable applications can be sent in via fax, mail or email.

A version of this post was featured in the September issue of the Casey Trees e-newsletter, the LeafletRead more and subscribe to the Leaflet here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Notes From the Green Living Expo

Contributing writer - Lisa Morris, Planning Associate

This past Saturday, Casey Trees hosted a table at the third annual Green Living Expo at Van Ness-UDC Metro Plaza, where residents, organizations and businesses from around the city shared inspiring ideas about how to green their lifestyles. Many people who stopped by our table had questions about the RiverSmart Homes and Tree Rebate programs, which enable residents to plant trees on their properties at low and reduced cost. Some were interested in learning about how to volunteer with us, while others stopped by to share their stories about past volunteer experiences. After our rainy September, stormwater was a hot topic. We discussed the critical role trees play in absorbing rainwater before runoff can pollute the Anacostia and other local waterways.

While we shared information about what we do, we also learned about the wide range of green services provided by local organizations and businesses. We met folks that collect organic material for composting and provide high-quality soil to urban farms; salvage building materials by deconstructing rather than demolishing houses; perform green audits of businesses and lifestyles to get them started on the path to sustainability; and reduce harmful chemicals in the environment by providing natural pest control. Since this event coincided with the regular Saturday UDC Farmers' Market, local vendors were on hand to sell fresh produce. And, as if all this weren’t enough, a rock band from the School Without Walls and Wilson High’s marching band entertained the crowd. All in all, it was a great afternoon, full of great ideas and great people.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Announcing the Autumn Almanac

Fall is officially here and Casey Trees is celebrating with the release of our Autumn Almanac. Our seasonal tree care guides help D.C. residents prepare private and city trees for the upcoming cool months.

Autumn is upon us. The good news is cooler weather is a great time for planting trees. If you already have trees, it is time to prepare them for the rapidly approaching winter months.
  • Remove slow-release watering bags. Tree trunks and the tree flare need to be exposed to air. Bags that have been on trees for two or more years can be returned to Casey Trees for reuse. Your tree should be able to access its own water source now.
  • Check the mulch. Freshen mulch by adding two to three inches in a ring around the trunk. Pull the mulch ring three to six inches away from the trunk.
  • Water trees if it gets hot. We recommend you practice 25 to Stay Alive — 25 gallons of water per tree per week in times of little or no rainfall. Do not water after the ground freezes.
  • Enjoy the fall color!

Fall is the perfect time to plant trees if you are a homeowner in the District. When you take advantage of our Tree Rebate program you can save up to $100 on qualifying large shade trees and up to $50 on most other species. Find out how you can participate.

Friday Photo Feature - September 23, 2011

It's raining in northeast DC, which is certainly great for the trees.
We're almost finished with watering recommendations for the summer, but that means we're nearing the start of planting season!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

CT at the Barracks Row Fall Festival on Saturday

Visit Casey Trees at the Barracks Row Fall Festival this weekend! The event will take place on Saturday, September 24th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can learn about our programs, ask your tree questions or get an "I Dig Trees" t-shirt.

We're really looking forward to hanging out on Barracks Row because there will be thousands of people enjoying music, marching, children's activities, a car show, a military chefs cookoff and more! (And we'll be there!) The festival will be held on the 500 to 700 blocks of 8th Street SE. This is sure to be a great community event and we're excited to be a part of it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Help Bring Trees to D.C.'s Schools

At Casey Trees, we understand that children are products of their environments, and that’s why re-treeing our city’s schools continues to be a paramount goal of our organization. Whether it’s a saucer magnolia at H.D. Cooke Elementary, or an American holly at Collegiate Academy, this fall will bring new trees – and new experiences – to various school campuses across our nation’s capital.

Starting October 1st, Casey Trees will work with students and their teachers at nine different D.C. schools to not only plant and maintain new trees, but also to educate and engage students in the work they are doing. Our tree planting events show students that hard works begets positive results, bringing them together in a hands-on, positive environment. But we can’t do this without the support of our community.

Tree planting at The Lowell School sponsored by PEPCO Holdings, Inc.

