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Eye on The Cherry Blossoms

By Ed O'Keefe

Millions of people will visit the National Mall this week to see the annual blooming of the cherry blossoms. While the beauty the trees demonstrate during their blooming period comes naturally, there's a small, dedicated team of federal employees responsible throughout the year for the care of "the cherries," as they call them.

In the video above, meet Robert DeFeo, the chief horticulturalist for the National Park Service's National Capital Region. He decides -- and then announces with great fanfare -- when the trees will reach their bloom period and peak bloom.

But Robert says the public should give more credit to an eight-man NPS team that prunes and cares for the trees throughout the year. The team is led by Tree Maintenance Supervisor Gilbert Shupe, whose father once also cared for the trees.

This profile is part of a new, recurring series of video profiles of federal government employees that continues next week.

Who we should profile next? E-mail your suggestions to

By Ed O'Keefe  | April 2, 2009; 5:14 AM ET
Categories:  Eye On..., Video Report  
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Excellent story! Your peek at the "man behind the curtain" -- in this case "men" -- stirred a new appreciation for the folks in the NPS and the superb job they do of keeping the capital "picture perfect." Big high fives all around! Thx for the glimpse at the team that makes it happen.
--Arlington, VA

Posted by: FrayedKnot | April 2, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

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