Growth Rings

You CAN do something

Posted on November 27, 2017 at 11:56 am

Wildfires, hurricanes, floods and landslides. Climate change is driving up temperatures and increasing the occurrence and severity of “natural” disasters. It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of all this. It’s all so overwhelming it’s hard to imagine what you or I can do that would really make a difference.

You CAN do something: You can plant trees. You can support our work planting trees. Trees fight climate change and Friends of Trees plants 50,000+ trees and native shrubs every year throughout Western Oregon and Southwest Washington. Thanks to generous support from friends like you we’ve planted 700,000 trees and native shrubs in neighborhoods and natural areas over the past 28 years. We need your help to keep planting trees and to plant more trees. Trees cool our planet and fight climate change, and we need trees now more than ever.

You can do something.

Donate here to support our work planting trees.

Learn more about volunteering to plant trees here.

Thank you.

Greening roadways, increasing livability: October Treemail

Posted on November 13, 2017 at 11:59 am

Check out the latest Treemail, Friends of Trees’ e-news! In the October edition you will read about:

  • How Friends of Trees-Eugene is using trees to buffer a local neighborhood from a rail yard
  • What our Eugene office is up to and how our friends in Lane County can get involved
  • Other ways to get involved with trees + community, including visiting our info table on Nov 19 at Union/Pine for Well-Kept, a Celebration of Stewardship, part of our Give!Guide activities (PS: donate to Friends of Trees via Give!Guide and receive a delicious thank you)

Happily engaged with Friends of Trees

Posted on August 11, 2017 at 9:43 am

By Jana Woerner, DukeEngage Intern

Jana the fearless GS warrior

Hello fellow tree enthusiasts! My name is Jana, and I’m the current DukeEngage intern at Friends of Trees (for those of you who may be unfamiliar with DukeEngage, it is a civic engagement program that allows 300+ Duke students to serve communities across the world in a meaningful way). Through my position at Friends of Trees, I have the opportunity to work with both the Neighborhood Trees and the Green Space program. Although summer falls outside of the planting season, both programs have been busy with checking in on prior planting sites and preparing for the upcoming planting season! Whereas a lot of my friends have complained about the endless boredom they face at their current summer internships, my summer at Friends of Trees has flown by (I’m still in denial that it will be over in two short weeks!). However, before I have to say “good-bye” (or hopefully, “see you later”) to this amazing organization, I thought I’d share some things that I learned from my time here:


  • Trees are actually really cool


Not only do they provide shade on hot summer days (get it? trees are literally cool), but they also reduce pollutants from nearby highways, prevent river contamination, and reduce crime. Most importantly, they play a significant role in combating climate change. In addition, some types of trees are just inherently amazing – whether it’s a funky branching pattern, deciduous leaves on conifers, or an interesting historical anecdote. For example, the dawn redwood found in Portland’s very own Hoyt Arboretum is the first dawn redwood to bear cones outside of China in the last 60 million or so years. That’s pretty cool if you ask me!


  • Mulch donuts aren’t as fun as actual donuts


The Neighborhood Trees and the Green Space programs both use mulch to retain soil moisture and limit competition, which gives newly planted trees and shrubs a better chance of thriving. To ensure that the mulch benefits these trees (rather than suffocating/drowning their roots), Friends of Trees follows a 3-3-3 (3 feet wide, 3 inches tall, and 3 inches away from the trunk) rule, which basically results in a “mulch donut.” If you made it through this paragraph without clicking on a new tab out of boredom, you probably came to the same conclusion as me: mulch donuts are helpful, but real donuts are more exciting 🙂

  • Blackberries are the perfect snack, but also the perfect weed


While we’re on the topic of food, I thought it’d be appropriate to mention blackberries. A huge part of the maintenance projects with the Green Space program involves the removal of invasive species, especially pesky Himalayan blackberries. Although these provide a healthy snack on long, hot days in the field, their thorns are magically attracted to my fieldwork clothes. In addition, their thick stems make these plants even harder to remove. Nonetheless, I always get in a nice workout with the weed-whacker during my Green Space days.