By donating and sponsoring a tree planting today, you can ensure that students and schools around D.C. will get the trees they need to create a safe and natural environment for all to enjoy. Since 2002, donors like you have helped to beautify schools such as Browne Junior High and the Lowell School. Our sponsors’ generosity has helped to make these campuses more welcoming and peaceful places for students to spend their time. We believe a beautiful environment creates a sense of well-being in which students can focus on their studies, rather than the often hectic world outside their schools.

Help add a tree to a school this fall by making a tax-deductible donation securely online now. The cost to purchase and plant a tree is $250 per tree but donations of any amount are welcome. To sponsor a school Community Tree Planting, contact Mark DeSantis at or 202.349.3470.

Tagging Trees: Shopping for the Fall Planting Season

Contributing Writer - Sara Turner, Urban Forestry Manager

Fall is my favorite season: the stunning colors of autumn, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, and the return of college football. And shopping! Though my school days have been over for a few years now, I still love the excitement that back-to-school shopping evokes. Fortunately, my role as Urban Forestry Manager allows me to do some shopping in preparation for the fall planting season. One of my responsibilities is locating and coordinating the purchase and delivery of trees.

Trees at Ruppert Nurseries. This is where many urban trees come from.

For each spring and fall planting season, Casey Trees purchases an average of 500 trees for its planting programs – Community Tree Planting (CTP) and RiverSmart Homes (RSH). Trees come in many sizes and shapes; but pretty standard, Casey Trees plants two-inch caliper, balled and burlapped (B&B) material. The caliper measurement refers to the diameter size of the tree’s trunk. In the nursery this is measured at four inches above ground for trees less than four inches in diameter. The term "balled and burlapped" refers to the root form of the tree, where the root ball is lifted out of the ground and encased in burlap until planting.

B&B trees have their advantages and disadvantages over other types such as bare root and containerized trees. The main disadvantage of B&B material is that a large portion of the roots may be severed at harvest time. With the reduced root system, water is a critical element in the successful transplanting of B&B material. Casey Trees provides a slow-release watering bad for each tree it plants to encourage caretakers to water the recommended 25 gallons of water per week during the growing season.

The last few seasons we procured trees "blindly" from nurseries in our region. Trees were dug from the nurseries’ fields and delivered to our yard, and that was our first time seeing them. We had developed good relationships with these nurseries and the material they delivered was reliable and good for our needs. However, this year we decided that we might be able to do even better by hand-selecting the trees ourselves by visiting the nurseries and "tagging" trees.

The barn at the historic Bremo Plantation - one of three sites where we buy our trees.

Recently I had the opportunity to tag trees for our upcoming planting season. I visited three nurseries: Angelica, and Bremo and Ruppert. Over three days I hand-selected close to 630 trees for all our fall projects. This selective shopping allows me to select the best material. No tree is perfect, although a good specimen of shade tree should match these criteria:
  • No trunk injuries.
  • A strong leader (that is, a leading stem that will support the tree as it grows).
  • A full crown making up two thirds of the tree.
  • Good trunk taper - tapered trunks withstand greater amounts of stress than trees without.
  • Strong branching form.
  • A root flare at the proper depth.
Each nursery was a delight to visit and each was uniquely different. Angelica Nuseries is located on the scenic Eastern Shore of Maryland. Bremo Trees is not too far from Mineral, Virginia (the epicenter of the recent earthquake) and is part of Bremo Plantation, a registered historical site. Ruppert Nurseries is just 25 miles from our office in Laytonsville, Maryland. I didn't have tagging seals yet, so colored marking tape sufficed. Sometimes it was pink, checkered, or purple. At one nursery, the color pink meant the tree was up for slaughter - shredded and mulched.

Digging out a B&B tree for planting.

We're looking forward to our fall planting season and can't wait for the first shipment of trees. You can volunteer with us at planting events this fall or participate as a homeowner in our RiverSmart Homes program if you want to see these beautiful trees in person.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - September 16, 2011 - PARK(ing) Day!

We're having a great time at PARK(ing) Day today. Check out our photos from today near Dupont Circle and read our blog post from earlier this week about our participation in the international event.

Setting up for PARK(ing) Day. 
Our mock oak tree stands tall next to a real elm tree near Dupont Circle.
We met with residents and rush hour pedestrians all day.
View more from the event on Flickr or submit your own photos of the event

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Casey Trees Out and About This Weekend

We will participate in two community events this weekend: PARK(ing) Day and the H Street Festival.

