Just because it is winter doesn’t mean that you can’t participate in community events that support the restoration of the District’s urban forest. Brookland based Casey Trees offers ways to stay engaged for those interested in preserving and expanding DC’s tree canopy. We thought readers might be interested in the classes below, that are offered either at their Brookland headquarters or in greater DC locations. Go to their event page here or follow the links below for more info and to register for the events:
- January 28th: Class, Trees 101
- February 4th: Class, Pruning 101 Workshop
- March 4th: Class, Tree Planting Workshop
Casey Trees is located at 3030 12th St NE.
We were fortunate to attend an event to honor volunteers of Brookland based Casey Trees. We have driven by the location, Heritage Hall, on Catholic University’s campus many many times over the years and had always been curious about what it looks like on the inside. The Hall, which was recently restored in 2014, dates back to 1914. Hope you like the photos, as you can see it is a beauty! (Flash is required to view the photos, if you can’t see them, go here.)
Readers may remember our petition from January 2013 to bring a “green wall” to the Pepco Substation 133 building on the 3100 block of 12th Street, NE (between Irving and Jackson). Back in April we finally got word that the project was a go. Now we are happy to report that the trellis structure along the entire 12th Street length of the Substation wall has been installed, and portions of the sidewalk have been cut out for planter beds to hold the vines. Now we just have to wait for the vines to grow! Here are some pics:
We would like to thank the following folks who were instrumental in making this project possible:
- Casey Trees Executive Director Mark Buscaino. Mark didn’t hesitate to represent the Brookland community to Pepco, offering his expertise and using the influence of his organization, which added more weight to our case.
- Donna Cooper, President of Pepco. Donna heard our request to beautify the building in early 2013 and met with us on multiple occasions. All this despite her busy schedule and obviously, much larger issues to deal with, and in the end, she approved the plan.
- Our 300 + readers who gave us overwhelming support for this idea via our petition. This encouraged us to not give up on this plan over the years, and of course showed Pepco that DC residents pay attention to what large corporations give back to the community.
- Joe Barrios, former ANC 5B04 Commissioner and an involved and engaged neighbor. Joe’s legal expertise and advice helped us greatly at the negotiations table.
- Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Councilmember. Mr. McDuffie was the catalyst in the very beginning of this process. He hosted the first meeting with us, Donna Cooper and her team.
- Mary Pat Rowan of the Greater Brookland Garden Club who provided her expertise as a landscape architect.
The vines that were planted were Carolina Jessamine, which should look great year-round since they are evergreen and produce fragrant yellow flowers in spring. We are excited about this improvement for our community and hope that our neighbors are excited too!
Brookland based Casey Trees offers ways to stay engaged for those interested in preserving and expanding DC’s tree canopy. We thought readers might be interested in the classes below, that are offered either at their Brookland headquarters or in nearby NE DC locations. For the full schedule of classes, go here. Click on each classes link for more info.
- September 16: Non-Native Plant Removal Class
- September 19: Stand Up For Trees advocacy workshop
- October 3: Tree Planting Workshop
Casey Trees is located at 3030 12th St NE.
Many readers may remember our petition to bring a “green wall” to the Pepco Substation 133 building on the 3100 block of 12th Street, NE (between Irving and Jackson). Well, we have great news to share! Last night at the Canopy Awards, hosted by Casey Trees, Executive Director Mark Buscaino announced that we should see a “Green Wall” trellis structure along the entire length of the Substation wall, and cut out planter beds to hold the vines, installed by mid July. According to Mr. Buscaino, it will be the largest green wall in Washington DC. Pepco will install the structure and plant the vines, and overall, the end product is going to be better than what we originally asked for.
I would like to give the biggest credit and many thanks to Mark, who didn’t hesitate to represent the Brookland community, offering his expertise and using the influence of his organization, Casey Trees, which added more weight to our case.
Along with Mark, another key person who made this project possible was Donna Cooper, President of Pepco. Donna heard our request to beautify the building in early 2013, listened to our case, and met with us on multiple occasions. All this despite her busy schedule and obviously, much larger tasks and issues she has to deal with, and in the end, she approved the plan.