  • Driving a pick-up isn’t that bad, but rush hour traffic is


On my last “sick and dying route”, one of my supervisors told me it was finally time for me to spread my wings and fly: it was time to drive one of the pick-up trucks. This may not seem like a noteworthy experience to you, but the biggest car I’ve driven so far is a Ford Focus (which is pretty tiny). Although everything went relatively smoothly, our horrible navigation skills resulted in roughly 30-40 U-turns in the span of two to three hours. Needless to say, I’m 99% confident that I can turn a truck around anywhere now. Nonetheless, rush hour (or should I say hours?) in Portland is crazy – there has been many a time where I have spent an hour or so in traffic daydreaming about my shower on the way back from Green Space field days.


  • People make this place


Last, but definitely not least, people matter. A lot. Friends of Trees wouldn’t be able to do any of their amazing work without the help of hundreds of volunteers each year – from tree planting to office support, it’s incredible to witness the impact that these community members have (to any volunteers reading this, thank you (!!!) for making Portland the amazing, green city that it is!). In addition, my summer would not have been half as good as it was without the people who work for Friends of Trees. From long (but fun) days in the field to staff retreats to happy hours, thank you for making this an incredible summer internship!

Hey! Join our Neighborhood Coordinator crew for the 2017-2018 planting season

Posted on August 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm

by Pablo Brito

“As an NC, you are the face of Friends of Trees in your neighborhood. I like that I can help neighbors answer tree questions or connect them to a staff person at Friends of Trees who can.”

                   –Martha W., SE Portland Neighborhood Coordinator, full interview HERE

North Portland NC team

What is a Neighborhood Coordinator? Well a Neighborhood Coordinator, or NC for short, is a role where an individual contributes to getting more trees planted in their own neighborhood. As the new Volunteer & Outreach Specialist, I was able to dive in and read a few pieces of literature that Friends of Trees has provided me with. Multiple questions and a lot of going back and forth in my mind brought me to this blog post.  Where are our needs and what does a NC do? from a volunteer coordinators perspective:


  • NCs are needed in neighborhoods where we plant neighborhood trees: all ‘hoods in Vancouver, WA and N, NE, SE, E Portland;
  • Brings neighbors together to meet one another, learn about our urban forest, and helps them to plant or volunteer in some way;
  • Involve local businesses through volunteering, raising money, or in-kind donations to support the annual neighborhood planting;
  • Engage community groups, schools and organizations to come out and get involved directly in their communities

Together, NCs and Friends of Trees staff guidance our neighborhood plantings from start to finish. Fear not interested volunteers; you will be trained and supported throughout the planting that you will be coordinating!  Together with staff, you will:

  • Help coordinate one neighborhood planting per year;
  • Respond to homeowner inquiries by email & phone;
  • Make phone calls to homeowners that have not ordered their tree(s);
  • Solicit pick-up trucks from neighbors;
  • Recruit additional volunteers (Takes quite a bit of volunteers for one planting);
  • Solicit food/monetary donations from the community for breakfast/lunch;
  • Set up/coordinate breakfast & lunch for the volunteers on planting day

You’re interested?  Awesome!  How can you get involved? Well just sign up HERE, and we will follow up with logistics on what to expect for the NC training.

We leave you with a final quotes to hopefully feel inspired to become an NC yourself:

“The Neighborhood Coordinator role is a great one because it means interacting with the Friends of Trees staff, local businesses that want to support their efforts, the neighbors looking to plant trees, and the many volunteers that just want to help.  The functions of the role are really diverse, from helping people choose and get the right trees in the right place, to helping organize the actual planting events and getting volunteers fueled and fed on planting day.  As someone who is involved with several other community initiatives, it is a great way to interact with a broad spectrum of folks that I might not otherwise have to opportunity to.  It’s a great way of getting to know what is going on in the area and what people’s perceptions and aspirations are. The Friends of Trees’ staff is extremely knowledgeable and does a really great job of getting Neighborhood Coordinators up to speed and making it all really easy.”

                   —Chris M., E Portland Neighborhood Coordinator, full interview HERE

Thanks for reading!  Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me or Jenny in our Volunteer & Outreach Program if you have any questions or would like further information: // // Volunteer Line: 503-595-0213.


Pablo is the Volunteer & Outreach Specialist with Friends of Trees