Growth Rings

Metro grant will help FoT deepen ties within our diverse communities

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 10:05 pm

While the environmental restoration community in our region has made progress toward diversity, equity and inclusion, we feel there is still a long way to go.

Sandy delta young vols 300x200 Metro grant will help FoT deepen ties within our diverse communities

Young volunteers plant in the Sandy River Delta this past season. Photo: Brighton West.

Thanks to funding from Metro’s Nature in Neighborhoods program, Friends of Trees will join several other leading restoration organizations for a two-day retreat to help us serve an increasingly diverse ethnic, cultural and economic population in the Portland Metro Region.

Friends of Trees will join these other nonprofits at the retreat: the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Tryon Creek Watershed Council, Forest Park Conservancy, Sandy River Watershed Council and North Clackamas Urban Watershed Council. Together, these groups reach more than 10,000 people each year through volunteering and outreach.

The $19,000 grant is helping fund a workshop led by the Center for the Diversity and the Environment. This formalized, supportive setting will provide training and tools to broaden our outreach efforts and cater programs to new and diverse communities. By participating in the retreat, Friends of Trees and the other partner groups will be empowered to lead equity, diversity and inclusion change process within own own organizations.

Thank you, Metro, for caring about these important issues and empowering Friends of Trees to be a leader in this effort.

This is one of two recent grants from Metro. The other is helping Friends of Trees more effectively reach diverse communities in North Portland.

the power of trees in NoPo

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Friends of Trees has worked in North Portland for 25 years—gathering volunteers to work side by side planting thousands of trees along neighborhood streets, in yards and at schools.

Boise eliot planting 300x200 the power of trees in NoPo

Volunteers gather after planting trees in the Boise, Eliot and Humboldt neighborhoods of Portland earlier this year.

However, we see that the diversity of property owners participating in our program doesn’t reflect the diversity of these neighborhoods in which we’re planting.

We’re excited to announce that we’ve received a grant from Metro’s North Portland Enhancement Grant program that will help us more effectively communicate, work and build relationships across North Portland. The $18,000 grant will allow Friends of Trees to work with the Center for Diversity and the Environment to conduct an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Session. The result will be a plan to better engage all residents of North Portland, both for the health of those neighborhoods and because our own organization’s health depends on it.

By expanding our circle of influence to serve more diverse communities, we can extend the long-term benefits of trees to all North Portland neighbors. Those benefits include lower crime rates, lower energy bills, better air quality, increased property values and stronger community pride and connections. That’s the power of trees!

“This project provides a great opportunity for an influential conservation organization to model taking effective steps towards equity, diversity, and inclusion in one of the most diverse regions in our state,” said J. Marcelo Bonta, Executive Director for the Center for the Diversity and the Environment.

Thank you, Metro, for caring about these important issues and empowering Friends of Trees to be a leader in this effort. This is one of two grants from Metro that is broadening the reach of restoration projects to diverse communities.

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!”