Check back soon for Canopy Awards 2024 updates.


For those looking to deepen their engagement, consider becoming a sponsor of the Canopy Awards, Casey Trees’ flagship event of the year. In addition to contributing to the District’s tree canopy, sponsors receive an array of benefits and promotional opportunities. To see the full list, and secure your spot today, click the button below.



Honoree Categories

We will announce our incredible honorees very soon, check back here to see them!

PartnershipThis award recognizes a neighborhood, community group, funder or other group that has worked with us to improve the tree canopy in a specific location in the DC metro area. Our canopy needs a patchwork of partners so previous winners run the gamut from single citizens, to bands of community members, and even citywide agencies. These are Trees for Georgetown, Carol Herwig, The Crispus Attucks Development Corporation, Douglas Solomon and Shake Shack Union Station, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation and DC Department of Housing and Community Development, Anacostia Riverkeepers, and Friends of Oxon Run.

Volunteer Service – Volunteers are the backbone of Casey Trees. We’d be lost without them. Especially our volunteers that have been involved for season after season. We rely on their accumulated expertise and friendly spirits to help us train the next cohort of volunteers. Our Canopy Award for Volunteer Service recognizes an individual who has consistently supported our programs and goals through volunteerism for five or more years. Past winners include everyone from tree planting pros, pruning experts, inventory leads, and seasoned tree advocates like Christy Kwan, Andrea Moreland, Gregg Serenbetz, Kerrin and Greg Nishimura, Kathy Robertson, Delores Bushong, Mary Pat Rowan, and Jack Camino. See our Leaflet article to read all about the recipients of this awards.

LeadershipPlanting and caring for trees is important but one of the best ways to protect them is through getting the word out and policy changes. The Canopy Award for Leadership takes this into account and awards the efforts of an individual to raise awareness in the community about the importance of trees through public action, community activism or policymaking. Previous winners are former mayor Anthony A. Williams, Earl Eutsler and DDOT’s Urban Forestry Division, Tommy Wells and District Department of Energy and the Environment, and Councilmembers Mary C. Cheh, Phil Mendelson, and Charles Allen.

EducationThis Canopy Award goes to an active partner of our educational programming showing a dedication to developing opportunities for environmental education. While you might first think of only teachers, think again. Past winners are author and DC tree expert Melanie Choukas-Bradley, extension agent for the University of the District of Columbia Mary Farrah, Capital City Public Charter School Garden Coordinator Ryoko Yamamoto, Horace Mann Elementary Garden Coordinator Amy Jagodnik, DDOT Urban Forestry Division Arborists Steve McKindley-Ward and Joel Conlon, and Kendall Demonstration Elementary School teacher Heidi Burns, WAMU’s Jacob Fenston, and Anacostia High School’s Jeria Carter. In their own sphere, each award winner has pushed for the importance and knowledge of power in protecting city trees.

SustainabilityThe Award for Sustainability is our opportunity to showcase a particular project that goes above and beyond. This award highlights a development, project, installation, design, project or product/technology that significantly improves DC’s tree canopy. Past winners and projects have varied greatly. These are Oehme van Sweden’s design of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the District Department of Transportation’s streetscape designs, the DC Office of Planning’s focus on the public parking zone, the Nature Conservancy’s work with Mt. Olivet Cemetery and their stormwater runoff mitigation, DC Water, and most recently, Wayne Lucas of Prince George’s County.

The 2023 Canopy Awards

This year’s theme is “A Greater Washington”, in recognition of what makes our city great – our volunteers, donors, our DC and regional partners, and of course, our trees.

The Canopy Awards are Casey Trees’ unique way of honoring the people and partners working to restore, enhance, and protect DC’s tree canopy. Held each year on Arbor Day, Casey Trees comes together with donors, volunteers, sponsors, and partners – to toast the accomplishments of our distinguished honorees and celebrate DC’s trees.


For those looking to deepen their engagement, consider becoming a sponsor of the Canopy Awards, Casey Trees’ flagship event of the year. In addition to contributing to the District’s tree canopy, sponsors receive an array of benefits and promotional opportunities. To see the full list, and secure your spot today, click the button below.



Introducing our 2023 Honorees

This year marks the 9th annual Canopy Awards, our unique way of celebrating Arbor Day and honoring the people and partners working to restore, enhance, and protect DC’s tree canopy. We come together each year to toast the accomplishments of our distinguished honorees and celebrate DC’s trees.

This year’s Canopy Awards theme is “A Greater Washington”, in recognition of what makes our city great – our volunteers, donors, our DC and regional partners, and of course, our trees. We work with so many great people and organizations to achieve goals in planting, educating, protecting, and caring for trees – it’s our honor to highlight their efforts and achievements.

We are proud to introduce our 2023 Canopy Awards honorees.

Award for Leadership: Bryant Smith, Executive Director of Baltimore Tree Trust
Bryant Smith is the Executive Director of Baltimore Tree Trust, a nonprofit organization guided by the singular vision that all Baltimore neighbors deserve access to the clean air and cool green spaces that trees can provide. Baltimore Tree Trust plants trees in parks, on private property, and lining streets throughout neighborhoods all over Baltimore, with over 17,000 trees planted to date. Born and raised in East Baltimore, Bryant joined Baltimore Tree Trust in 2019 after more than three decades in urban forestry with the U.S. Forest Service, Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, and other regional environmental nonprofits. Bryant leads staff, stakeholders, and the organization’s board of directors to effectively execute the organization’s strategic priorities. Bryant says his favorite part of leading at Baltimore Tree Trust is working with dedicated staff, mentoring a new generation of urban foresters, and working with Baltimore residents to transform once tree-less streets, parks, and schools into green spaces for all to enjoy.

