Growth Rings

Quiz: What is your perfect volunteer role?

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 1:15 am

vol roles 300x200 Quiz: What is your perfect volunteer role?Are you a party planner or a party animal? Do you want to learn to ID trees or just get your hands on some dirt?

Whatever your stripes, there is a place for you in the Friends of Trees family. To find your perfect role, take this five-question quiz.







Once Upon a Tree: A gala not to be missed!

Posted on August 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm

FOTOnceUpon2014 banner636X3501 Once Upon a Tree: A gala not to be missed!

This year Friends of Trees turns 25 years old. In a quarter century, we’ve planted more than a half a million trees with over 100,000 volunteers!

We feel this is cause for celebration.

On September 27, we’re commemorating 25 years of Friends of Trees with a community storytelling celebration and auction gala at the Exchange Ballroom. We’re calling it Once Upon a Tree: 25 Years and Growing.

View event info and RSVP

It promises to be a memorable evening of interactive performances by celebrated humorists, poets, and storytellers, including dinner and some jaw-dropping auction packages. Storytelling extraordinaire Courtenay Hameister, Head writer for Live Wire! Radio, will be our emcee for the evening.

Exchange Ballroom Rooftop 300x200 Once Upon a Tree: A gala not to be missed!

A rooftop Ninkasi beer garden will cap off the evening.

After the program, a rooftop celebration will feature a Ninkasi beer garden and live music with incredible views of the city, the river, and Forest Park.

Come celebrate with us! Tickets are $100 or you can host a table of 10 for $1,000. To RSVP, call (503) 467-2512 or visit Tickets are going fast, so reserve your seat today.

Once Upon a Tree is presented by Ninkasi Brewing Company with generous sponsorship support from Port of Portland, J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., Neil Kelly, NW Natural and Whole Foods.

Why do some trees have needles?

Posted on August 10, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Why do some trees have needles instead of broad, flat leaves?

Needles FlickrTomBrandt Why do some trees have needles?

Needles offer some nifty advantages over broad leaves—especially in tough conditions. 
Photo: Flickr CC / Tom Brandt

The short answer is: survival.

In general plants like it hot and humid—such as in rain forests near the Equator (or in greenhouses). But about 250 million years ago, the Earth’s climate was going in the opposite direction: colder and drier. (Blame it on Pangaea.) Plants needed new tactics to survive. Conifers, or cone-bearing trees, evolved to have needles that retain more water and seeds that could hang out until there was enough moisture to take root.

It may not seem like it, but needles are leaves. They do the same job that broad leaves do—capture sunlight, “inhale” carbon dioxide, and “exhale” oxygen—providing the tree with food and air for us to breath. Instead of shedding every fall, though, needles can last three or four years!

Conifers in many ways are more primitive than flowering, broad-leafed trees that evolved more recently. But their needles still offer some nifty advantages over leaves—especially in tough climates or soil conditions:

  • Needles have a thick, waxy coating that retains more water than a regular leaf.
  • Since needles don’t shed each fall they can capture sunlight for nearly the entire year.
  • Needles can survive ice and snow.
  • Needles have lower wind resistance than big, flat leaves, so they’re less likely to make the tree fall over during a big storm.
  • Needles are tough for insects to eat.
Ice needles FlickrBrendaWiley Why do some trees have needles?

Instead of shedding each fall like other leaves, needles can last three or four years.
Photo: Flickr CC / Brenda Wiley

Today a host of conifers like Douglas fir, Ponderosa Pine, and Western red cedar can thrive in our neighborhoods and green spaces, especially if they’re given enough space to grow and enough water (even in our climate) during the first few summers.






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.