The Canopy Awards

Honorees

Award for Volunteer Service: Greg and Kerrin Nishimura
Award for Partnership: Shake Shack | Douglas Soloman
Award for Education: Amy Jagodnik
Award for Leadership: The Urban Forestry Administration

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 65 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 Partnership: Shake Shack | Douglas Solomon

If you attended a community tree planting in the past year, you’ve probably seen Douglas Solomon 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 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, and we are lucky enough 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 connecting more with the people and places of D.C.,” Douglas says. “I am able to connect the dots with people I meet for the first time when they see our sign about Casey Trees or when they see me in a Casey Trees T-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.

Amy has helped to plan two tree plantings at the school, after being first inspired by participating in the school’s first tree planting in 2010, and is also an involved Citizen Scientist. By working alongside the school’s science program, Amy has guided students to embrace tree identification, health and tracking.

Whether organizing volunteers to maintain campus grounds and outdoor classrooms, educating the children about the importance and technique of caring for a plant or garden, or planning improvements to our landscapes or 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 Leadership: The Urban Forestry Administration

The Urban Forestry Administration (UFA) is keeper of Washington, D.C.’s street trees, and has become one of the premier street-tree-management organizations in the country. This team of nearly 30 arborists work together to care for and plant all the trees between the sidewalk and the road that add beauty and shade to our walkways, calm traffic and improve public health.

UFA continuously strives to provide expeditious services to the residents of D.C. – the planting, pruning, removal and clean-up of street trees is all done by this efficient team. They also provide educational information to residents about the the geographic location, health and diversity of the trees of D.C., and how they benefit the community.

While UFA tackles street tree requests, we coordinate with them on larger projects like our Pruning Corps, and major joint plantings like Suitland Parkway. The relationship between our two organizations is vital for successfully re-treeing D.C. and reaching the district-wide 40 percent canopy goal.

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