Award for Volunteer Service: Phil Downey, Volunteer with Laudato Trees
Phil Downey is the lead volunteer with the Laudato Trees Team, an offshoot of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington Care for Creation Committee. Inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, The Laudato Trees Team reaches out to faith communities and encourages them to plant trees on their property. They connect interested congregations with Casey Trees’ urban foresters, promote dialog about an ideal plan, and then expedite necessary actions to get trees in the ground. Phil’s efforts and persistence have led to the planting of over 600 trees at churches and schools in the last two years. He is the first to say that this achievement reflects the collective effort of many volunteers, pastors, church workers, and Casey Trees’ urban foresters; but without Phil’s hard work, dedication, and love for trees, most of these trees would not have been planted.

Award for Education: Elana Mintz, Founder and Executive Director of Urban Adventure Squad
Elana Mintz is the Founder and Executive Director of Urban Adventure Squad/Urban Learning and Teaching Center, a Washington DC nonprofit organization that supports schools and school communities with equitable, community-based, outdoor learning programs. Founded in 2014, Urban Adventure Squad (UAS) offers full-day programs when schools are closed, and partners with schools and communities to connect students to their neighborhoods with curriculum-aligned lessons in science, history, math, art, engineering, and writing, and trains teachers in outdoor learning. Prior to founding UAS, Elana spent over 20 years in communications. Elana serves on the DC Coalition for Equitable Outdoor Education, and is a published author for opinions printed in the Washington Post and DC Line. Elana cares deeply about providing outdoor learning experiences for all.

Award for Sustainability: Cheryl Tyiska, Cemetery Manager at Mount Olivet Cemetery
Cheryl Tyiska is the Cemetery Manager at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, DC, a cemetery of the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington. Mount Olivet Cemetery is located in Northeast DC on a historic hill overlooking the monuments of the nation’s capital, and is the largest Catholic cemetery in the city. Under Cheryl’s leadership the cemetery has focused on sustainable solutions that are not only ecologically friendly, but make the cemetery a more beautiful place to visit. The cemetery has planted more than 850 trees, installed rain gardens to mitigate stormwater runoff, and invested in native plant species to beautify existing areas. In 2020, Mount Olivet Cemetery received the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s Gold Leaf Award for outstanding landscape beautification activities, and the cemetery is on track to become a nationally registered arboretum. Cheryl is responsible for all aspects of operations, from inside administrative staff to outside ground crews. Cheryl works hard to ensure that members of the community know they are welcome to visit the cemetery to reflect and look for peace and solace in nature.

Award for Partnership: Brian Keightley, Director of Fairfax County’s Urban Forest Management Division
Brian Keightley is the Director of Fairfax County’s Urban Forest Management Division. The division is not only responsible for the planting of the county’s trees, but monitors pests that threaten the urban forest and health of trees, as well as ensures that county development plans comply with the tree conservation ordinances. Fairfax County is proud to hold a Tree City USA award, a distinction given by the Arbor Day Foundation to recognize excellence in tree planting, tree protection, and funding for green infrastructure – an award the county has received 39 consecutive years, culminating in its 40th anniversary in 2023. During Brian’s tenure the division has furthered outreach activities by promoting the benefits of conservation and enhancement of the urban forest through building strong partnerships with the public, industry professionals, other county agencies, local schools, and nonprofit organizations – including Casey Trees.

Award for Partnership: Brett Linkletter, Chief of Tree Maintenance Section at MCDOT
Brett Linkletter is the Chief of the Tree Maintenance Section for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. The MCDOT Tree Maintenance Section is responsible for maintaining all of the county’s 300,000+ trees, most of which are located along the streets in the right-of-way. As such, the county plants more than 1,800 trees per year, and cares for even more, pruning more than 10,000 trees each year. Additionally, the Tree Maintenance Section creates tree protection plans for all Montgomery County Department of Transportation projects, preserving trees and preventing damage to the county’s green infrastructure. Brett has a lifelong career in forestry and has worked for the county for over 15 years. Brett has led many efforts to further the county’s green infrastructure work and increase the capacity of the tree maintenance section, including partnering with Casey Trees to plant new trees in the county’s right-of-way.

The 2022 Canopy Awards Honorees


Friends of Oxon Run

Trees have many benefits in cities and parks but often overlooked are the mental health benefits and sense of
peace trees bring. Friends of Oxon Run, though, is intimately aware of the positive power of trees as well
as the weight of the trauma of gun violence their community carries. Oxon Run is the largest park in the
city’s inventory. Friends of Oxon Run works to create an urban oasis in Oxon Run Park to re-ignite the
spirit of its citizens. Their goal is to enhance the community’s mental and physical well-being through
trails, tree plantings, amphitheater performances, exercise, and outdoor learning.

For their efforts in retreeing Oxon Run Park to foster a safe space to process the community’s collective
trauma, we are honored to present Friends of Oxon Run with the Canopy Award for Partnership. Accepting the
award is Vice Chair Brenda Lee Richardson. Working to improve the design and quality of Oxon Run Park,
Brenda and her team have focused their efforts on bringing the mental health benefits of greenspace to their
community. On winning the award for Partnership, Brenda noted, “So absolutely partnerships are critical to
our work because we can’t do this alone. But I’m so grateful and appreciative that we have partners that
volunteer to come and do work with us.”

Volunteer Service

Mary Pat Rowan

For Mary Pat Rowan and former Canopy Award Honoree Delores Bushong, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the
city, they used the empty parks as an opportunity to do something they’d long wished for: a way to gain
access to a patch of forest in their beloved Langdon Park that was overrun and overgrown with invasive
vines. “I mean we came in and these trees here were… well, what we saw was mounds of vines. And so we
clipped the vines and sure enough, the trees emerged,” Mary Pat explained. A landscape architect and
longtime resident of the Brookland area, Mary Pat was no stranger to collaborating for the betterment of her
community through greenspace. Collaborating with city agencies like DOEE and DDOT, as well as community
organizations like Casey Trees, Mary Pat has turned her pandemic project into a proper, upright forest
regeneration patch that can act as a model for the power, and simplicity, of invasive vine management and
community engagement.

