They were fortunate to work with Side Project, Inc to give the organization a solid foundation. While working for free, they compiled a multi-talented board, networked with city staff, wrote grants, held fundraisers, partnered with local non-profits, churches and businesses, and conducted outreach about the benefits of trees to residents.
Meanwhile, they organized community tree plantings where people would have a great time meeting their neighbors, helping their city, and planting trees. At that time they’d keep hundreds of trees in their driveways, have their cars full of buckets, shovels, car seats and surf boards, and hand water all the trees by hose.
Mark Cassini is from Indianapolis, Indiana where he spent his childhood days immersed in nature at the creek catching fish and snakes.
Mark has created a diverse non-profit career including international work in Nairobi, Kenya. He has an M.A. in International Studies/Intercultural Relations from the University of the Pacific and graduated from Indiana University with a B.A., majoring in Cultural Anthropology.
He lives in Delray Beach, Florida with his wife and four children.
Matt Shipley is a third-generation South Floridan and was surfing by the time he could stand. Matt was always inspired by nature which drove him to study environmental issues at the University of San Diego.
After receiving his B.A. in Spanish and Environmental Studies, Matt joined the Peace Corps. He served in Paraguay as an environmental educator where he organized community-led reforestation efforts. Upon completing his service, Matt went back to California to receive an M.A. in International Environmental Policy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
He is a recent graduate of the Municipal Forestry Institute and became an ISA Certified Arborist in 2017.
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