Industry Connections Result in Volunteer Tree Planting Effort - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Industry Connections Result in Volunteer Tree Planting Effort

Photo: Caterpillar

All it takes is a seed. In the case of this community service project, the seed was originally planted when Roscoe Klausing, CEO of Klausing Group, Inc., based in Lexington, Kentucky, and Jason Becker, global retail manager – construction industries for Caterpillar served on NALP’s board of directors together.

(Left to right) Jason Becker and Roscoe Klausing Photo: Roscoe Klausing

Klausing says it was this connection that caused him to start buying Caterpillar equipment.

“I wanted to give my business to the group that supported our industry,” Klausing says.

Two years ago, Becker planned a trip to Kentucky for himself and some other Cat employees. They toured local dealers and spent a day working alongside Klausing employees on a jobsite using their Cat machine.  

Then a month ago, Becker reached out to Klausing as he was hosting his Caterpillar leadership team meeting in Kentucky and wanted his help planning their visit. Klausing says they were looking for an opportunity to use their Cat machine with Becker and his team, so he organized a half-day project with TreesLouisville, which preserves and expands the Louisville and regional tree canopy through civic engagement, education and public awareness.

Klausing says one of the goals of TreesLouisville is to plant as many large canopy shade trees as possible. He says it can be hard to find individuals who want free trees as typically the areas missing urban tree canopy don’t have the funds to maintain them. Klausing says often individuals are most concerned about the trees falling on their house.

Photo: Caterpillar

“It’s actually a real struggle,” Klausing says. “So both these organizations, TreesLouisville and TreesLexington have either staff or volunteers who are actively looking to find recipients.”

Caterpillar leaders from Switzerland, France, England and North America worked together with Klausing Group staff and TreesLouisville volunteers to plant 41 trees at the St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church on March 26, 2024.

TreesLouisville provided the trees while Klausing Group provided the labor and equipment to make the planting go much faster. The 11 volunteers planted numerous native tree species including sycamore, yellowwood, hackberry, paw paw, and pecan. Klausing says the church also requested fruit trees as they have a whole series of community garden plots, so they planted some apple and cherry trees as well.

TreesLouisville sent out an arborist who taught proper tree planting techniques to the Caterpillar staff. The organization also has a three-year inspection cycle where they ensure the newly planted trees remain healthy with basic pruning.

Photo: Caterpillar

Additionally, Caterpillar made a donation to TreesLouisville.

“This is a testament to the relationships you can develop in NALP,” Klausing says.

Klausing says he loves how his connections with Caterpillar provided an opportunity for them to come together and support his personal passion of tree planting through volunteering.

Klausing says restoring cities’ urban canopy is critical because the canopy is performing all kinds of benefits, including stormwater reduction, water filtration, air quality improvement, heat reduction, along with mental health and social benefits.

“There are organizations like TreesLexington and TreesLouisville in many, many cities across the country,” Klausing says. “Any one of our members could probably get engaged the same way that we are with their local version of these groups and contribute money, contribute volunteers or contribute equipment.”

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.