Growth Rings

The Science of Watering at Irving Elementary School

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 10:06 am

By Jennifer Killian

On a sunny day last November, Friends of Trees partnered with teachers and students from Eugene’s Irving Elementary School to plant 37 street and yard trees in front of the school to promote a Safe Pathway to School program. Now, in the hottest and driest part of the summer, Friends of Trees staff, homeowners, and volunteers are watering young street trees all over Eugene and Springfield, including the trees at Irving Elementary. These watering crews are busy taking care of nearly 800 trees planted this season. Friends of Trees recommends newly-planted trees receive a deep watering once a week of about 10-15 gallons.

“Can watering trees be turned into a science experiment?”

photo 1 e1405720259566 300x225 The Science of Watering at Irving Elementary School

Watering team poses by their favorite tree, Cookie! Photo: Jennifer Killian

Recently, some of the students from Irving Elementary asked After School Program Coordinator Lori Wheeler if it would be possible to use the watering of the new trees as a science experiment. Together, Lori and the students decided to find out.

They first looked at the in-ground sprinkler system to see if it provides enough water to the trees. They placed a bucket at the base of one of the trees near the sprinkler system to capture water from the sprinklers.  They quickly determined that the trees would not receive enough water from the sprinklers alone. So, it was on to the next plan.

These days, if you drive past Irving Elementary on a Wednesday afternoon, you will see a group of students outside under the shade of a large maple tree. Led by Tree Team Leader Tyler and supervised by Lori, they enjoy their lunch and make a watering plan for the day. Of the 37 trees, all but a handful can be reached by connecting a series of long watering hoses. The students timed how long it took to fill 2-3 five-gallon buckets with water from the hose. With that amount of time in mind, they stretch the hose to each tree and let the water run for the appropriate amount of time. Those trees that are out of the reach of the hose are watered with five- gallon buckets that the students take turns filling up and carefully pouring on the base of the each tree.

photo 4 300x225 The Science of Watering at Irving Elementary School

Tree Team Captain Tyler with the watering hose! Photo: Jennifer Killian

With a briefcase and clipboard, Tyler carefully records each the watering of each tree, notes potential problems, and reports back to Friends of Trees. At the end of the summer, the students will create a presentation of their watering methods and results to Friends of Trees staff, who are all very excited to see.

- Jennifer is the Volunteer & Neighborhood Trees Specialist in the Friends of Trees Eugene office.

A line of volunteers stretching 4 miles?!

Posted on July 18, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Drumroll please… Friends of Trees’ final 2013-2014 volunteer tallies are in! And they’re amazing, thanks to YOU. Here are the numbers:

  • 4,005 individuals volunteered last year for events in the Portland metro area, Vancouver and Salem.
  • If all of these volunteers held hands, they’d stretch for nearly 4 miles!
  • 31,721 volunteer hours — that’s equivalent to more than 3 1/2 years devoted to trees!
  • 7,433 instances of volunteering, including many wonderful repeat volunteers.

These totals include 1,884 people who volunteered during 48 Green Space Initiative events, and 2,050 people who volunteered during 40 Neighborhood Tree plantings.

“It’s a pleasure to crunch these numbers knowing all the stories they represent,” said Jenny Jenny Bedell-Stiles, Friends of Trees’ Volunteer & Outreach Manager. “Thanks to all of you who came out, and we’ll see you next season!”






Infographic: Money really does grow on trees

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 10:14 am

Tree value infographic web Infographic: Money really does grow on trees


Hundreds gather to hug trees at Hoyt Arboretum

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 9:20 pm
 Hundreds gather to hug trees at Hoyt Arboretum

Attendees wrap their arms around some bark.
Photo: Lucia DeLisa

How does it feel to hug a tree for one full minute?

“It feels bumpy. Because it’s a tree,” said 7-year-old Liam, who was out with his sister and mom along with hundreds of others at the Hoyt Arboretum Saturday.

In total, 599 tree-huggers braved temperatures in the ’90s in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the most people simultaneously hugging trees. Last year, Portland set the record with more than 900 tree-huggers, so we didn’t raise the bar this year. But that doesn’t mean folks didn’t have a blast.

FOT tree hug 2014 205 269x300 Hundreds gather to hug trees at Hoyt Arboretum

A new world record was set for the most people—24 trained arborists organized by Ascending the Giants— ascending a tree at once.
Photo: Lucia DeLisa

“It’s not about the record at this point,” organizer Damon Schrosk of Treecology told the Oregonian. “It’s about people having a good time and learning about the nonprofit groups we have here.”

Those groups included Hoyt Arboretum Friends, Treecology, Portland Parks and Recreation Urban Forestry division, Friends of Trees and Ascending the Giants.

One record may have been set Saturday. Ascending the Giants organized 24 trained arborists to climb and hug one tree all at once, which, if verified, would set a new Guinness World Record.

Thanks to everyone who came out, and we’ll see you for next year’s hug!

See KOIN News 6 coverage of the event.

Below is a slideshow, courtesy of Lucia DeLisa: