School Showcase: Mundo Verde

Until recently, much of Mundo Verde Public Charter School’s 1.4-acre campus along the busy North Capitol Street corridor was covered by asphalt and cement. In fact, it was almost entirely void of trees!

But the four-year-old school had a vision for itself — make itself truly “green” to match its mission of educating young people to become global stewards. And one of its first goals was to develop and implement a reforestation plan.

But the school needed help. Mundo Verde found a partner in Casey Trees.

Over several months, Casey Trees collaborated with Mundo Verde’s sustainability coordinator to create a custom canopy plan to meet the school’s special environmental education focus. And on two bright, sunny mornings—one in the spring and one in the fall—students, faculty, parents and neighbors joined Casey Trees to plant 40 new trees on the grounds.

Persimmon, pawpaw and fig trees were selected to introduce edibles; American elm, black gum, white oak and yellowwood for shade on its play spaces; and serviceberry and American holly to provide habitat for migrating birds and insects. In just hours, Casey Trees transformed a school.

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Why is this important?

Right now, tree canopy cover on school grounds in D.C.—public, private and charter—averages less than 14 percent, with 184 schools having 5 percent or less, and 21 schools having no tree cover at all. Space isn’t the limiting factor. Our analyses shows that 25,000 new trees could be accommodated at schools collectively.

The benefits of trees on the health and education of children and the community is clear. Trees help improve student’s ability to focus in class and concentrate on homework, reduce ADHD symptoms, provide context for science, math and technology lessons and more.

And that is why each spring and fall, Casey Trees plants almost 350 trees at schools across D.C. We provide the trees, tools and expertise, all at no cost—and students help to plant and water the trees for hands-on learning.

The kids love the experience and the school and community members benefit from the many environmental, social and economic benefits trees provide.

To get more trees in the ground at schools—and other deserving sites—we need more people to step up and philanthropically support our work. Please consider making a tax-deductible year-end donation to Casey Trees this holiday season. The health of our urban forest depends on Casey Trees and you!