The Canopy Awards won’t just be a great party. It’s also our unique way of honoring the people and partners working to promote and protect D.C.’s tree canopy.
We’re pleased to announce the 2015 Canopy Awards honorees:
Award for Design: Oehme van Sweden
Washington, D.C-based Oehme van Sweden (OvS) is widely known for their green approach to landscape architecture and for incorporating sustainable design strategies.
So it is no surprise that OvS, after being selected as the Landscape Architect of Record for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, was able to create a landscape memorial that honored Dr. King, was sensitive to its placement near the Tidal Basin’s beloved Yoshino cherry trees and focused on providing adequate canopy coverage to shade pedestrian access areas.
In addition to incorporating 182 new cherry trees into the landscape design, OvS’s unique plans addressed many soil challenges across the site — including compaction, composition and poor drainage — that if not corrected would significantly limit what plant species could be planted and restrict trees on the site from reaching their full potential size at maturity.
To counter these issues, OvS installed Silva Cells — modular suspended pavement systems that use soil volumes to support large tree growth and provide powerful on-site stormwater management — around nine new American elms planted in the pedestrian sidewalks along the West Basin Drive. The 9,400 cubic feet of loamy soil — more than 1,000 cubic feet per tree — in the suspended pavement system will help the new elms reach their planned overarching canopy of 40 feet.
When you next visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, admire the natural elements — stone, water and trees — used to underscore the themes of democracy, justice, hope and love — and take note of what cannot be seen underfoot that makes the four-acre design so successful.
Award for Education: Mary Farrah
A native daughter of the District, Mary Farrah grew up exploring the forests of Rock Creek Park, though she didn’t consider her passion for the trees and the outdoors a career path until she moved across the country to the Pacific Northwest, living first within Alaska’s Tsongas National Forest and then right next to Washington’s National Forest.
“It was only when I moved back to D.C. that I learned that we face very different challenges and opportunities in an urban forest.”
Mary now works as an Extension Agent for the Center for Sustainable Development in the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences at the University of the District of Columbia.
In 2011, Mary designed and has since instructed the Casey Trees Weed Warrior Invasive plant class, training hundreds of volunteers to pull invasive plants from trees in D.C.’s parks and natural areas. Mary also serves on the D.C. Cooperative Weed Management Area committee.
“Since my first planting, I have loved Casey Trees! It’s enormously satisfying to see the trees we’ve planted all over the city thriving and to know our effort is making a difference both to the environment and to the community in D.C.”
Award for Leadership: D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson
Until the early 2000’s, D.C.’s trees had very few rights. That changed when the D.C. Council passed the Urban Forest Preservation Act of 2002 (UFPA), legislation introduced by Councilmember – now Chairman – Phil Mendelson, who fought to secure support for its passage among the Administration, his colleagues and the public.
UFPA marked the first time that trees were given protection in the District and inspired other municipalities across the country to follow suit. Because of UFPA, to now be able to legally remove a tree that is over 55 inches in circumference, property owners must first secure a permit and then pay a fee, plant replacement trees or a combination. Those who do not, are fined. Collected permit fees and fines help replace the tree removed and add additional trees. UFPA’s passage has resulted in the planting of over 10,000 trees.
But UFPA’s real impact is far greater and longer lasting than even a tree. Because of Councilmember Mendelson foresight and tireless efforts to pass UFPA, D.C.’s residents now understand that trees are a critical element of the District’s infrastructure, and one deserving of protection. This is the real impact legislation – when citizens are educated to a new reality – and everyone benefits from a better environment.
Chairman Mendelson has been an active participant in District politics since 1975 when he became a member of the McLean Gardens Residents Association. He later ran for a seat on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) in 1979 and continued to serve on the ANC until he took office as an At-Large Member of the Council in 1998. Chairman Mendelson was elected to his current post in 2012.
Award for Partnership: Carol Herwig
Carol Herwig is as accomplished — and interesting — as the sports and performance arts greats she profiled as a journalist at USA TODAY for 25 years.
After 40 years in journalism, mostly reporting on and editing coverage of professional and college sports — part of the new wave of American women to do so — Carol was ready to be “less bound to the seat and phone,” so she retired. She was already enrolled in the Graduate School USA’s (formerly referred to as the Graduate School, USDA) horticulture certificate program.
Learning more about woody plants opened Carol’s eyes to the great natural resources of her Petworth neighborhood, including Rock Creek Cemetery and the Armed Forces Retirement Home — and to its rapidly vanishing tree canopy. Always a do-er, Carol took action — first volunteering with Casey Trees on its citywide tree inventory in 2002, then planting trees and even joining the Casey Trees staff as Volunteer Coordinator.
But Carol’s greatest contribution has been her commitment to restoring Petworth’s canopy. Carol has tirelessly sought out planting projects in the neighborhood, approaching groups and institutions about adding trees to their property using Casey Trees’ Community Tree Planting program and working with them to develop strong planting plans and spearhead the planting and post-planting care.
To date, Carol can be credited for adding more than 250 trees to Petworth.
When Carol is not scouting out locations to plant new trees, Carol helps others care for their trees as an ISA-certified arborist and tree risk assessor, landscape designer and installation contractor with the District’s Department of the Environment RiverSmart Homes program. Carol is also the neighborhood tree planting coordinator with the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Award for Volunteer Service: Andrea Moreland
Long runs led to Andrea Moreland’s enduring enthusiasm for trees.
When considering routes for cross country and track training, Andrea always favored the trails that took her along streets and through parks and forests well-shaded by trees. The trees not only provided much appreciated relief from the heat and sun, but too they brought focus and peace on the long open runs.
Soon after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis and relocating to the District, Andrea began looking for opportunities to become more familiar with her new city and meet new people. She found both at Casey Trees.
Andrea first volunteered with Casey Trees in fall 2010 at Rock Creek Cemetery at St. Paul’s Rock Creek Parish in Northwest D.C., helping to plant trees at the historic burial ground that serves as the final resting place for some of D.C.’s most notable residents. She was immediately hooked.
Over the past five years, Andrea has become an integral part of the Casey Trees family — planting close to 200 trees across the District and serving as a Lead Citizen Forester, Community Tree Planting Team Leader, Citizen Pruner and member of the Street Team and Volunteer Engagement Steering Team. Andrea also supports tree planting efforts as a Casey Trees Member.
Chances are if Andrea is not planting, caring for or talking about trees, she is thinking about when she can.
“Planting so many trees in and around my neighborhood has given me greater pride and responsibility for my community. D.C. is such a nice place to live, in large part because of the trees and parks, and we can all help it stay that way.”
Learn more about what makes each of these honorees so spectacular and be on hand at the Canopy Awards this Arbor Day Eve — Thursday, April 23 — to watch them be feted by guest emcee Kojo Nnamdi and congratulate them in person.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
$50 advance/$60 at the door per person
Tickets are all inclusive