Typical things you see at a Casey Trees Community Tree Planting include lots of khakis, hiking shoes, mud-caked boots. Things you don’t typically see: dress shoes, formal wool coats, lots and lots of flags, briefcases, and ties! But the planting at Montrose Park Friday was no ordinary planting.
We’re lucky to partner with some pretty rad organizations and groups throughout the District, but we‘re honored and bit starstruck when discussing our latest planting partner – every member country from the European Union!
Every six months the president of the Council of the European Union rotates. In honor of chairing the current Presidency, and as a way to highlight the concrete action that we all need to take in combating climate change, the Embassy of Finland and the European Union hosted a tree planting!
Standing in picturesque Montrose Park, crowds of folks decked out with pins, hats, and flags of all sizes representing their home country, embassy employees mingled with Team Leaders, National Park staff, and curious dog walkers.
We were welcomed by Julia Washburn, Superintendent, Rock Creek Park (of which Montrose Park is a part of) and the dedicated President of Friends of Montrose Park, Georgina Owen. Hearing some history of the treasured neighborhood gem provided some welcome and interesting context for our planting.
Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi continued to welcome and thank folks. She also explained why Finland chose a tree planting as a climate action event. “Trees and forests are part of our soul. It was natural for us Finns to think about planting trees as part of our EU Presidency events.” A beautiful sentiment that perfectly describes one of the reasons we re-tree D.C. – while trees beautify neighborhoods and combat climate change they, more importantly, are a critical part of the fabric and feeling of our city (and even nations!).
Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis spoke on behalf of the European Union and reminded folks that you combat climate change and protect the environment, one tree and one action at a time. Quoting one of our favorite lines, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time? Right now.”
Our very own Mark Buscaino thanked folks one last time and kicked off one of our most prestigious plantings! Instead of team leaders holding up numbers to gather their tree planting teams, they held country flags! Each country delegation set off to gather supplies, scattered throughout the park and started planting their tree under the careful and enthusiastic instruction of a Casey Trees Certified Team Leader.
While this planting served as an action event, we also couldn’t resist some symbolism. We planted 28 trees – one for every EU member country, one representing the EU, and one tree representing the U.S.
Even more exciting news? Every tree was homegrown with love and care on the Casey Tree Farm!
Overall, it was a terrific way to come together, get our hands dirty, make a tangible impact, celebrate Finland’s EU Presidency, and work together to re-tree D.C. and combat the ever-present threat of climate change.