On Friday we will transform a parking space into a miniature park to promote the environmental, social and financial benefits of trees as part of PARK(ing) Day 2011. Find us at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and Q Street NW from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PARK(ing) Day is an annual event that brings together activists, artists and citizens to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks. Our PARK(ing) Day site will feature an abstract forest with oversized tags touting all the benefits trees bring to D.C. residents. Tomorrow, we'll be the premier D.C. group converting street space to green space.

On Saturday visit our booth at the H Street Festival between noon and 6 p.m. The festival will take place on H Street between 8th and 14th Streets NE. Come take your sticker picture, learn more about our programs, or purchase one of our t-shirts.

Casey Trees staff members will be onsite at both locations to chat, answer questions and distribute tree literature. We hope to see you this Friday and Saturday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tune in Tomorrow for Tree Talk Thursday!

Thanks for tuning into our Tree Talk Thursday sessions this summer! We will be discussing "Growing Arbor Kids" - highlighting the educational efforts of Casey Trees and American Forest Foundation and answering questions about getting children engaged with trees. From 12 noon until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, tune into the live online forum to ask questions and get instant answers from the experts.

Priscilla Bocksor, Education Coordinator at Casey Trees and Al Stenstrup of Project Learning Tree at American Forest Foundation will join us for the chat. They will provide practical techniques for teaching youth the importance of trees. Children need a substantial way to understand the importance of our environment. Trees provide the perfect model for education--inside the classroom and out. Whether you are a teacher looking to amp up your curriculum or just an environmentally conscious parent, friend or tutor, this is a Tree Talk Thursday not to be missed!

Tune in here at noon tomorrow, September 15, to join the chat. If you would like a reminder before the event, enter your email address on the page and you'll be invited to join when the chat starts.

You can also view our past Tree Talk Thursday chat sessions about choosing an arborist, summer tree care and other timely tree topics. Submit questions to our experts during the chat, or ahead of time by e-mailing us at or tweeting @CaseyTrees. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tree Tours This Fall

A tree tour at Lincoln Cottage this past spring.
Sign up for a tree tour this season! Featured this fall are three tour sites back by popular demand and one new tour. Spots fill up quickly - the first tour is already booked - so be sure to register soon. Register by clicking on a tour name below or by visiting our complete calendar. The following tree tours are still open:

Fort Dupont Fall Tree ID Walk: Celebrate bright fall foliage with this educational tree tour of Fort Dupont Park. Shawn Walker, Urban Forestry Instructor for Casey Trees, and Jorge Bogantes Montero from the Anacostia Watershed Society will lead the tour. Explore Fort Dupont's diverse tree canopy and hone your tree identification skills. Check out our post on Fort Dupont for more reasons to sign up for this tour.
Saturday, Oct. 15: 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Bike Tour on the National Mall: Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of City of Trees, will lead a leisurely bike tour of notable trees along the National Mall. Enjoy the scenery and trees of the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution Museums, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Capitol grounds and the United States Botanic Garden. Hurry - there are only 5 spots left in this popular tree tour!
Sunday, Oct. 23: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Evergreens, Winter ID and Bird Habit: New to our tour schedule, "Evergreens, Winter ID and Bird Habit" will explore winter tree life at the U.S. National Arboretum. Learn about evergreens and the important role trees play in providing winter homes for birds. Our own Mike Ferguson and Shawn Walker will lead the tour.
Saturday, Dec. 3: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Can't make it out to a docent-led tour? Our downloadable tree walks are the perfect way to explore the District's noteworthy tree spots on your own time and at your own pace. Featured currently are guides to the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, NGA Sculpture Garden and Tudor Place. Check back frequently for new downloadable tree walks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ROOT for Back-to-School Fun!

Amp up your science class this school year with our ROOTS curriculum! ROOTS, a lesson plan that incorporates real trees into environmental and mathematical learning, is available to everyone on our website. Printable and easy to use, ROOTS is the perfect way to connect students to their outdoor environment. Through engaging lessons and hands-on activities, the ROOTS curriculum:
  • Gets children out of the classroom and thinking about their surroundings.
  • Intertwines and hones science, math and observational skills.
  • Features tree lessons for each season.
  • Draws a connection between what children learn in the classroom and what they see every day.
  • Plants a desire in children to practice and advocate for environmental sustainability.

