First of all, happy 2nd anniversary to my amazing husband! It’s so hard to believe that it’s already been two years!
Another thing that is hard to believe is that it’s been almost a year since my alama mater, Southern Methodist University (SMU) held its annual Stampede of Service Day (or SOS) for its many alumni associations nationwide and worldwide. On a particular day of the year, this year was October 19th, alumni chapters are encouraged to organize and participate in a community service activity of some kind with their fellow alums in their current city.
As you may remember last year the D.C. alumni chapter volunteered at So Others Might Eat( S.O.M.E.), an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless of our nation’s capital. S.O.M.E. provides a variety of services including affordable housing, addiction treatment, and counseling.
This year our new (yours truly was the chair last year) Stampede of Service Chair chose a different organization to work with, Casey Trees.
Casey Trees is a locally- based urban forestry non-profit dedicated to restoring, enhancing and protecting the tree canopy of the nation’s capital. Tree education, tree care, and tree planting are just a few things this great organization does and advocates for.
We participated in the tree-planting component for SOS. The way tree-planting works is that communities and areas around D.C. can apply with Casey trees to be considered to be chosen as spots in which the organization will come and develop a plan and design to bring donated trees (various kinds) to beautify the area.
The community we served on Saturday morning was Brookland Manor, a lower-income neighborhood in Northeast D.C. Different groups of volunteers spent three hours planting trees around this subdivision.
It was a blast! One of the main reasons why I liked it was because as we began planting our trees (each group consisting of about five people had to plant two trees each – there were nine groups total) residents in the community rapidly became interested in what we were doing and were very eager to help us out.
The first tree we planted, a magnolia tree, was one of two that were planned to be at the front gate of the community, as a nice welcoming focal point.
Our second tree was definitely a lighter lift, a smaller tree in a common area across the street from the entrance.
After all the planting was done, the community provided a celebratory lunch for all the volunteers!
One of the many requirements a community has to adhere to in order to be considered an applicant for Casey Trees is wide community support (ideally before and during the planting, but most importantly after. They need to commit to take care and nurture the trees that are donated), a celebratory lunch needs to be made or sponsored by the community for the volunteers, and each community has to show that a majority of the community wants this project to come to their neighborhood.
I would highly recommend Casey Trees as an organization to volunteer at or even donate to. I think the mission is an important one and it also encourage peoples to have an appreciation for nature and see the natural beauty in their surroundings.
For more information on Casey Trees go here.