Guest

Mark Buscaino

"Urban Forester"

 Mark Buscaino

Growing up just outside New York City, Mark Buscaino's relationship with trees and the environment began exploring the nearby woods and river and his teenage landscaping and lawn mowing business. Following undergraduate studies in business administration, he found himself reconnecting with his love of nature and the environment in the Peace Corps in West Africa. Working first in animal husbandry in Benin, he saw an opportunity to start up the country's first forestry program. He trained volunteers, starting trees from seeds, and launched a national movement of village-operated nurseries. "It drove me nuts that aid organizations said farmers could not produce trees from seeds," says Buscaino. "They were farmers, they grew corn and all kinds of things from seeds. I couldn't understand why they just didn't take the nursery to the villages and that's what I did. Now if you go back to that area in Africa, you see plantations all over the place and all those plantations have been put down by the villagers themselves."

Buscaino's passion for connecting the community with trees continues in his work as Executive Director of Casey Trees, a nonprofit organization that restores, enhances, and protects the tree canopy of the nation's capital. The former National Director for the Urban and Community Forestry Program at the USDA Forest Service knows firsthand the importance of exposing young people to green career opportunities and stewardship. "Very few people get into this profession," says Buscaino. "Our Summer Urban Forestry Internship Program gives local community-sponsored high school opportunities they normally would not encounter until mid-way through a college career."

In Helsinki, he looks forward to seeing the city's interface with nonprofits, and the city's planning in terms of the green spaces, the environment, and the laws that support these efforts. "Europe is fascinating for any urban forester. They have done a lot more to plan their development in a cohesive fashion than we have in the United States. That fascinates me because it's almost as though they're a thousand years down the timeline, and we can learn so much. "

Casey Trees

Host

Elina Nummi

Project manager, Public Works department

The Public Works Department of the City of Helsinki is responsible for the planning, construction and maintenance of streets and green areas in Helsinki as well as for parking control. The planning, construction and commissioning of city premises are also part of our duties. Our aim is to create a durable, beautiful and functional city to meet the needs of residents, companies and the capital.

Project manager Elina Nummi, Public Works department, Streets and
Parks Division will host Mr Buscaino's stay. Ms Nummi (in the picture in her Auntie Green outfit) is in charge of developing and coordinating voluntary work, environmental education, campaigns and sponsorship in park environments.

We will introduce Mr Mark Buscaino to ongoing work and research on trees in Helsinki, the extensive central park forest areas for recreation, offer him a glimpse of the education provided by our Nature School and show him our beloved nature reserve in the centre of Helsinki, (link: Viikki www.gardenia helsinki.fi/viikkinature/index.htm). Mr Buscaino will share his expertise in tree care with our arborists and gardeners during a half-day seminar.

Ms Nummi will visit Washington DC in May and participate in an educational event organised by Casey Trees as "Auntie Green". The City of Helsinki will donate a poster called "Our Friend the Tree" to the schools of DC.

The Public Works Department, City of Helsinki