For her continued and unwavering dedication to forest regeneration in Langdon Park, we are honored to present
Mary Pat with the Canopy Award for Volunteer Service. When asked about her experience that won her the
award, Mary Pat remarked, “Yes, all the agencies are now involved, but this didn’t come from them. We were
concerned about our neighborhood and we came in and said – let’s make our neighborhood a little prettier, a
little more environmentally sound, and now we have!”


Councilmember Charles Allen

From the moment he stepped into the Wilson Building, Casey Trees has been working steadfastly alongside Ward
6 Councilmember Charles Allen to prioritize restoring, enhancing, and protecting DC’s tree canopy. Acutely
aware that Ward 6 has the lowest tree canopy in the District, the Councilmember has made great strides in
tree protection legislation for our urban forest. Councilmember Allen spearheaded the Tree Canopy Protection
Amendment Act of 2015, which was foundational in protecting DC’s most mature — and most valuable — trees.
Since then, he continues to champion the District’s tree protections by introducing and passing a Stop Work
Order this year, which proactively blocks the illegal removal of Heritage and Special trees.

For his efforts to craft and pass legislation protecting city trees, we are honored to present Councilmember
Charles Allen with the Canopy Award for Leadership. A consistent champion to make the District livable for
all, Councilmember Allen collectively works to improve the quality of life for residents and trees within
his Ward and the Nation’s Capital as a whole. When reacting to winning the award, he said, “I was really
humbled. I’m surrounded by a lot of people who understand how big of a priority [trees are]. It’s really
more of a reflection of a team effort – a lot of people who have worked really hard to think about what it
means to protect our tree canopy, what it means for our city.”


Jeria Carter

Teachers are often known for their creativity and resourcefulness, especially in urban areas. Jeria Carter is
no exception; when the former Art Teacher (now Literary Media Specialist) saw an unused courtyard on campus,
she looked past the trash and tools and saw an opportunity. Showing her students the power, pride, and magic
of caring for a space, Jeria spearheaded a mission to bring plants, trees, art, and contemplation to the
courtyard and create a therapeutic space for students.

For her efforts in bringing new life to Anacostia High School and including students every step of the way,
we are honored to present Jeria Carter with the Canopy Award for Education. On winning the award, she noted,
“So Casey Trees coming here has sparked something… I’m just eager to see what in the future we can do
with everyone else.”


Prince George’s County

Over the past several years, our neighbors in Prince George’s County have significantly ramped up their
street tree planting. Inspired to support these efforts, Casey Trees has been partnering with their
Department of Public Works & Transportation to plant even more trees in the county. Together, we will bring
countless benefits to Prince George’s residents – from cutting energy costs due to increased shade, to
absorbing stormwater and therefore mitigating pollution entering our shared waterways.

For their efforts in enhancing the tree canopy for residents throughout their county, we are honored to
present Prince George’s County with the Canopy Award for Sustainability. Accepting the award is Wayne Lucas
– a County Arborist, Landscape Architect, and fervent supporter of Casey Trees. On winning the award, Wayne
exclaimed, “I am honored! And kind of in shock!”


Want to join the ranks of the community-minded businesses working to help re-tree DC? Become a Canopy Awards Sponsor today. All raised funds benefit Casey Trees.



The 2021 Canopy Awards Honorees

Education: Jacob Fenston

As local NPR member station WAMU’s environment reporter, Jacob shares the good, the bad, and the ugly of all things climate change, resiliency, and the natural world in the greater DC region. Whether discussing solar farms, the effects of warming temperatures of communities of color, or changing city regulations, he brings his curiosity and keen eye to each story he covers. For his continued dedication to sharing stories that need to be told and reporting on the many facets of environmental change in our city, we’re honored to present Jacob Fenston with the Canopy Award for Education.

Volunteer Service: Jack Camino

Many of our trained volunteers find one program and stick to it. Jack Camino , however, is a literal Casey Trees jack of all trades. A friendly, hilarious, and active Team Leader, he has a knack creating harmony, humour and connection within a group – whether he is leading tree planting, inventories or classes. For being a consistent bright light at all our volunteer events, we are honored to present Jack Camino with the Canopy Award for Volunteer Service.

Sustainability: DC Water’s HQ0

When you think of award winning architecture, government agency headquarters aren’t at the top of your list. When you think of urban forestry goals, DC Water probably isn’t the agency you’re thinking of. But that is the beauty of their newly finished headquarters in Navy Yard along the banks of the Anacostia River, HQ0. This innovative project exemplifies how our urban forestry mission can expand. Pushing the boundaries of sustainability, this bold and refreshing building showcases how you can look back while also looking forward. For their groundbreaking headquarters, we are honored to present DC Water with the Canopy Award for Sustainability.

Leadership: Building Bridges Across the River 

The 11th Street Bridge Project, helmed by Building Bridges Across the River, beautifully exemplifies the sentiment ‘if you’re going to do something, do something well.’ Rising above the Anacostia perched on the piers of the old 11th Street Bridge, the space will not only be a green space for healthy recreation, environmental education, and the arts, it will serve as an anchor for equitable and inclusive economic growth. Ultimately, it is a blueprint for how things could be done. For their unflinching centering of their community and its needs, we are honored to present Building Bridges Across the River the Canopy Award for Leadership.

Partnership: Anacostia Riverkeepers

It’s no secret that environmental nonprofits have similar objections. But waterways and urban forests are uniquely connected – truly, sustainable, resilient cities are built on the mutually beneficial relationship between rivers and trees. The Anacostia Riverkeeper has been a consistent and constant ally of Casey Trees and our urban forest. By centering the people that inhabit our greenspaces and waterways, focusing on what brings us together, and working with us to preserve tree filled greenspace for future Washingtonians, we are honored to present Anacostia Riverkeepers with the Canopy Award for Partnership.


