Beauty in a leaf

More than 100 students and other members of the GW community did not just hug a tree Thursday – they helped to plant one.

Campaign GW and Casey Trees, a local tree advocacy group, sponsored a tree planting at the Mount Vernon campus where a total of 28 trees were planted throughout the afternoon during the first event marking the new partnership between Casey Trees and GW.

“We’re trying to ease into the project by kicking off the partnership with the University on Mount Vernon,” said Gina Fernandes, a senior majoring in international affairs and a member of Casey Trees.

Casey Trees advocates for arboreal awareness in the District by working to restore, enhance and protect the tree canopy in the area in a collaborative effort with residents, neighborhoods, organizations and agencies.

Casey Trees will help the University increase the presence of trees on campus and maintain them as a component of GW’s new Foggy Bottom Campus Plan. Casey Trees will be instrumental in developing GW’s new urban tree box designs and streetscape technologies.

Among these volunteers included University President Steven Knapp and Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz, who planted the first ceremonial tree and spoke at the beginning of the event, along with members of the board of trustees for Casey Trees.

“What’s unique about this event is that our entire community is participating, which is great. It’s what planting these trees is all about: building a community,” Fernandes said as she collected volunteer forms from community members.

Participating volunteers included neighbors of the University from the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses, faculty members, staff members and members of GW student organizations.

Junior David Leeds was one of the several volunteers who came to help plant the trees on Thursday.

“This is a great event,” Leeds said. “It allows different organizations to come together and improve the GW community.” Leeds and about 15 of his Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers planted trees and were happy “to give back to the community that has given us so much.”

Senior Casey Pond also said he thought the activity was worthwhile.

“This is a really cool event. It emphasizes the unique qualities of the Mount Vernon campus. It’s a good place to start the relationship between GW and Casey Trees,” Pond said.

Emily Mazurak, a junior majoring in human services, was excited with the large volunteer turnout.

“This event has been extremely successful. I know we’ve had 100 or more individuals,” Mazurak said. “It’s great to see so many people are getting involved in the green movement, which doesn’t only involve us, but the whole country.”

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