Blog Post By Jona Elwell

The reason why our partnership with Gallaudet University has redefined success to us

For almost two decades we’ve been planting trees across the District, but back in 2015, a phone call kicked off a partnership that would redefine success in our books.

For over 150 years, Gallaudet University has led advances in the education of deaf and hard of hearing students and deaf rights worldwide. They have been a pillar in the community offering programs, gathering space and services for surrounding residents – but their greenspace was under attack and they reached out for our help.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) – a beetle – was destroying campus ash trees throughout the Gallaudet University campus. Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle imported from Asia bores under a tree’s bark and cuts off its nutrient pathways, slowly starving and killing the tree. These pests are devastating to parts of D.C., especially the lush Gallaudet University campus oasis not far from Casey Trees’ headquarters in Northeast D.C.

Twelve large, mature canopy trees were removed in the summer of 2015 due to an Emerald Ash Borer blight. Where on earth do you start to re-tree when the majority of your old, mature, majestic trees have been felled thanks to the destructive Emerald Ash Borer pest? Well, together with Gallaudet University, we started with the most important people – the folks that make up their community. After all, no canopy can survive without a team of supporters.

Working with their sustainability team, faculty and students, we scheduled a planting there the coming fall. But as the days approached – so did a hurricane. Alas, despite a strong need and a supportive community, no trees were planted that year. The planting would have to wait until a later date.

From the start we’ve been a community focused organization. If you’ve volunteered at any of our events, you know that the people are what make Casey Trees great. You also know that it takes a village to do what we do. When you contribute to Casey Trees this year, you become part of this groundbreaking (literally!) community.   

This is part one of a series about our flourishing partnership with Gallaudet University. We’re proud to partner with them to show the power of our mission. What’s next? A campus makeover? An entirely new tree species? The possibilities are endless! Stay tuned to the Leaflet to find out.

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