Casey Trees Receives 2023 USDA Urban and Community Forestry Grant
Last week, the USDA Forest Service announced a 1 billion dollar investment in trees and green space projects around the country, via Urban and Community Forestry Grants. The grants were made possible through funding from the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. This historic investment supports 385 projects across all 50 states and DC, and several U.S. territories and Tribal Nations.
More than $37 million will be awarded to organizations for projects in the DC area. This includes grant awards to our friends at Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Chesapeake Conservancy, Nature Forward, the City of Fairfax, Defensores de la Cuenca, and Baltimore Tree Trust, among others. Casey Trees will receive $9.1 million that will be dispersed over a five year period.
The federal funding will be used on tree-focused projects. Specifically, the funding will plant 10,000 new trees, provide pruning and maintenance for 30,000 young trees, sponsor tree plantings at 75 schools, and provide education and outreach to the greater community. The grant will also stimulate growth in green jobs, as Casey Trees will be able to hire 10 new employees, filling positions like tree planting crew members, GIS data technicians, and more.
As with all the grants awarded through the federal funding, all funds will flow to underserved communities (part of the federal government’s Justice 40 Initiative). This means all of Casey Trees’ work will be centered on the exact communities that need green amenities, resources, and support the most.
When speaking last week to DCist, Casey Trees’ Chief Operating Officer Andrew Schichtel further explained, “It’s really a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring green amenities and resiliency to historically disadvantaged communities across Washington, DC”.
On the point of bringing tree equity to DC, Schichtel continued, “The disparity in tree cover is easy to spot in DC – just take a walk down Connecticut Avenue, a leafy thoroughfare traversing some of the richest and whitest neighborhoods in the city, and compare that to Minnesota Avenue, which serves poorer neighborhoods in predominantly Black wards 7 and 8. While much of Connecticut Avenue is lined with mature oak trees, most of Minnesota Avenue has only small trees providing little in the way of shade”.
Casey Trees is excited to see this level of investment in our nation’s trees, green spaces, environmental careers, and local economies. We look forward to continuing the hard and rewarding work of bringing trees and green space to all.
Casey Trees wishes to thank our partners for their support of our proposal in this effort, including but not limited to:
DC Department of Energy and Environment
Montgomery County Planning
Montgomery County Department of Transportation
Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation
Fairfax County Department of Transportation and Public Works
Maryland DNR Forest Service
The Neighborhood Design Center
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake
Potomac Electric Power Company
Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories
Ward 8 Woods
City of Hyattsville
City of Mount Rainer
City of College Park
City of Takoma Park