Residents in several District of Columbia Housing Authority communities in Wards 5, 7, and 8 are benefitting from the new shade from approximately 250 trees being planted. The trees, supplied and planted by Casey Trees, were made possible with a D.C. Department of Energy and Environment grant that aims to sow trees citywide.
“Following thermal imaging to find heat islands in the city, several of our properties were identified as good candidates for more trees,” said Executive Director Brenda Donald. “We graciously accept these trees for bringing much needed shade to the community. That shade will not only bring a welcome respite and area for residents to relax outside with friends and family, but also will help to reduce energy use in our buildings.”
This spring, 60 trees were planted at Highland Dwellings. Another 44 will be planted this fall at Highland. Nearly 50 trees will be planted in December at Benning Terrace. Woodland Terrace, Fort Dupont, Langston Terrace and Additions, Kenilworth Courts, and Capitol Gateway are slated for future plantings.
Casey Trees worked with DCHA to identify sites and areas within these communities for new trees. The tree planting locations were carefully crafted to augment pedestrian safety and assist with security measures, such as ensuring unobstructed camera views.
“This has been an impactful partnership – mutually beneficial effort between all of our partners and residents. Several sections of Wards 7 and 8 have low canopy coverage and suffer from disproportionately high heat. Casey Trees and the Urban Forestry Division are working to achieve 40% canopy coverage by 2032. Targeting open canopy on DCHA properties in Wards 7 and 8 assists with the District canopy goal and adds shade for residents to recreate under,” said Casey Trees Director of Tree Operations Robert Shaut. “A healthy tree canopy provides shade and energy benefits to residents, cleans the rivers, sequesters carbon, increases wildlife habitats, and more.”
In addition to helping to cool urban areas, trees are known to encourage outdoor activity and physical health, increase quality of life, relieve stress, help with stormwater run-off and erosion, and improve energy performance in buildings. Deciduous trees planted around buildings block sun in summer, but allow for sun in winter after leaves fall. In addition, trees help to block noise, support local wildlife, reduce air pollution, and increase the city’s ability to battle climate change.
“MITRE is dedicated to enriching the communities in which we live and work,” said Stephanie Turner, MITRE, vice president, Inclusion, Diversity, and Social Innovation. “We are pleased that our MITRE Innovation Program team was able to collaborate with the District of Columbia and Casey Trees to heighten the awareness of the environmental and health benefits of planting new trees throughout the District.”