Mark Buscaino

Mark Buscaino Executive Director, Casey Trees 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. "


Future Forward – Mark Buscaino

Mark Buscaino describes his Helsinki trip as a portal that opened his eyes to urban forestry in other places. “Here’s a country where they have been planting over decades, over centuries to maintain the wooded environment in their cities,” says Buscaino. “I was amazed at the lengths they go to make sure tree plantings are successful, right down to assuring adequate space for rooting volume.” (more…)

Read more

Journal of Mark Buscaino on April 4

We met up today with two urban forest researchers from helsinki university.  They provided a presentation about how they were tracking tree growth and develoment in a new housing development near the university.  The installations and measurements they were taking, and the information they had thus far gained, were quite intensive and very interesting. I was interested to see how closely their work paralleled other work going on in the US and hope i can create some connections that may be able to strengthen our mutually beneficial efforts.

Read more

Journal of Mark Buscaino on April 2

I apologize for not writing sooner – technical difficulties have kept me from the site.  To briefly summarize the past few days i’ve met with many incredible people, all very dedicated to ther work and judging from everyone’s hospitality and kindness, to this exchange program as well.

Read more

Journal of Mark Buscaino on April 2

Spent most of the day with tina, the city’s urban forester.  I was impressed with the logging operations occurring near human settlements, schools.  I was also impressed with the extent of the city’s “central park” and all the uses it is able to provide.

In the evening we went to the finlandia hall to hear the symphony. It wasn’t like your typical symphony concert – most of the songs were done for singing along, and most were finnish national songs – but of course there was Abba and some Queen tunes as well.  Pretty wild those finns i gotta tell you!

Read more

Mark’s Helsinki Top 6

6. Walking on thin ice in the Helsinki harbor and surviving!
5. Touring Central Park with Tiina and seeing the forest management operations up close
4. Getting whipped by birch branches in sauna at Elina’s house
3. Cocktails at the skybar at the Hotel Torni the night before I left with the entire team of finnish guests and Dale.
2. Eating (and trying to understand) Mammi at Elina’s house with the entire team.
1. Dinner at Elina’s house with the entire team.

Read more


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 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