Beneath the Bark

Fun Facts, Tree Team Tidbits and Staff Secrets

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Kathy Armstrong (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
As the Development & Communications Director, I spread the good word about trees + community in a variety of ways for a variety of audiences. I also provide the community with different options to donate to Friends of Trees, so we can continue and grow this unparalleled programming that greens our region and grows community.

What is your favorite pastime?
Gardening; relaxing in warm sunny locations next to or on a lovely body of water with friends and family.

What is your favorite tree?
Currently my favorite tree is the fig tree that is fruiting so incredibly in my front yard right now (I think it’s an Italian honey fig, but it’s from a plant swap so, really, who knows?). Not only do I LOVE the fruit, I love that it’s so easy to carve out the shoots to grow new fig trees; this is how I got this tree and so far this tree has provided 4 new fig trees for friends.

If you could teach one class what would it be?
How to make pesto –  it’s easy to get creative and it’s always delicious!

Carey

Carey Aroonsuck (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
My days are filled with a lovely cocktail of volunteer communication, @salesforceorg database mgmt & reporting, operations administration, and giving each office dog plenty of attention. I’ve been here since 2015 and no two days have been the same!

What is your favorite pastime?
I grew up playing sports and being crafty, so anytime I can rev-up my body or mind–be it a tough workout or complex sewing project–it always rejuvenates me.

Do you have a planting secret?
If you’re lazy with your tree planting fashion like me, try to snag a pair of rain pants and boots you can leave in your car. I hose these down as-needed instead of having to rinse/wash them in a separate wash cycle each time I use them! Anyone who shares your washing machine will thank you, too.

If you could teach one class what would it be?
After working myself out of a mountain of debt, I would love to pass along my lessons-learned in a money mgmt class that caters to the individual’s lifestyle–nurturing a positive relationship with money that supports their wildest goals.

Jenny's Tree! — with Jenny Bedell-Stiles.

Jenny Bedell-Stiles (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I’m the Volunteer & Outreach Manager. I started volunteering with Friends of Trees in elementary school and have been on staff for 8 years now! (you know what they say about time flying…). I spend my time on volunteer recruitment and retention, which in brief means lots of communication connecting volunteers with the needs of our planting programs. FOT’s maitre d’ of volunteer opportunities, at your service!

What is your favorite pastime?
Sunshine, reading, wild food foraging, sleeping in my tent as many nights of the year as I can, and gardening with my cat.

What is your favorite icebreaker?
What’s your favorite smell?

What’s your favorite tree?
Pacific Yew

What is your favorite FOT potluck dish?
Sochetra’s lemon bars.

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Ian Bonham (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
My favorite bits are getting to plan and implement some really fun neighborhood tree planting projects with volunteers and organizing our door-to-door efforts with an incredible outreach team who actually show folks where they have room to plant trees at their homes. And hey, I even get to plant a tree every now and then.

What is your favorite pastime?
I feel like I’m at summer camp every time July comes in Oregon. I’m fortunate to have means to get out to nature and do plenty of river dipping and forest bathing.

What is your favorite tree?
It changes a lot, but I always come back to the Ponderosa Pine. I love those long needles, the sunlight through the branches, and that amazingly beautiful vanilla scented puzzle bark. I also just love hanging out with it on the dry side of the Cascades — where I appreciate how that thick bark can usually protect it from forest fires, often surviving to help the forests regrow. What an amazing example of adaptation!

If you could teach one class what would it be?
I’m a big fan of summer camp arts and crafts and love a good hanging plant but I have a pretty short attention span. So, “Let’s make a macrame plant hanger in 30 minutes!” is my class.

 

Pablo

Pablo Brito (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
Volunteer and Outreach Specialist, I support the two planting programs at Friends of Trees by helping recruit volunteers tree planters and crew leaders via multiple avenues like email, over the phone, online postings, community outreach events, and other fun ways.

What is your favorite pastime?
It use to be playing a fun card game called Dragon Ball Super, it has many aspects of other well known card games like Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh all in one! I also enjoy Running, Lifting Weights, and being active.

If you could teach one class what would it be?
It falls under the Chicano Latino course work in academia. Latino/X/@s in the Pacific NW. This course will highlight Latino leaders in the Pacific NW from the early 2000s and will touch on folks who have been key in helping with initiatives, the arts, culinary cuisine, and politics.

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Kassy Delgado (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I’m the SW Washington Neighborhood Trees Specialist. I organize plantings throughout planting season specifically in Vancouver.

What is your favorite pastime?
I love hiking and exploring new areas outdoors. I also enjoy climbing, car camping and going on road trips. Favorite way to relax is by playing on swings in my neighborhood park and petting really furry dogs.

What is your favorite FOT potluck dish?
I love curries. At plantings I like to put a little bit of every type curry into my bowl so I can have a small taste of them all. Every treecipient always makes it differently and they are always so delicious.

If you could teach a class what would it be?
A wilderness survival class!