Want to join the ranks of the community-minded businesses working to help re-tree DC? Become a Canopy Awards Sponsor today. All raised funds benefit Casey Trees.



The 2019 Canopy Awards

Between a giant wall, reusable straws, a bustling silent auction, and celebrating D.C.’s canopy, the Canopy Awards was packed to the brim with good fun and great people.


Award for Education: Heidi Burns

A long time tree planting team leader with Casey Trees and a fiercely dedicated staff member at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School, Heidi saw a unique opportunity to combine her two passions. Heidi managed to not only weave a school planting into our larger canopy restoration efforts at Gallaudet University, but she also engaged and involved students, ensuring the next generation of stewards for Kendall, Gallaudet, and D.C. as a whole. For her unwavering commitment to developing opportunities for environmental education, we are honored to present Heidi Burns with the 2019 Canopy Award for Education.

Award for Leadership: Councilmember Vincent C. Gray

As D.C. charges towards its 40% canopy goal, it is important to acknowledge where it started: Councilmember, then Mayor, Gray’s office, spearheaded the first Sustainable D.C. Plan. Since creating a roadmap for D.C. to become the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city, Councilmember Gray has continued to champion greenspace throughout our entire city – most recently through co-sponsoring D.C.’s Clean Energy Bill. For his steadfast efforts to raise awareness on the importance of trees through policymaking, we are honored to present Councilmember Gray with the 2019 Canopy Award for Leadership.

Award for Sustainability: The Nature Conservancy

Polluted stormwater runoff is one of the largest growing environmental concern in urban areas. Paved roads are one of the largest contributors of this runoff and Mount Olivet Cemetery, built in 1858 in Northeast D.C., had a staggering 10 acres of them. Working with the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, the Nature Conservancy designed and implemented numerous green infrastructure elements throughout the cemetery, such as rain gardens, trees, bio-retention areas. These efforts have lowered Mount Olivet Cemetery’s water bill by $25,000, kept hundreds of thousands of gallons of water out of our rivers and waterways, and contributed greenspace and reduced flooding to nearby neighbors. For their groundbreaking project at historic Mount Olivet Cemetery, we are honored to present the Nature Conservancy with the 2019 Canopy Award for Sustainability.

Award for Partnership: Department of Housing and Community Development

As a city housing authority, what do you when you assume dozens of vacant properties that are physically impossible to build on? If you are D.C.’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) you make the bold, forward thinking choice of keeping that space green in perpetuity. We’re fortunate to work with them to preserve acres of greenspace and trees all over the city so Washington remains green for generations. By working with us to preserve tree filled greenspace for future Washingtonians, we are honored to present the Department of Housing and Community Development with the 2019 Canopy Award for Partnership.

Award for Volunteer Service: Delores Bushong

A real life Lorax, Casey Trees volunteer Delores Bushong has committed herself to speaking for the trees. While she is a tree planting team leader and Pruning Corps member, she truly shines as a frequent face at Council hearings, testimonials, and meetings. Since becoming a Certified Tree Advocate in 2012, Delores has used her voice to protect and promote tree focused legislation and developments. For her passionate work advocating for current and future urban trees, as well as her consistent support of Casey Trees programs and goals, we are honored to present her with the 2019 Canopy Award for Volunteer Service.


Oak– Premier Sponsor: Pike Productions
Elm – Major Sponsor: Clearstead Advisors | HITT Contracting
Maple – Supporting Sponsor: Capital Community News
Sycamore – Associate Sponsors
: American Technology Service (ATS) | Greater Greater Washington | Washington Blade | Washington City Paper | Tudor Place Historic House and Garden
River Birch – Ally: LimnoTech | Pitchford Associates

Want to join the ranks of the community-minded businesses working to help re-tree DC? Become a Canopy Awards Sponsor today. All raised funds benefit Casey Trees.




The 2018 Canopy Awards


Each of our award winners has worked in their own way to restore, enhance, and protect the tree canopy of DC But why Design for the DC Office of Planning? What did city arborists Steve and Joel do to earn the Award for education? Learn a little bit more about each of our honorees and their crucial work.

Award for Design

Chris Shaheen – DC Office of Planning

While Pierre L’Enfant and the McMillan Plan may have originally influenced the layout of our city, you have the DC Office of Planning (OP) to thank for maintaining and improving on the original plan. OP is the city’s lead planning agency planning for long term growth of the city by engaging in urban design, land use, and historic preservation review. Another often overlooked contributor to DC’s plan is Frederick Law Olmsted, most famous for NY’s Central Park. While here in the 1870’s working around the Capitol, Olmsted designed over 19 miles of flowering tree-filled roadway corridors redesigned to provide commutable connections to DC parks and open space. Unfortunately, these plans were never implemented in Olmsted’s lifetime. That is about to change. Over the next two years, OP will bring Olmsted’s vision to life with a large-scale tree planting effort along these corridors, providing visual and environmental benefits for all travelers along the avenues. For their efforts to bring Olmsted’s grand flowering avenues to life and therefore re-tree those corridors, we are honored to present OP with the Canopy Award for Design. Accepting the award is Public Space Program Manager Chris Shaheen. Working to improve the design and quality of public spaces around the city, Chris and his team have focused their efforts on enhancing the streetscape of the city, hence their enthusiasm for implementing Olmsted’s idea. On winning the award, Chris noted, “Looking at smaller parks and triangle parks throughout the District, we sort of stumbled upon Olmsted’s grand vision for these flowering avenues. So it is such a treat to not only be able to bring these beautiful, beneficial corridors to life, but also being honored for it by an organization that we share objectives with is a terrific bonus.”

Award for Education

Steve McKindley-Ward and Joel Conlon – DDOT Urban Forestry Division

Restoring, enhancing, and protecting the tree canopy of the nation’s capital is so much more than planting trees. Among other things, it’s ensuring that the trees we do plant reach their full beneficial potential as large, mature trees. These trees are now at a development stage where pruning will prevent many pervasive urban tree problems such as storm damage, disease, and vehicle damage. In the last five years, DC has gone from annually planting 3,000 to 4,000 trees to 8,000 trees each season. Faced with a daunting number of trees to care for, the Urban Forestry Division (UFD) reached out to Casey Trees and launched a Pruning Corps Program, made up exclusively of volunteer pruners. While we brought the people, UFD supplied the trees and expertise. Dedicating additional hours and weekends, city arborists Joel Conlon and Steve McKindley-Ward dove into training and teaching the volunteers how to best identify issues on street trees and properly prune. Thanks for Steve and Joel’s efforts, we’ve been able to prune almost 500 street trees in only two years! For their efforts in developing an opportunity for environmental education by establishing and growing the Volunteer Pruning Corps, we are honored to present Steve and Joel with the Canopy Award for Education. On winning the award, Steve noted, “It’s really something to be awarded for participating in an activity you enjoy. I’m so fortunate to be involved in something I think is such a blessing to the city. ” While Joel added, “Winning this award is an honor and I’m excited about for the future of Pruning Corps. With more people coming out and helping trees become mature and productive, we’re ensuring a green and good future for generations.”

Award for Leadership

Tommy Wells – District Department of Energy and the Environment

One of the crucial functions of urban trees is their contribution to stormwater management. Rainwater becomes stormwater when it falls on impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, roads, sidewalks and even lawns, and is unable to soak into the ground. As stormwater moves to rivers it picks up pollutants such as oil and grease from roadways, nutrients from fertilizers, and bacteria from pet and wildlife waste, destroying habitats for fish and other wildlife. By retaining water in their canopy – even for a short time – trees disperse the velocity and time frame of rainfall, reducing erosion and pollution in our waterways.

Through their program RiverSmart Homes, DOEE has led the way in innovative, community driven, and natural stormwater management. In just four years, we’ve worked with them and local residents through all eight wards to plant over 5,500 trees through RiverSmart Homes and reimbursed residents for the over 3,000 trees they planted themselves through our Tree Rebate Program. And this is just their efforts in shade tree plantings! RiverSmart Homes also offers rain barrels, rain gardens, and permeable pavement and DOEE is rolling out their new RiverSmart Roofs project. Not mention that 2018 is the Year of the Anacostia!

For their efforts to raise awareness in the community about the importance of trees and stormwater management through public action and policymaking, we are honored to present DOEE with the Canopy Award for Leadership. Accepting the award is Director Tommy Wells. A consistent champion to make the District livable for all, Tommy and his team collectively work to improve the quality of life for residents and the natural inhabitants of the Nation’s Capital. When reacting to winning the award, he said, “I’m proud of the recognition for our work promoting trees and especially appreciate it coming from Casey Trees, who has such a special role in Washington, DC It is really a great honor to be recognized a leader by [Casey Trees].”

Award for Partnership

Keith Anderson – DC Department of Parks and Recreation

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) provides quality urban recreation and leisure services for residents and visitors to the District of Columbia. Among other things, DPR coordinates a wide variety of recreation programs including sports leagues, youth development, therapeutic recreation, aquatic programming, outdoor adventure, camping and senior citizen activities.

Considering DPR supervises many of our city’s recreation and community centers, parks, athletic fields, playgrounds, community gardens and dog parks — we’re lucky to work with them. Over the years we’ve partnered with DPR in a number of ways: from serving almost 700 kids through the summer youth program Treewise to providing sites for over 30 Park Inventories and over 20 Community Tree Plantings. Needless to say, we’re grateful for the ability to work with them to better understand the composition of our parks, make them shady for those hot summers, and give more community members the opportunity to experience and enjoy our city’s parks.

For their partnership and efforts to improve the tree canopy throughout District, as well as our collective knowledge of the composition of our urban forest, we are honored to present DPR with the Canopy Award for Partnership. Accepting the award is Director Keith Anderson. A life long Washingtonian, Mr. Anderson was appointed Director of DPR in 2015 and has since worked to provide world class programming at DPR’s 76 recreation centers. When asked about his reaction to winning this award he noted, “When I found out DPR was receiving this award, I was elated. I couldn’t be happier. Overall, let’s get outside, let’s work with our youth, our residents. Let’s educate them and show them the importance of trees. I’m looking forward to the future of our partnership.”

Award for Volunteer Service

Kathy Robertson

Name one of our program or volunteer events and chances are Kathy has been there. As a Lead Citizen Forester, Community Tree Planting Team Leader, Park Inventory Team Leader, Evergreen Member, Certified Tree Advocate, and Pruning Corps Member there are few activities at Casey Trees that Kathy hasnot been a part of.

While many of our volunteers tend to find their niche volunteer role, Kathy has spread her love for urban forestry throughout Casey Trees. Planting trees and leading tree planting teams was simply not enough for her. Noticing the need to not only restore trees, but also protect them, Kathy became a Certified Tree Advocate and developed the skills to speak up for trees and greenspaces to city officials and development project coordinators. The 2015 winner of the Scarlet Oak Award for the completion of the most events with us, Kathy’s dedication to all things D.C. trees has never wavered. Last year alone she attended over 30 events with us!

For her continued and unwavering dedication to our mission, we are honored to present Kathy with the Canopy Award for Volunteer Service. When asked about winning the award, Kathy remarked, “I was very surprised because I know I’ve been doing things for the past several years, but I never thought I would be one of the most involved. I like the work I do with Casey Trees so to be recognized for that is something unexpected and special.”





Want to join the ranks of the community-minded businesses working to help re-tree DC? Become a Canopy Awards Sponsor today. All raised funds benefit Casey Trees.




The 2017 Canopy Awards

Between giant cherry trees, drummers from Batala, and celebrating D.C.’s canopy, the Canopy Awards was packed to the brim with good fun and great people. Thank you to all who helped make the night so memorable, including our terrific and enthusiastic sponsors Pike Productions, Bremo Trees, Where Magazine, Davey Trees, Pepco, Shake Shack, Republic Restoratives, Heineken, American Technology Services, DeepRoot, and others. Having such a vibrant crowd there to honor our award winners really made the night something special.


Award for Partnership: Douglas Solomon and Shake Shack of Union Station

If you attended a community tree planting in the past year, chances are you’ve seen Douglas Solomon. He’s the one passing out delicious Shake Shack breakfast sandwiches to tree planters with a bright smile on his face – no matter how early in the morning or cold outside it is. His enthusiasm shines whether he and his team are planting trees or whether they are handing out treats at the Canopy Awards.

Each Shake Shack location has a partner in the community to which they graciously dedicate their time to outside of their shifts. We are lucky to have been chosen by the Union Station Shack team three years ago when they first opened. Over the years Douglas and his staff have partnered with us on countless events, supporting Casey Trees’ other volunteers with the great food and fun hospitality that Shake Shack is known for.

“The most rewarding part for me has been engaging more with the people and places of D.C.,” Douglas says. “I am able to connect the dots with new people I meet when they see our sign about Casey Trees or when they see me in a Casey Trees shirt. When passing a place with friends where I have been a part of the planting, I can tell the story of Casey Trees and how fun it is.”

Award for Education: Amy Jagodnik

As Garden Coordinator at Horace Mann Elementary School, Amy Jagodnik has been bringing the importance of tree and garden care to students for the past five years.

After being first inspired by participating in the school’s first tree planting in 2010, Amy has helped execute two tree plantings at the school. As an involved Citizen Scientist, she works alongside the school’s science program guiding students to embrace tree identification, health, and tracking.

Whether organizing volunteers to maintain campus grounds and outdoor classrooms, educating children about the importance and technique of caring for a plant or garden, planning improvements to our landscapes, or designing curriculum around the environment, Amy is doing all that she can to facilitate care for our part of the planet.

“I believe that teaching children about the wonder of nature is paramount to their future sense of stewardship for the earth. It will be their responsibility going forward. I want children to know that we need trees for life support and that they deserve our respect and care.”

Award for Volunteer Service: Greg and Kerrin Nishimura

From summer intern to Lead Citizen Forester, Kerrin has been volunteering with Casey Trees for the past 12 years and has planted an estimated 425 trees. As a Team Leader, Kerrin has led countless other volunteers in tree plantings, and helped to train even more Citizen Foresters.

Greg has participated in over 80 Casey Trees events and has been Lead Citizen Forester at two plantings since he first became involved 13 years ago.

The personal connections Kerrin has grown within the Casey Tree’s community is what makes the volunteering experience all the more wholesome. Kerrin and Greg met while both taking part in a Dutch Elm Disease inventory as interns, and now work together to make their city the greenest it can be for their family.

“The most rewarding part about the hours and years I’ve dedicated to Casey Trees is knowing that in 20 years I can bring my daughter back to all those places that her father and I have planted trees and she’ll be able to see the good work that we’ve done. She’ll be able to put her hands on a living symbol of our love for the environment and for the city itself,” Kerrin says.

Award for Leadership: Earl Eutsler and UFA

The mission of the Urban Forestry Administration is to manage and increase the District’s street trees and to maintain healthy trees across the city.

This team of nearly 30 work together to maintain D.C. trees which provide improved air quality, temperature moderation, increased ground water retention and many more benefits.

The Administration works to provide proper and expeditious services such as pruning, small tree removals and clean-up of tree debris and stumps in order to provide safe sidewalk and street clearance to the residents of the District, and also provides educational information to District residents about the benefits of growing trees and encourage planting appropriate tree species in our urban environment.



For those looking to deepen their engagement, consider becoming a sponsor of the Canopy Awards, Casey Trees’ flagship event of the year. In addition to contributing to the District’s tree canopy, sponsors receive an array of benefits and promotional opportunities. To see the full list, and secure your spot today, click the button below.



The 2016 Canopy Awards Honorees

Award for Design

District Department of Transportation

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) does far more than just grant parking permits and keep the new D.C. Streetcar running smoothly, they also design programs which enhance and protect green spaces all around the city.

Three years ago they adopted the Sustainable DC Plan which aims to make the District the greenest city in the country in part by adopting the goal of a 40% tree canopy for the city by 2032. The Urban Forestry Administration (UFA), which plants and maintains street trees, is also a part of DDOT.

A major task of the Green Infrastructure program at DDOT has been “Greening DC Streets” by using permeable pavement, bio-retention systems and planting native trees and grasses within pedestrian walkways, traffic triangles and alleyways.

While at Casey Trees, Meredith Upchurch, now the head of the Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure program developed the guidelines for “Tree Space Design: Growing the Tree Out of the Box” which ensures that street trees are planted with proper root space and soil depth.

DDOT’s streetscape designs are multifunctional in that they reduce storm water runoff, create green space, and influence other designers in the city to implement these methods.

Award for Education

Ryoko Yamamoto

When Ryoko Yamamoto immigrated from Tsuchiura, Japan to Queens, New York 11 years ago, she realized how much she missed having green spaces surrounding her. After residing in New York for one a year she and her family moved down here to D.C. which Ryoko described as, “the best decision we could have made.”

Shortly after settling into D.C. Yamamoto began studying horticulture and landscape design, which then led her to Casey Trees where she took Tree I.D. classes, Trees 101, and eventually became a Citizen Forester.

Yamamoto currently works as the School Garden Coordinator  at Capital City Public Charter School where she manages the gardens, teaches lessons, keeps healthy beehives and co-operates the School Garden Market. When the school moved locations to Kansas Avenue where there was a large field and courtyard, the first thing Yamamoto wanted to accomplish was planting trees in the space.

