Friends and colleagues of FOT Neighborhood Trees Specialist David Odom, who passed away a year ago today, gathered at the Columbia Children’s Arboretum in Portland yesterday to plant a grove of tupelos in his memory. Three Friends of Trees staff members spent many hours working with Portland Parks & Recreation to arrange the special planting of “Odom Woods,” which was made possible through generous donations to the David Odom Memorial Fund.
The new American Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), Chinese Tupelo (Nyssa sinensis), Forum Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica ‘Forum’) and Wildfire Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica ‘Wildfire’) are the first of five trees in the grove. Later this year, a new tupelo cultivar grown by J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co. and named after David, Nyssa sylvatica ‘David Odom’ AFTERBURNER (TM) Tupelo, will be planted as the centerpiece. A sign describing David Odom’s contributions to our community forest will also be installed at that time. The Nyssa species is especially known for its beautiful fall color, so the grove will brighten the arboretum each autumn, reflecting David’s vibrant spirit.
The Columbia Children’s Arboretum was one of David’s favorite places, and he often walked his dogs, Pepe and Frida, there. Both dogs joined the planters yesterday.
Neighborhood Trees and Green Space Initiative Senior Specialist Kris Day, who organized yesterday’s planting with Neighborhood Trees Senior Specialist Jesse Batty and former Individual Donor Relations Specialist Emma Gray (now Executive Director of Marathon Education Partners), said yesterday that planting the grove is “part of our work to improve the state tree collection” at the arboretum. It’s also a fitting way to honor David, who loved children and trees, and enjoyed teaching children about trees.
The above photos were taken at yesterday’s planting. This blog post, written by Emma Gray, describes the planning behind “Odom Woods.” You can also read more about David Odom and the difference he made in the many communities where he made friends and planted trees.