The ROOTS curriculum is easy to follow. Each section specifies the optimal age group and season for the lesson, as well as the tools needed to complete the activities. Approximate lesson times, reference images and teacher evaluations are also provided. Each lesson can stand alone, so they're great for after school activities or family weekends! Download the entire ROOTS curriculum.

If you are a teacher and would like an instructor from Casey Trees to come to your school and teach one of these lessons, contact Priscilla Bocskor, Education Coordinator. Schools can also apply for a Community Tree Planting to involve students in a tree planting and improve the school grounds (tree planting is one of the lessons in ROOTS, as well).

In addition to ROOTS, the Education department at Casey Trees also offers great classes and tree walks. Visit our complete calendar to register for an upcoming event!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Casey Trees Bringing Park(ing) Day to D.C.

This Friday, September 16, Casey Trees will transform impervious street parking in Dupont Circle into an instant park to promote the environmental, social and financial benefits of trees as part of Park(ing) Day 2011.

PARK(ing) Day is an annual event that brings together activists, artists and citizens to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces all over the world. In 2010, more than 800 “PARK” installations in more than 80 cities in 30 countries were created.

Casey Trees’ temporary park at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and Q Street NW is slated to be the only officially recognized Park(ing) Day site in Washington, D.C.

Casey Trees’ park design will replace 320 square feet of impervious surface normally off limits to pedestrians with an abstract forest open to the public. Oversized tags will be attached to each tree touting the financial and environmental value trees bring to D.C. residents. Casey Trees staff will be onsite from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer tree related questions and distribute literature. Those who stop and visit Casey Trees' park will be entered to win one of several available prizes.

To locate Casey Trees’ PARK(ing) Day location along with all other temporary parks, visit Park(ing) Day’s official website. On the map, zoom in on the Washington, D.C. area and click on the blue flag.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fall In Love with Casey Trees Classes

Casey Trees is gearing up for a busy fall season! In addition to our signature Community Tree Planting (CTP) program, we will also offer several free continuing education programs over the next few months, two of which qualify participants to be a Citizen Forester (CF). As a CF you can effectively advocate for the District's trees, gain hands-on experience in urban forestry and help teach new volunteers how to properly plant trees.

All classes are free so what are you waiting for? Sign up for one (or two or five!) of our upcoming fall classes. Advance registration is required; space is limited.

Trees 101 - Instructors Shawn Walker and Priscilla Bocskor will teach you the tree basics. Learn about tree anatomy and tree identification. Only a few spots are left in Trees 101 so register today. Trees 101 is a CF-qualifying course.

Saturday September 10, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the Casey Trees Headquarters

Tree Planting Workshop - This in-depth workshop will teach you the necessary skills to properly plant and maintain healthy trees.Your techniques will be put to excellent use when you help plant 30 trees on-site in the afternoon. Tree Planting is a CF-qualifying course.

Saturday October 1, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. at The Catholic University of America

Growing Fruit Trees in the D.C. Area - Dr. Walsh, professor at the University of Maryland, College Park and an expert in sustainable fruit production, will host this class. Learn more about edible fruit trees, their growing popularity in urban communities and the role they can play in providing food security.

Wednesday November 9, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. at the Casey Trees Headquarters

Climate Change and our Urban Forest - Learn about the connection between trees and climate change. This class will give you an overview of the Urban Forest Effects Model (UFORE) and help you understand the benefits of trees in a changing climate. Dr. Giselle Mora-Bourgeois, Science Education Coordinator from the Urban Ecology Research Learning Alliance will lead the discussion.

Wednesday November 16, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. at the Casey Trees Headquarters

A Community of Gardeners Film and Discussion - A Community of Gardeners explores the vital role of seven community gardens in Washington, D.C. and shows how these green spaces change lives, communities and the environment for the better. Award-winning film artist Cintia Cabib and guest speakers from local community gardens will lead a discussion immediately after.

Saturday November 19, 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the Casey Trees Headquarters

For all upcoming events including CTP events, school plantings and tree walks, check out our calendar

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Photo Feature - September 2, 2011

The tree-filled Rabaut Park near Mount Pleasant.
View more on Flickr or submit your own photos of trees