Even after helping to coordinate five School Tree Plantings at Capital City PCS for a total of 30 trees, Yamamoto still feels there is more to be done in and around the campus, such as removing invasive plant species and planting more native trees in Fort Slocum Park located behind the school.

Ryoko continues to inspire her students through removing invasive plant species, planting more native trees in Fort Slocum Park located behind the school and other engaging outdoor activities. She believes that, “these kinds of experiences form a solid foundation of trust in surroundings. Especially in an urban city like D.C., [she] believes cultivating the sense of wonder maintains our goodness at the very core.”

Award for Leadership

Councilmember Mary C. Cheh

Ward 3 Councilmember, Mary Cheh, has been a strong voice for trees and the environment in her 10 years on the DC Council.

Her creation of the Clean and Affordable Energy Act pushes for more green roofs in the city and storm water control among many other environmental advancements, and her efforts don’t end there.

She, alongside Councilmember Charles Allen, also introduced the Tree Canopy Protection Amendment Act of 2015 which, if adopted, dramatically increases tree protections throughout the District and ensures that more trees are planted throughout the city.

Cheh also sits on The Committee on Transportation and the Environment, which maintains public spaces, public parks and recreation areas.

Award for Partnership

The Crispus Attucks Development Corporation

After being covered by asphalt, an abandoned building and hundreds of old phone cables, local residents transformed a gray space into what we know as the beautiful Crispus Attucks Park today.

In order to make sure this park stayed safe from development The Crispus Attucks Development Corporation (CADC) began to seek out a conservation easement, however they faced a lack of interest from organizations until they found Casey Trees.

Through our partnership, CADC has been able to ensure the park remains an inviting green space for community use. A conservation easement enshrines this purpose for perpetuity.

President of the CADC Board, Will Gomaa describes the park as, “the result of the efforts of those who have lived in the neighborhood.”

The whole community has benefitted from the space, not only as a way to get closer with nature but also to get closer with each other. In the winter, CADC volunteers string lights on trees. The holiday light stringing brings brightness to the park in the middle of winter as well as the community — both wouldn’t be possible without the trees on which to string the lights!

You can read the full story of Crispus Attucks Park here.

Award for Volunteer Service

Gregg Serenbetz

As a Casey Trees volunteer for nearly 15 years and Citizen Forester for a decade, Gregg Serenbetz is definitely a familiar face to Casey Trees and many communities throughout D.C.

Gregg began his volunteer service here at Casey Trees while still in graduate school by helping to survey street trees around Capitol Hill and Metro Center. Since then he has been active with tree plantings, pruning events, tree health studies and environmental education fairs. Over the years he has donated his time at over 200 Casey Trees related events totaling over 700 hours donated. Gregg estimates he has lent a helping hand in planting around 200 trees!

As an employee at the Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, Gregg is able to bring a unique type of service and perspective to the Casey Trees community which helps us in more ways than we can count!

One of Gregg’s favorite quotes — also a Casey Trees favorite is, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Gregg told us this is what compels him to come back season after season — “the knowledge that [he] is making a direct and positive impact on the environment — in the present time but even more so for the distant future!”


Redwood — Title Sponsor
Whole Foods Market

Elm — Major Sponsor
The Davey Tree Expert Co.
Bruce Pike Productions
Design Cuisine
The JBG Companies
Washington Life Magazine

Maple — Supporting Sponsor
Bremo Trees LC
Capital Community News
Insight Property Group
National Capital Bank
Pittny Creative
Washington Blade


For those looking to deepen their engagement, consider becoming a sponsor of the Canopy Awards, Casey Trees’ flagship event of the year. In addition to contributing to the District’s tree canopy, sponsors receive an array of benefits and promotional opportunities. To see the full list, and secure your spot today, click the button below.




The 2015 Canopy Awards


Award for Design

Oehme van Sweden

Washington, D.C-based Oehme van Sweden (OvS) is widely known for their green approach to landscape architecture and for incorporating sustainable design strategies.

So it is no surprise that OvS, after being selected as the Landscape Architect of Record for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, was able to create a landscape memorial that honored Dr. King, was sensitive to its placement near the Tidal Basin’s beloved Yoshino cherry trees and focused on providing adequate canopy coverage to shade pedestrian access areas.

In addition to incorporating 182 new cherry trees into the landscape design, OvS’s unique plans addressed many soil challenges across the site — including compaction, composition and poor drainage — that if not corrected would significantly limit what plant species could be planted and restrict trees on the site from reaching their full potential size at maturity.

To counter these issues, OvS installed Silva Cells — modular suspended pavement systems that use soil volumes to support large tree growth and provide powerful on-site stormwater management — around nine new American elms planted in the pedestrian sidewalks along the West Basin Drive. The 9,400 cubic feet of loamy soil — more than 1,000 cubic feet per tree — in the suspended pavement system will help the new elms reach their planned overarching canopy of 40 feet.

When you next visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, admire the natural elements — stone, water and trees — used to underscore the themes of democracy, justice, hope and love — and take note of what cannot be seen underfoot that makes the four-acre design so successful.

Award for Education

Mary Farrah

A native daughter of the District, Mary Farrah grew up exploring the forests of Rock Creek Park, though she didn’t consider her passion for the trees and the outdoors a career path until she moved across the country to the Pacific Northwest, living first within Alaska’s Tsongas National Forest and then right next to Washington’s National Forest.

“It was only when I moved back to D.C. that I learned that we face very different challenges and opportunities in an urban forest.”

Mary now works as an Extension Agent for the Center for Sustainable Development in the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences at the University of the District of Columbia.

In 2011, Mary designed and has since instructed the Casey Trees Weed Warrior Invasive plant class, training hundreds of volunteers to pull invasive plants from trees in D.C.’s parks and natural areas.  Mary also serves on the D.C. Cooperative Weed Management Area committee.

“Since my first planting, I have loved Casey Trees! It’s enormously satisfying to see the trees we’ve planted all over the city thriving and to know our effort is making a difference both to the environment and to the community in D.C.”