It has been a long process, which started two years ago when I approached Pepco and suggested that the huge brick wall along their substation needs some green beautification. It was obvious that it would improve the appearance of the building, but also act as a noise buffer and reduce the storm water run off. I reached out to the local community here on the blog and received overwhelming support for this idea, which encouraged me to not give up on this plan, and of course showed Pepco that DC residents pay attention to what large corporations like Pepco give back to the community.
The negotiations went back and forth often with months of delay in between. Design, maintenance plans, plant choice and permits were just a few of the aspects that had to be agreed on and taken care of.
Lastly, I would like to mention two other people who were instrumental in making this project possible.
Joe Barrios, ANC 5B04 Commissioner. When we began this process, Joe wasn’t Commissioner yet, but he was an involved and engaged neighbor. Joe’s legal expertise and advice helped us greatly at the negotiations table.
Kenyan McDuffie, Ward 5 Councilmember. Mr. McDuffie was the catalyst in the very beginning of this process. He hosted the first meeting with myself, Shani and Donna Cooper and her team. He requested updates on a regular basis and nudged Pepco here and there to add some very helpful official pushes in the right direction.
This is the most recent design plan provided by Pepco:
We hope to have more plans and updates as the project moves forward this summer. We are so excited that this win-win concept will be brought to bear for our neighborhood.
In early August we wrote about a project to bury a portion of the above ground power line system in DC (see this Washington Post article). Brookland residents will be affected as we are slated to be one of the first areas to be undergrounded. Unfortunately the city and Pepco only plan on burying selected power lines, so the poles and other lines will remain. If you want to weigh in on this plan, there is still time to submit written comments to the DC Public Service Commission until September 15 2014. Brookland based Casey Trees will be hosting an informative webinar on the topic this Wednesday September 3rd at noon. Here are the details from their website:
As part of a $1 billion proposal called DC PLUG, the District and Pepco want to bury the worst-performing power lines in the city.
Find out what this means for the trees in your neighborhood during our live webinar: DC PLUG: Burying Lines, Raising Questions
This 30 minute webinar will provide you with the latest information and tools to speak out at the last public hearing on D.C.’s undergrounding project.
We’ll go over:
- Why the city doesn’t want to bury all of the overhead wires
- Which lines will be buried and which will remain above ground
- The benefits for and risks to trees if power lines are buried
- Find out what impact this may have on your neighborhood’s street trees
Bring your questions and we will answer them live during the webinar!
Maisie Hughes, Director of Planning + Design
Emily Oaksford, Planning Associate
Suraj K. Sazawal, Advocacy Associate
For more details and to register for the webinar – click here.
In March, Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill that funds an ambitious project to bury a portion of the above ground power line system in the District (see this Washington Post article). The project has been named DC PLUG and is scheduled to be implemented over the course of the next 7-10 years. A big and long lasting project like this, with a budget of $1 Billion, needs public scrutiny, awareness, inclusion and feedback.
We wrote here last week that the DC Public Service Commission started a series of public hearings to give residents a chance to learn more details about the project and to testify to the commission with their concerns, ideas and suggestions.
I attended the Ward 5 hearing on August 24. I was disappointed that only very few Ward 5 residents took the opportunity to hear the presentation about details of the proposed project. LeRoy Hall (Brookland resident and activist), Mary Pat Rowan (President of the Greater Brookland Garden Club) and Tom Bridge (President of the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association) were the only people other than me, who testified. Hearings like this are a great opportunity to interact with public representatives and decision makers.
Caren Bacon (Pepco) and Keith Foxx (DDOT) gave a presentation about what to expect in the months and years to come regarding the construction to put selected power lines underground. On page 10 of the presentation you can see which streets construction is scheduled for and what lines in particular are being put underground. I was surprised to hear that not all lines (i.e. cable) are going to be buried once a trench has been dug up in the street. Ms. Bacon explained to me that cost is the reason for not burying all lines and connecting the households underground. With that said, unless a collective of DC residents convinces Pepco that we deserve the extra investment funded by the profit that they are making of the rates we are paying them, none of the poles will disappear and our trees will have to continue to endure drastic pruning. BUT, I was told that once the primary feeder [which runs power of very high voltage] has been removed, the pruning can be much less aggressive around the remaining secondary power lines.
