September 27, 2021 /
Jona Elwell

TreeWise 2021 Summer Recap

Fall has officially begun and school is back in session. While we are transitioning from season to season, we take a look back on our summer youth program. 

This summer was the tenth year for Casey Trees’ TreeWise Summer Youth Program, the TreeWise Junior Urban Forester program. We were able to return to in-person programming with camps, as well as continue our virtual programs. It was amazing to connect with over 500 District youths.

We maintained our core goals:  

  1. Connect youth in Washington, DC to trees and their local natural resources.   
  2. Educate youth on the benefits of having trees in urban environments. 
  3. Provide youth – many of whom have little access to the natural world – an opportunity to get outside while increasing awareness of the importance of their natural surroundings. 

Our days were filled with TreeWise this summer! We offered a number of camp activities, from daily visits to our partners at Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), to virtual camp, to field trips to local parks. All the while, DC tree lovers could pick up Junior Urban Forester kits to explore DC’s urban forest on their own. We were thrilled to be able to offer kits in Spanish this year, thanks to our friends at Defensores de la Cuenca. You can get your very own in the Casey Trees store.

TreeWise lessons covered topics such as basic tree biology and tree ID, tree care, and ecosystem services. Campers learned all about pollinators in DC, and how they could be Junior Urban Foresters. All our campers agreed to “be a friend to trees,” and to share their newfound love of the outdoors with their friends and families. 

But don’t take our word for it, check out what the kids created! Our office bulletin board is adorned with tree art, made up of feedback from days of camp. We asked campers how they felt when they were outside. Of course, in DC, some kids simply state they feel “hot” when they were outside. Some of our favorite answers include:

We’d like to give a huge shoutout to our multiple partners who helped us to spread TreeWise activities throughout the city. For our fourth summer in a row, we partnered with DPR camps to offer enhancements. We also continued camp activities with Horton’s Kids and the Neighborhood Partners LLC. We are grateful, too, for our new partner, the GOOD project at Greenleaf. And we worked with the amazing educators at the Urban Adventure Squad, who helped us train new Junior Urban Foresters at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the Washington Youth Garden.  

Our fall programs are upon us, and we return to schools for environmental literacy and school tree plantings. We are already excited for next summer and the great environmental learning in every season.