Blog Post By Jona Elwell

Say Hi to Travis and Jon, Who Will Map Very Different Things

The unsung heroes of Casey Trees are our administrative team. From paying the bills to keeping everything in line, they help us restore, enhance, and protect the tree canopy of the capital. Although you may only see them at the Canopy Awards – they’re an integral part of Casey Trees. We’re excited to add Jon Lobeck (pictured on the left in the above photo), our Human Resources Generalist, to our crew.

Casey Trees (CT): Welcome (formally!) to Casey Trees! Tell us, who exactly is Jon?
Jon Lobeck (JL): 
From growing up with a family of politicians, lobbyists, professors, and Lutheran pastors, there was more time for debating than being “Minnesota Nice” at our dinner table.  I appreciate how human resources is more neutral as a profession.  Outside of work, some of my hobbies include oil painting, running, reading, and traveling.

CT: What drew you to Casey Trees?
JL: 
My HR career started at a nonprofit, and since then I have a strong appreciation for organizations contributing towards local community initiatives. Prior to joining the Casey Trees team, I started an HR department for an organization with 400 employees across three locations in the Midwest. I am excited to implement similar HR initiatives at Casey Trees and meet everyone in person.

CT: How did you get interested in the urban forestry and/or research and/or mapping field?
JL: 
The Minneapolis-St. Paul area has a perfect balance of urban and outdoors environments with 52 native tree species, 1,200 miles of state forest trails, and an annual economic impact of $17.1 billion in forest products.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages 3,134,900 acres of land with over 10,000 lakes and 69,200 miles of rivers and streams (enough to circle the equator 2 3/4 times). With over 13,136,357 acres of total surface water, our state stocks 256,259,500 fish per year; enough to give four out of five people in the US a fish.  Although the University of Minnesota is a great institution, Minnesota has over three times more white-tailed deer than college students.  Do we like the outdoors?  Oh yah, you betcha!

CT: What is your favorite weekend D.C. spot?
JL: 
Last weekend was officially my first weekend living in D.C., and I found myself studying at Pleasant Pops in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.  With only one option, it is on the top of my list so far!  I really enjoy the outdoors and I am eager to get outside and explore the area!  Also, I will appreciate the warmer temperatures and limited snowfall during winter.

CT: If you were a sandwich, what kind would you be?
JL: Caprese Sandwich.  My great grandmother is from Italy and she passed down many great recipes.  We particularly enjoy Thanksgiving at my maternal grandmother’s house because the alternative is eating Lutefisk, among other Norwegian delectables, at my paternal grandmother’s house.

CT: Forever and always (everyone is asked this) – do you have a favorite tree?
JL: Paper Birch.  The thin white bark flakes off in beautiful fine horizontal stripes.  It’s a great resources for an art project.


Maps are a pretty big part of what we do around here, and we’re pumped to introduce you to our latest map guru (official title – GIS Analyst) Travis! If you enjoyed the Fall Colors Map we highlighted recently, you’ve already enjoyed his handiwork. After a brief stint as an intern, Travis joined the team and we can’t wait to see what he does next.

Casey Trees (CT): Welcome (formally!) to Casey Trees! Tell us, who exactly is Travis?
Travis Volpe (TV): I grew up in the California Bay Area, where I took advantage of exploring National and State Parks and did quite a bit of  backpacking. I recently graduated from the George Washington University with an M.S. in Geography and graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

CT: What drew you to Casey Trees?
TV: I was drawn to Casey Trees because I believe in the importance of improving urban green space, I enjoy getting outside, and because of the positive experience of fellow graduate students who worked at or with Casey Trees.

CT: How did you get interested in the urban forestry and/or research and/or mapping field?
TV: I became interested in geographic analysis and mapping when I was studying economics. I found geography’s focus on real world data and problems to be far more rewarding and enjoyable than solving partial differential equations.

CT: What is your favorite weekend D.C. spot?
TV: My favorite places in D.C. are Haikan, Sushi Taro, the U.S. National Arboretum, and E-Street Cinema. I also like all Smithsonian’s (who can say no to free admission), but I wouldn’t say I have a favorite. The National Zoo is pretty cool too.

CT: Forever and always (everyone is asked this) – do you have a favorite tree?
TV: I generally do not like choosing favorites, but if I had to choose a favorite it would probably be a Monterey Cyprus (Hesperocyparis macrocarpa) or Magnolia (Magnolia L.).

 

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