Meet Alyse, who just completed our Crew Leader Training along with 136 other volunteers—the class of 2013. Crew Leaders play an essential role guiding small teams of volunteers at each planting.
Why did you become a crew leader?
I recently returned to Portland from Eugene. My degree is in environmental science, so I wanted a chance to give back and contribute in my field. I went to a career fair and met Andy [Friends of Trees Volunteer and Outreach Manager]. He told me about the Crew Leader training and I was instantly intrigued. The training was the next day so I showed up!
What is your favorite part about planting trees?
It’s just a really great atmosphere. It takes a couple hours and you get a little muddy, but you’re reducing carbon and improving air quality, and you get to meet all these people who are also happy to be there.
What do you think would surprise people about plantings?
The sense of community that comes along with the plantings, it’s enormous. I had no idea! During training, we planted trees to beautify a movie theater parking lot in Vancouver. I thought maybe 30 people, that’s a great turnout. But the whole neighborhood came, hundreds of people. Cars were driving by, honking and waving. We had a great potluck. I was so excited by that that I signed up for a planting the next week in Beaverton.
What should people know about volunteering?
If you’re interested, just jump right in. It’s fun and it’s rewarding. If you’ve never volunteered before or been in a leadership role, don’t worry. The training gives you everything you need, and everyone is so friendly.
What’s your favorite tree memory?
I grew up with my grandma and my mom with a massive cherry tree in our backyard. My grandma used the cherries for pies. I always wanted to go to the top of that tree because it was huge, but my mom didn’t want me to. It was my favorite thing to do outside.
A tree is kind of a big deal because…
They give us air to breathe. And because they give us something to climb!