Friday, September 5, 2014

Conservation International partners with RMA

Many young workers who have moved to DC know local caf├ęs, gyms and other hangouts. But they know nothing about the trees they pass on the street every day. This view was expressed by a group of volunteers organized by Conservation International (CI) in a workshop with Restore Mass Ave on August 16.

The group, organized by Natalie Omundson of CI, first cleared out tree boxes in the 2400 block of Mass. One "neediest case" was a young elm tree next to the street, surrounded by an orange construction fence which enclosed the tree, plus trash piles and weeds.  

Volunteers cleared this tree box, raising the tree's odds of survival.
It took 7 people - led by RMA Treekeeper Robert Thomason - to clear out the tree box - poking through the fence and setting it back afterwards. Why the mess? This tree is 10 feet from a massive embassy renovation at 2406 Mass. Thankfully the construction firm,  Forrester, has protected and fenced this little tree.  But its soil is compacted and it needs water.  RMA will follow up to get the embassy next door to provide water, and get Forrester to help it survive.  

Afterwards, the volunteers discussed trees on their streets and guessed their types and condition. They considered how they might help those trees.

Conservation International is a very large nonprofit; its projects in 33 countries address big problems such as species loss and deforestation.  But the volunteers said that from the Arlington, Va. headquarters, they don't normally visit actual projects or see near-term results.  

That's why actively helping trees here in DC, was fun, they said. Ms. Omundson said they hoped to work with RMA on other projects.
                                                                                       - Deborah Shapley  (Photos: RMA)

Conservation International volunteers.
RMA's Robert Thomason (blue shirt) in the discussion session.