Blog Post By Italia Peretti

Meet the Tree Planting Team

If you are registered to volunteer to plant with us this spring or are in the queue for a tree through the RiverSmart Homes or Pepco Right Tree Right Place programs, you are in for a treat. Not only will you be helping to re-tree D.C., you will get to meet some of the best in the urban forestry industry — our Tree Planting crew.

Here’s who you will see in the field this spring:

Jim Woodworth, Director of Tree Planting

Casey Trees:
What has been your favorite tree planting of all time?

Jim Woodworth: There have been so many projects since I started in 2003! Unfair question. But I have a lot of love for our work in Fort Dupont Park in Southeast.

This is for a number of reasons, including that it is one of our first forays into forest restoration and invasive species management. Fort Dupont is this under-appreciated crown jewel of green — one of the largest tracts of open space rivaling Rock Creek Park for the city east of the Anacostia River. It was also the site where we celebrated our 20,000th tree in D.C.!

Becky Schwartz, Arborist

Casey Trees: How would you describe the feeling of planting a tree?

Becky Schwartz: The feeling of accomplishment and pride. Accomplishment in that you worked with a team of dedicated volunteers and staff to help a community. Pride in that every time you see a tree that you’ve planted your heart swells with memories of planting, caring, and working with that community!

Marty Frye, Arborist

Casey Trees: What is your favorite part about the RiverSmart Home program?

Marty Frye: What I enjoy most about my work as the lead Arborist for the RiverSmart Homes Program is the opportunity to meet with so many different people from every corner of the city. I get the opportunity to hear their stories and to share my perspective on trees for home landscapes.

Everyone has a different experience with trees in their lives.  It is fun working to meet homeowners where they are at and work to develop and accomplish their goals for their home landscape as well as our environmental goals for the city.

Cene Ketcham, Extension Arborist

Casey Trees: You’ve recently been doing more outreach work in the community. Why is this so important for planting trees?

Cene Ketcham: Believe it or not, there are many people in D.C. who don’t know who Casey Trees is or what we do. Going to areas of the city with low canopy and making the case for trees directly is critical for increasing tree planting and making the benefits or urban trees available to all residents.

Creating or renewing partnerships with organizations and activists that work on related or complementary issues (e.g. public health, nutrition, water quality) is also important, as this helps extend our reach and reinforce the connection between a functioning urban ecosystem and community health well-being.

Neil Irvin, Urban Forestry Manager

Casey Trees: What is your favorite part of working on the crew?

Neil Irvin: I love being able to work outside instead of being behind a desk all day. I get to connect with people of all walks of life and see something new nearly every day. I also enjoy figuring out the logistics of plantings and problem solving when the occasions arise, as well as collaborating with the other departments and staff members.

Edward Bell, Urban Forestry Crew Chief

Casey Trees: What is the best thing about being on the Urban Forestry crew?

Edward Bell: The best thing for me is the outdoors. I’m able to learn, plant and enjoy the work and continually impress myself. Planting with our crew is very enjoyable also.

David McKindley-Ward, Urban Forestry Crew Chief

Casey Trees: What are you most excited for with this year’s Summer Crew?

David McKindley-Ward I’m most excited about having a new group of goslings that I can lead around the city like a Mother Goose.

Jabbari Brew, Urban Forestry Crew Member

Casey Trees: What is the best part of your job here at Casey Trees?

Jabbari Brew: The best part is being able to go all over Washington D.C. and see the whole city, from Wards 1 through 8. We’re not tied down to any one place every single day, there is always somewhere new to visit.

Brendan Durkin, Urban Forestry Crew Member

Casey Trees: What advice would you give to someone about to plant their first tree?

Brendan Durkin: Bring a friend! Enjoying the boughs of a tree is wonderful; it is better when you share it with someone. Share the work, and share the reward.

Evan Friedman, Urban Forestry Crew Member

Casey Trees: What is the best part of being on the tree planting crew?

Evan Friedman: One of the best parts about being on the crew is being able to beautify the places that I have grown up in and watched change over the years. Interacting with the crew and the general public on a daily basis is another aspect I love about the job. There are various obstacles during the work day that also keep the job entertaining and fun.

Lotanna Obodozie, Tree Planting Intern

Casey Trees: What has been the most interesting or surprising thing you have learned during your time interning here at Casey Trees?

Lotanna Obodozie: The most interesting and exciting thing is being able to identify and learn about all the different trees around D.C.! It’s super cool being able to walk around the city and impress my friends with all of my tree knowledge.

Thank you to the Tree Planting Crew and all those who have been a part of it over the years! We literally would not have been able to get over 21,500 trees in the ground since 2002 without them!

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