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.