2018 - The City of Trees

The green mall sweeping towards the riverbank, the great open vistas, the broad radiating avenues. The City of Trees!

Greetings from the City of Trees

Greeting Card - Greetings from the City of Trees


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.”