Board Member Jack Cooper is coming up on his 2 year anniversary with Capital Trees, and in that time he’s already been part of some pretty significant progress within our organization. Read our interview with Jack below to see how Capital Trees’ reputation piqued his interest, some of the behind the scenes work that will have a big impact going forward, and what he’s most looking forward to in the next year.
Q. How long have you been involved with Capital Trees?
A. I’ve been involved with Capital Trees since Summer 2021.
Q. What is your position with Capital Trees?
A. I currently serve as a Member of the Board of Trustees and am on the Finance and Sustainable Maintenance Committees.
Q. Why did you take on that position?
A. I love Richmond and am passionate about harnessing green spaces to improve the lives of all Richmond residents. Capital Trees has a strong reputation in the community for being an impact-focused organization in this area that delivers results.
Q. How have you seen the organization evolve? What have you been most surprised by?
A. Just over the past two years, I’ve seen the organization evolve from a Board-run to a Board-governed organization. I am seeing firsthand how this evolution is strengthening the ability of Capital Trees to deliver on its core mission and plan for the future.
Q. What Capital Trees contribution or project are you most proud of?
A. I am most proud of the Capital Trees Strategic Plan. The Board and stakeholders came together over the last year to develop a strategy that is already helping to propel Capital Trees forward in its work to restore public land so that they are environmentally stable and beautiful.
Q. Is there a common misconception about the work Capital Trees does?
A. Despite our name, we are so much more than “trees”! When undertaking projects, we consider a wide variety of factors to bolster green infrastructure in our city to support healthy outdoor places, including community needs, how the space will or should be used, and how to maintain the space once the project is concluded.
Q. What should more people know about Capital Trees?
A. We have so many opportunities for people interested in helping Richmond to be a city with vibrant and healthy parks and green spaces. Volunteers are always needed! Sign up for our newsletter, or get involved as a donor, partner or volunteer.
Q. What is Capital Trees biggest need?
A. As we continue to grow and to take on new projects while maintaining those we’ve already completed, funding will always be a priority. We are so grateful for our network of donors who have made an incredible impact in getting us to where we are today. We’re hoping to grow our donor base this year so that we can continue to grow and find opportunities to serve Richmond.
Q. What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
A. We have a few very exciting projects on the horizon and are exploring projects in areas of the city where we have not worked before!
Q. How do you foresee the organization transforming in the coming years?
A. Capital Trees will grow and change to ensure we’re making the greatest impact in alignment with our mission. I foresee Capital Trees becoming an even stronger leader across the city in the areas of landscape architecture, green spaces, and parks.
Q. What’s your favorite plant/plot/project of Capital Trees?
A. Our big projects like The Low Line and Great Shiplock Park get all the headlines (as they should – they’re fantastic!) but we are part of a lot of smaller efforts too. Last year we partnered with the City of Richmond to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, a man widely hailed as the father of landscape architecture who left a lasting, democratic mark on American green spaces, including those here in Richmond. It was a small but important way for us to elevate Richmond’s green spaces and partner with other community groups in doing so. It was fun, meaningful, and showed how Capital Trees continues to be a leader in this space.