To fulfill this mission, we plant trees, engage thousands of volunteers of all ages in tree planting and care, provide year-round continuing education courses, monitor the city’s tree canopy, develop interactive online tree tools and work with elected officials, developers, and community groups to protect and care for existing trees and to encourage the addition of new ones.
The story of Washington D.C.’s trees extends back to our first President, George Washington, a tree-lover and accomplished horticulturalist who chose the city’s location and the man who originally designed it — Pierre L’Enfant. Planned to support a lush tree canopy with extensive green spaces and tree lined boulevards, D.C. still boasts more green space per capita than most major cities in the the United States. Some consider D.C. as the birthplace of arboriculture due to the tens of thousands of trees planted here in the 1800’s which earned D.C. its nickname, the “City of Trees.”
Estimated to support approximately 50 percent tree canopy in 1950, D.C.’s canopy in 2011 declined to just over 35 percent. A Washington Post article chronicling this decline encouraged Betty Brown Casey, a longtime area resident, to establish Casey Trees in 2002 with its mission: “To restore enhance and protect the tree canopy of the nation’s capital.”
Since then, Casey Trees has set a goal of attaining 40 percent canopy by 2032; planted over 25,000; educated thousands of residents about the importance of urban tree canopy; supported the tree planting efforts of the D.C. Government, the National Parks Service, community groups and residents alike; inventoried and tracked the District’s tree resources to promote continued public funding for D.C.’s trees; advocated for green, tree friendly development and similar pursuits.
If you’re passionate about trees, sign up for a class, help us plant some trees in your neighborhood, or take advantage of the many volunteer opportunities we have available — it’s a lot of fun and a great way to meet people in the City of Trees.