Award for Leadership

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson

Until the early 2000’s, D.C.’s trees had very few rights. That changed when the D.C. Council passed the Urban Forest Preservation Act of 2002 (UFPA), legislation introduced by Councilmember – now Chairman – Phil Mendelson, who fought to secure support for its passage among the Administration, his colleagues and the public.

UFPA marked the first time that trees were given protection in the District and inspired other municipalities across the country to follow suit. Because of UFPA, to now be able to legally remove a tree that is over 55 inches in circumference, property owners must first secure a permit and then pay a fee, plant replacement trees or a combination. Those who do not, are fined. Collected permit fees and fines help replace the tree removed and add additional trees. UFPA’s passage has resulted in the planting of over 10,000 trees.

But UFPA’s real impact is far greater and longer lasting than even a tree. Because of Councilmember Mendelson foresight and tireless efforts to pass UFPA, D.C.’s residents now understand that trees are a critical element of the District’s infrastructure, and one deserving of protection.  This is the real impact legislation – when citizens are educated to a new reality – and everyone benefits from a better environment.

Chairman Mendelson has been an active participant in District politics since 1975 when he became a member of the McLean Gardens Residents Association. He later ran for a seat on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) in 1979 and continued to serve on the ANC until he took office as an At-Large Member of the Council in 1998. Chairman Mendelson was elected to his current post in 2012.

Award for Partnership

Carol Herwig

Carol Herwig is as accomplished — and interesting — as the sports and performance arts greats she profiled as a journalist at USA TODAY for 25 years.

After 40 years in journalism, mostly reporting on and editing coverage of professional and college sports — part of the new wave of American women to do so — Carol was ready to be “less bound to the seat and phone,” so she retired. She was already enrolled in the Graduate School USA’s (formerly referred to as the Graduate School, USDA) horticulture certificate program.

Learning more about woody plants opened Carol’s eyes to the great natural resources of her Petworth neighborhood, including Rock Creek Cemetery and the Armed Forces Retirement Home — and to its rapidly vanishing tree canopy. Always a do-er, Carol took action — first volunteering with Casey Trees on its citywide tree inventory in 2002, then planting trees and even joining the Casey Trees staff as Volunteer Coordinator.

But Carol’s greatest contribution has been her commitment to restoring Petworth’s canopy. Carol has tirelessly sought out planting projects in the neighborhood, approaching groups and institutions about adding trees to their property using Casey Trees’ Community Tree Planting program and working with them to develop strong planting plans and spearhead the planting and post-planting care.

To date, Carol can be credited for adding more than 250 trees to Petworth.

When Carol is not scouting out locations to plant new trees, Carol helps others care for their trees as an ISA-certified arborist and tree risk assessor, landscape designer and installation contractor with the District’s Department of the Environment RiverSmart Homes program. Carol is also the neighborhood tree planting coordinator with the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Award for Volunteer Service

Andrea Moreland

Long runs led to Andrea Moreland’s enduring enthusiasm for trees.

When considering routes for cross country and track training, Andrea always favored the trails that took her along streets and through parks and forests well-shaded by trees. The trees not only provided much appreciated relief from the heat and sun, but too they brought focus and peace on the long open runs.

Soon after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis and relocating to the District, Andrea began looking for opportunities to become more familiar with her new city and meet new people. She found both at Casey Trees.

Andrea first volunteered with Casey Trees in fall 2010 at Rock Creek Cemetery at St. Paul’s Rock Creek Parish in Northwest D.C., helping to plant trees at the historic burial ground that serves as the final resting place for some of D.C.’s most notable residents. She was immediately hooked.

Over the past five years, Andrea has become an integral part of the Casey Trees family — planting close to 200 trees across the District and serving as a Lead Citizen Forester, Community Tree Planting Team Leader, Citizen Pruner and member of the Street Team and Volunteer Engagement Steering Team. Andrea also supports tree planting efforts as a Casey Trees Member.

Chances are if Andrea is not planting, caring for or talking about trees, she is thinking about when she can.

“Planting so many trees in and around my neighborhood has given me greater pride and responsibility for my community.  D.C. is such a nice place to live, in large part because of the trees and parks, and we can all help it stay that way.”


Oak – Premier Sponsor

CoStar Group

Elm – Major Sponsors

Bruce Pike Productions | Davey Tree | Design Cuisine

Dock5 | Linemark | The JBG Companies

Maple – Supporting Sponsors

Bremo Trees | National Capital Bank | Pepco | Pittny Creative

Property Group Partners| The Hill is Home| Washington Blade | Washington City Paper

Sycamore – Associate Sponsors

American Technology Services, Inc. | Cliff Elmore Architects, PLLC

Community Preservation and Development Corporation | DeepRoot | Elmendorf Ryan

GCS|Sigal | Hartland | High Caliper Growing Systems | JGM Construction, Inc | PNC Bank

PQ Partners, LLC | Shake Shack Union Station | Tilton Bernstein Management

Stoiber + Associates Architects | Venable LLP

Redbud – Friends

GeographIT | Great Lakes Brewing Company | LimnoTech | Matt McHugh | U.S. Bank


For those looking to deepen their engagement, consider becoming a sponsor of the Canopy Awards, Casey Trees’ flagship event of the year. In addition to contributing to the District’s tree canopy, sponsors receive an array of benefits and promotional opportunities. To see the full list, and secure your spot today, click the button below.



The 2014 Canopy Awards

Our first ever Canopy Awards!

Award for Partnership: Betsy Emes, Trees for Georgetown
Award for Education: Melanie Choukas-Bradley
Award for Volunteer Service: Christy Kwan
Award for Leadership: Anthony A. Williams


Want to join the ranks of the community-minded businesses working to help re-tree DC? Become a Canopy Awards Sponsor today. All raised funds benefit Casey Trees.