Green Team Plans Tree Planting to Round Out the Year

By Samuel Lopez, staff writer
Close-up image of redbud tree in bloom

Bright purple blossoms and deep red leaves are a signature of the “Forest Pansy” redbud, one of the four trees soon to live on the NCI Frederick campus. (Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Four young trees will soon have a home on the NCI Frederick campus, thanks to the NCI Frederick Green Team. The group is hosting an event to plant them on Tuesday, Nov. 15, as part of an initiative to beautify the workplace and increase its ecological health. All employees are invited to attend and help.

The trees were chosen based on the results of a campus-wide poll. In keeping with employees’ preferences and the available stock at the nursery, the Green Team has procured an “October Glory” maple, a sweetbay magnolia, a “Forest Pansy” redbud, and a bald cypress. All four are ecologically appropriate choices for this region of the U.S.

The event will begin at noon and end at 1 p.m. Employees who want to help with the planting should gather outside of Building 555. They’ll plant the first trees there before moving to Buildings 426 and 550 to plant the remainder.

Participants aren’t being asked to perform strenuous physical labor. The Green Team will have the holes dug in advance; participants will help seat the trees in the holes and fill in the dirt around the roots.

Even so, “I always recommend wearing something that they wouldn’t mind getting a little dirty and wearing sunscreen,” said Kylee Stenersen, EHS officer in the Environment, Health, and Safety Directorate (EHS), speaking on behalf of the team.

Occupational Health Services will be providing sunscreen for participants who forget their own, and EHS will have gloves, safety glasses, and gardening tools at the ready.

Balance and Beauty for the Campus

EHS and Green Team members have previously pointed out the benefits of planting trees. Besides the more well-known perks like giving shade and recycling carbon dioxide, trees perform other important roles. They’re key players in the local water cycle, and they can blunt the extent of water pollution by reducing runoff; filtering ground water; and slowing the speed at which rain reaches the ground, thereby further decreasing runoff and flash flooding.

The five trees soon to live at NCI Frederick will noticeably brighten the campus’ appearance, too.

Early spring will deck the redbud with purple blossoms, with the magnolia and maple following with their own white and red flowers not long after. In the summer, scarlet fruit will hang from the magnolia, and the maple and cypress will have the bright green canopies for which they’re known. The fall will burnish the redbud’s leaves to shades of bronze and ruby-violet, while the maple—living up to its “glory” nickname—will become a brilliant red.

It’s something for employees to appreciate, not just for the lush, year-long kaleidoscope but for the positive environmental impact. For employees who participate in the planting, it can also be a reminder of the difference they’ve helped to make in the campus community.

Employees with questions should contact the Green Team at

Samuel Lopez leads the editorial team in Scientific Publications, Graphics & Media (SPGM). He writes for newsletters; informally serves as an institutional historian; and edits scientific manuscripts, corporate documentation, and a slew of other written media. SPGM is the creative services department and hub for editing, illustration, graphic design, formatting, multimedia, and training in these areas.