I am also very excited to report that our friends at Casey Trees have testified at the Ward 7 meeting to make their expertise heard. Maisie Hughes, the Director of Planing and Advocacy at Casey Trees, stressed the importance in her testimony to protect the existing trees during the construction process and to assure the best possible conditions to enhance the tree canopy in the District for decades to come.
Here is a link to the audio recording of that meeting on August 24. There is still the opportunity to submit written comments to the DC Public Service Commission until September 15 2014. On their website it reads:
Any person desiring to comment on the application may file comments with the Commission no later than September 15, 2014. All written comments should be sent to MS. Brinda Westbrook-Sedgwick, Commission Secretary, Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, 1333 H Street NW 2nd floor, West Tower, Washington D.C. 20005.
There are more hearings and meetings to come in the following months. Keep checking the Commission’s website to review all past and scheduled future events and meetings.
Our good friends at Casey Trees remind us about the tree rebate program that is funded by the DC Department of the Environment. You can start by checking out the list of qualifying tree species on the Casey Trees website. You also want to make sure you pick a good tree for the location you identified. The CT website offers a lot of helpful information that guides you through the entire process from selecting, planting and caring for the tree.
The beautiful Black Gum Tree on the left is just one of multiple trees we submitted a rebate application for.
On their blog CT describes how easy it is to submit an application for a tree rebate:
Participation is simple: purchase a tree from a vendor of your choosing, plant it in D.C., then download our form and submit the rebate with a purchase receipt for each tree. There is no limit to the number of rebates per property.
Many large canopy trees, thanks to their immense environmental benefits, qualify for rebates of up to $100 per tree. Most small and medium canopy trees also qualify, for rebates up to $50 per tree. Invasives, dwarf and ash trees however do not qualify for a rebate of any amount. Refer to our species list for more help.
HAPPY PLANTING !!!!!
For those of you who have been following the blog, you know that we have been passionately supporting Casey Trees, the Brookland based organization whoes mission is to restore, enhance and protect the tree canopy of the nation’s capital.
Recently we shared with you volunteer opportunities near our neighborhood. You may want to see if there are still spots left available for these plantings in Edgewood, Langdon Park or Michigan Park.
Today I would like to introduce you to the Advocacy Program at Casey Trees. The program is based on the following idea:
- Everyone benefits from a healthy tree canopy.
- Find people in your community and start a conversation about the value of D.C.’s tree canopy and the need to protect it.
- Take one of our Action Alerts or attend an event and make your voice heard.
This program offers you the opportunity to meet fellow tree lovers, advocates and activists. You can share experiences and ideas, and most importantly you are introduced to information, legislation, and strategies that will help you in your efforts to protect trees.
The next Advocates Meeting is scheduled for March 20, this time with a special presentation:
This month’s Tree Advocates Meeting will include an hour-long public speaking training, “Speak Like A Pro”. This training will discuss the essentials of competence and character when giving a presentation, providing public testimony, or speaking with a key decision-maker. The instructor*, a professionally-trained, public speaking coach, will identify the six key steps of an effective presentation and discuss three principles of influence.
Of course this is just part of the agenda. Read more details on the registration page. The Casey Trees Advocacy Team can also share their efforts to support the fight to preserve the Brookland Green. They are 100% behind the neighborhoods effort to save the “Green” including the Brookland Bridge petition which has been presented to WMATA and the city council members.
The very sad incident in Bloomingdale just a few days ago, where about 100 trees were purposefully damaged, underlines the need for all of us to be vigilant, to not only look after the trees in our yard, but also the trees in public spaces. Maybe most importantly though we need to create awareness among our neighbors and friends about how important trees are for our daily lives and well being. All this is easier as a group, with a support structure and guidance. Take advantage of the great Advocacy program at Casey Trees, join the group of wonderful people and make a difference.