Blog Post By Jona Elwell

Meet the Newest Casey Trees’ Board Members

We’re excited to welcome the newest crop of Board Members into the Casey Trees family! In order to get to know them a little more, we sat down and asked them a few questions.

Linda Holden is the Vice President of the Garden Club of America. A native of Virginia, her garden club experiences have since blossomed into the joys of digging, conserving, listening, learning and leading.  

After working in finance at the National Association of Realtors, the American Council of Life Insurers, and Amtrak, among others, Rick Klein now provides financial consulting services to mission driven organizations.

Gretchen Downs’ passion for conservation started soon after she joined the Country Garden Club. A former teacher, Gretchen now dedicates her time to the Board of Education in her hometown of Perrysburg as well as to conservation and water issues throughout the Ohio region.

The current Senior Vice President at CRESA, John P. Kyle’s real estate career has lasted over his 30-plus years. An avid golfer, John has won many club championships, and has been a finalist and semi-finalist in multiple Amateur Tournament.



Casey Trees (CT): Welcome to the Board! Tell us a bit about how you heard of Casey Trees and decided to get involved?

Linda Holden (LH): I have been involved with the Garden Club of America and the Garden Club of Virginia, so I have always had a soft spot and an interest in plants and flowers. When I learned about Casey Trees through the Club and the huge difference that you have made in such a short time, I became enthralled with the vision and wanted to help.

Rick Klein (RK): I originally heard of Casey Trees through Sean Cahill, the (now) Board President, a few years ago. I immediately recognized the value and have a tremendous interest in the mission.

Gretchen Downs (GD): My community Perrysville, Ohio has an annual flower show that always has an educational component. One year we wanted to feature prominent women throughout the industry. For conservation, we highlighted the work of Mrs. Casey as well as her passion for trees.

John Kyle (JK): Being in the real estate business in the greater DMV region, I was familiar with Mr. and Mrs. Casey and their impact on the region. Similarly, a coworker of mine at Cresa had worked with Casey Trees in the real estate realm before, so I had heard of your work from them as well. Thankfully I am at a point in my career where I am able to tackle projects that I like and have a personal connection to so when an opportunity arose to work with you, I jumped at the chance to put my skills to the cause.


CT: What is something you are looking forward to during your time on the board?

LH: Learning more about trees and urban forestry! As a florist, I have spent most of my life looking down at flowers, but now that I am learning about trees, it feels like a grand awakening that has lifted my head up and towards the sky. I hope to share my newfound enthusiasm with others.

RK: I’m always eager to learn more, but I’m especially interested to hear about the steps ordinary people can take to contribute to our urban canopy.

GD: I am excited to learn more about Casey Trees and help achieve our canopy goals.

JK: Reaching a full and robust canopy throughout the District! I am also excited to help contribute to spreading the word about our work and mission to those in the District that might not know about us.


CT: Last but not least (since no one is spared from this question), do you have a favorite tree?

LH: As a native Virginian I have a soft spot for our state tree, the dogwood.

RK: Although you don’t see many in the city, I love weeping willows.

GD: We have a large ginkgo tree in my backyard and I am enthralled by its brilliance. I especially love the shock of yellow it provides in the fall and that it drops its leaves all at once – it is always such a wonderful surprise and sight.

JK: As a golfer, there are a number of banyan trees planted throughout the Indian Creek Golf Course in Florida, where I enjoy spending time with my family. The size and scale of those trees continue to amaze me.

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