Friends of Trees inspires people to improve the world around them through a simple solution: Planting Trees. Together.
We need trees more than ever. Heatwaves, flooding, and all of the increasingly catastrophic effects of climate change make it clear that every day needs to be the day for climate action.
Friends of Trees has planted more than 870,000 trees and native shrubs in 120+ neighborhoods in six counties across two states. We’ve done this through engaging tens of thousands of community members, and while implementing and growing programming that aims to do this work inclusively and equitably.
It is widely acknowledged that planting trees is a key part of a comprehensive climate strategy. It is our experience at Friends of Trees that planting trees with community members is also key to fighting climate change. Planting and caring for trees increases community members’ engagement with the environment and overall participation in civic life, including engaging around climate action. There is a ripple effect from volunteering to plant trees that also fights climate change, beyond the actual trees.
Friends of Trees was founded in 1989 by Portland resident Richard Seidman. Inspired by a national Global ReLeaf program, Richard wanted to create an organization that both helped the environment and brought people together through the act of planting trees in Portland neighborhoods and natural areas. Today, Friends of Trees is a nationally recognized, regional leader in improving the urban tree canopy and restoring sensitive natural areas—through programs delivered by thousands of volunteers.
Whether it’s growing the urban canopy through planting street and yard trees, or restoring sensitive natural areas through planting native trees and shrubs, there is no doubt that the trees planted by Friends of Trees play a vital role our region’s livability. Given rising temperatures and all that we know about the cooling and cleansing effects of trees, it’s easy to see how our work improves our natural environment and fights climate change. But what’s really something else is the people-power: the trees we plant are actually planted by thousands of volunteers every season. Friends of Trees greens our region while growing community.
What We Do
Neighborhood Trees Program: Planting street and yard trees
Get a tree of your very own! We organize the planting event, deliver the trees, dig the holes, and make it affordable for all homeowners. Street and yard trees are just $35 each, and if affordability is a barrier the tree is no cost thanks to our donation-funded tree scholarship fund.
We offer an incredible selection of city-approved trees, sourced from almost a dozen local wholesale tree farms. You’ll receive an 6-foot tall tree, delivery, hole digging, planting assistance from neighborhood volunteers, mulch, stakes, and follow-up maintenance checks and tree care tips.
Tree planting volunteers simply sign up, show up dressed for the weather, and get to know the neighbors while greening the neighborhood.
We plant neighborhood trees in Portland, Gresham, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Salem, Wilsonville, Eugene and Springfield in Oregon, and in Vancouver and Clark County, Washington. If a planting is scheduled in your neighborhood, you can sign up to see a list of street trees or trees for your yard. You’re never obligated to reserve or plant any trees, signing up just makes it possible for us to send you a list of recommended trees and help you get started when you’re ready.
From the edge of the Columbia Gorge to the farmlands of Washington County, and up and down the Willamette Valley, our Green Space Program restores natural areas, increases habitat, improves watershed health, and plants trees in large quantities (about 1,000-2,000 native trees and shrubs per planting!). When mature, these trees will create significant improvements to our region’s air and water quality.
Our Green Space Program hosts more than 70 events annually in 12+ cities. We enjoy partnerships with a variety of groups and municipalities, including Clean Water Services, Metro, East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, Sandy River Watershed Council, City of Salem, and many more.
Volunteering for a Green Space planting is a great way to explore some of our region’s natural areas while contributing to watershed health and habitat restoration. It’s also a great opportunity for groups to volunteer together. Interested? Check out the Green Space Planting Calendar (Green Space plantings are in green) and then visit our Group Registration Form. See you out there!
Tree Care & Maintenance
We water. We prune. We mulch. We visit and assess. We want all of our trees to survive and thrive, so we spend the summer months caring for the trees we plant.
Did we mention we prune? We prune more than 1,500 street trees every season, which is vital toward proper growth and really helps them survive wind, snow and ice storms.
Volunteers help with this! We train volunteers to inspect and prune trees, and volunteers are crucial to effectively mulching thousands of new trees at tree care events.
Pruning trees contributes to a more equitable community. Or, more accurately, pruning trees at no cost contributes to a more equitable, livable community. Friends of Trees provides proper pruning of young trees at no cost to the property owner to help make trees more affordable; we will prune any young street tree, not just the ones we plant. Learn more about tree care and equity here.
We visit our newly planted neighborhood street trees twice during their first summers, and we monitor our natural area trees for 10 years. All told, we care for and monitor more than 54,000 trees a year!
Engaging Community Volunteers
We bring people together. Inspiring our community members to plant, care for, and learn about trees is key to our mission. We welcome individuals, families, and businesses throughout western Oregon and SW Washington to help restore and beautify our region.
Volunteering for a Saturday morning tree-planting is a great way to give back to the community and make a difference in a few short hours! Groups of all sizes are welcome (companies, schools, churches, birthday parties, scouts, etc).
Friends of Trees recognizes that not everyone has equal access to the benefits of trees. As we work to remedy that, we strive to be a welcoming and safe place for everyone, regardless of age, ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political views, or economic status. Without our volunteers, we are nothing. But together, we do amazing things.
We are always looking for more people to get involved with this work! Please visit our Volunteer Page for the most up-to-date volunteer opportunities. We hope to meet you soon!
Education & Job Training
Friends of Trees’ youth educational programming actively and meaningfully connects K-12 students with nature while providing hands-on experience with environmental work. We offer a classroom-based curriculum combined with field work; internships and training programs that involve field work, job training and skills development; and the opportunity to directly volunteer at educational, safe, welcoming and inclusive community tree planting events.
Adult education and job training is the focus of our Adult Urban Forestry Workforce Training Program, a 12 week paid training program focusing on connecting underserved communities with urban forestry training and job opportunities. Started in 2018, this program includes paid internships with Friends of Trees and other urban forestry agencies and organizations.
Friends of Trees recognizes that not everyone has equal access to the benefits of trees and healthy urban green spaces, and our education work prioritizes increasing underserved communities’ access to, and connection with, the environment. Learn more about our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
Partnerships are key to our work, especially in our educational and job training programs. Read about some of our partnerships here.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Friends of Trees will always strive to be a welcoming and safe place for everyone, regardless of age, ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, political views or economic status. Without our volunteers, we are nothing. But together we do amazing things. Shared at the beginning of Friends of Trees public planting events
Friends of Trees recognizes that not everyone has equal access to the benefit of trees. As a community driven organization we foster an atmosphere of inclusion and support, and we strive to build places that are safer and healthy for all. We accomplish this through authentic community conversation; unique partnerships; relevant programming; and attracting and retaining diverse staff and supporters.
Friends of Trees’ Equity and Diversity Inclusion Committee is a standing committee comprised of board and staff who recommend readings and workshops, organize trainings, and review our programs and materials through an equity lens. Learn more about our commitment to equity, diversity & inclusion
How do we do it?
Our work is possible with volunteer support and financial contributions from local municipalities, businesses, and individuals like you. Be a friend of the trees and donate today!
Impact Reports — a snapshot of planting season: