Citizen Foresters preparing to plant

Citizen Forester Program

Citizen Foresters represent a group of over 1,300 dedicated Casey Trees volunteers who have taken at least one of our five free qualifying classes. Becoming a Citizen Forester is the first step in further volunteer and advocacy opportunities.

Qualifying Classes

  • Trees 101
  • Trees 201 (required for becoming a Lead Citizen Forester)
  • Stand Up For Trees (step one in becoming a Tree Advocate)
  • Pruning Workshop (step one in becoming a Citizen Pruner)
  • Tree Planting Workshop (step one in becoming a Team Leader)

These events are available seasonally and can be found on our event calendar. Advance registration is required.


Team Leader

Our Team Leaders have received additional training to lead teams of volunteers at our Community Tree Planting events. Every Team Leader is given a team of 3 to 5 volunteers and is responsible for the quality of the tree planting and the safety of the team. To become a Team Leader you must attend the Tree Planting Workshop and work with a Team Leader Mentor at a minimum of two plantings in the same season. No prior experience is necessary.

The Tree Planting Workshop is offered twice a year at the beginning of each season. Attendance is mandatory to become a Citizen Forester Team Leader.


Lead Citizen Forester

This group of highly skilled volunteers have attended Trees 101, Trees 201, Stand Up for Trees and the Tree Planting Workshop, have qualified as a Team Leader and have been selected by Casey Trees staff as demonstrating exemplary knowledge and leadership. Lead Citizen Foresters serve as liaisons between Casey Trees and the Community Tree Planting’s Project Organizer. Lead Citizen Foresters meet with the Project Organizer early in the planning stage and assist with tree selection, placement, community involvement and problem troubleshooting.


Tree Advocate

Trees and green infrastructure are essential to creating and maintaining healthy, sustainable and economically viable communities. As such we engage public policy professionals and decision makers to ensure that policies and plans intended to guide the District’s growth also protect the city’s fragile urban forest.

Who May Advocate with Casey Trees?

Anyone can join us to advocate. Our program is aimed at developing a network of trained Tree Advocates who fight for trees around D.C.  It is a grassroots approach to greening our public policy and development projects.

Our most committed advocacy volunteers will earn the distinction of Casey Trees Tree Advocate. Tree Advocates receive special recognition through our Citizen Forester Program. Tree Advocates are leaders who help facilitate advocacy actions, and help us as we train and develop other volunteers. Becoming a Tree Advocate requires the following:

  • Attend the Stand Up for Trees Class.
  • Fill out our advocacy survey (list your neighborhood/ANC affiliation, past Casey Trees class participation, and outside advocacy experiences).
  • Attend two Tree Advocate meetings per year at Casey Trees headquarters.
  • Participate in four advocacy actions (attend public meetings, lobby days, submit public comments, etc.).

* Becoming a Tree Advocate is not required to participate in Casey Trees advocacy actions, and we welcome everyone to join as their interests and time constraints allow.

What are Advocacy Actions?

At any given time, Casey Trees advocates have an opportunity to participate in a handful of “advocacy actions” – opportunities to engage policymakers and other leaders. Many actions also provide a chance to meet and engage with other concerned citizens from around the city. Potential advocacy actions include:

  • Attending our Casey Trees Lobby Days (offered around 3 times a year to deliver our Tree Report Card to the Council, to encourage the Mayor and councilmembers to invest in trees).
  • Participating in public meetings (ANC Meetings, Community Meetings, or other District agency meetings to discuss developments, the District’s budget, or other important tree-related issues)
  • Attending public workshops (held by District agencies, community groups, and Councilmembers)
  • Providing public comments (written comments to address upcoming projects or plans in the District)

How to Advocate