Whitney

Whitney Dorer (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I’m the Interim Executive Director, I do anything from ordering thermometers for staff from amazon to reviewing invoices to ensuring our board is engaged and up to speed on program accomplishments and goals.

What is your favorite pastime?
Gardening with Amy, Oliver, and Opal!

What’s your favorite tree?
Hands down favorite tree right now is the Dawn Redwood – incredible bark – beautiful light green needles in the spring, deciduous conifer that is also our state fossil!

If you could teach one class what would it be?
Using recyclables for kids arts/ building projects!

Hanna

Hanna Dornhofer (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I plan, prep, & lead volunteer restoration planting events, which includes everything from choosing species, ordering plants, coordinating volunteers, carrying tools, and most importantly telling volunteers what to do ;). I also teach environmental topics to students and get them exposed to nature.

What is your favorite pastime?
Cutting & arranging flower bouquets

What is your favorite tree?
My current favorite tree is the saucer magnolia – the flowers are stunning. But I love any tree native to the rainforests of the PNW, where I spend much of my time.

If you could teach a class what would it be?
The weeds around you – uses and benefits to humans and wildlife (Or, Don’t pull that weed!)

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Sam Erman (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I’m the Corporate & Business Relations Specialist. I help businesses give back to the community through mutually beneficial partnerships.

What is your favorite pastime?
Riding bicycles in the sunshine!

What is your favorite FOT potluck recipe?
Zesty hummus:
2 cans of garbanzo beans
half a lemon
2 garlic cloves
healthy amount of olive oil
salt to taste
optional: 1 pinch of za’atar for topping

Combine in blender, blend, add more olive oil for smoother consistency and lemon to taste. Once plated scoop top, fill with 2 tbs of olive oil and sprinkle top with za’atar

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Mary Harrell (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
Office Manager. I work in a supporting role with staff on day-to-day tasks. I try to keep a handle on our financial operations and I do manage to get payroll in on time.

What is your favorite pastime?
Outdoor activities, especially gardening. Cooking and music (all variety).

What is your favorite tree?
The almighty Ginkgo Tree, also known as the oldest tree on earth. You know it for its beauty but the female is known to be stinky (you go girl !). Being over 200 million years old, I’d say it’s also known for its resilience. The Ginkgo is a pollution-tolerant tree so it makes for a good street tree.

If you could teach one class what would it be?
I be cooking!

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Manuel Ku (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I’m a Field Tech so I plant trees, prune trees, water the trees and I also line the trees.

What is your favorite pastime?
Outside of Friends of Trees I like to fix stuff around my place, spend time with my family and friends, and in the afternoons I always run with my wife while she walks with my dog.

What is your favorite tree?
My favorite tree is oak tree because it’s big and lasts longer than 100 years.

If you could teach one class what would it be?
If I could teach a class it would be to teach how to plant trees.

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Andrew Land (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
As a Neighborhood Trees Specialist I help coordinate volunteer planting events, ensure homeowners get the right tree for their space, and train our volunteer pruning leaders.

What is your favorite pastime?
Carpentry, gardening, music, basketball, cooking (eating)

What is your favorite tree?
My favorite tree is generally the willow oak, though I love O.W.O.s, pacific madrones, dawn redwoods, bald cypresses, and among the exotics the Antarctic beech and Chinese fig hazel are way up there these days.

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Logan Lauvray (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
Green Space Program Manager – involved with all aspects of the GS program from working with project partners on site selction, to pursuing funding for the program, to leading volunteer events with our amazing crew leaders and other volunteers at natural areas and urban parks throughout the Portland and Salem metro areas.

What is your favorite pastime?
Playing in the outdoors – anything from gardening in my yard, walking around my neighborhood, or hiking with my husband in the woods.

What is your favorite tree?
My favorite tree is the Bigleaf Maple. I love to see the young saplings bending over from the weight of their awkwardly large trees on their relatively small branches and stems. And such a great wildlife tree too!

If you could teach one class what would it be?
Winter twig ID of native trees and shrubs of the Willamette Valley.

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Harrison Layer (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I organize and lead volunteer plantings and work closely with project partners at Portland Opportunities & Industrialization Center and Rosemary Anderson High School (POIC/RAHS) in providing leadership training and job skills development in the natural resources field. I also work a great deal in Washington County, working with project partners at Clean Water Services; focusing on leading youth water quality field trips as well as planning & implementing restoration projects on public and private properties along creeks and rivers.

What is your favorite pastime?
I particularly enjoy making people laugh, eating lettuce & tomato sandwiches, reading about public transit projects in the making, listening to old time folk tunes, learning about river ecology, and watching feminist film.

What is your favorite tree?
One of my favorite trees is American Beech or Fagus grandiflora- for its smooth bark, cool beech nuts, and high canopy. Another favorite is the Western Larch or Larix occidentalis, for its deciduous foliage (it is a deciduous conifer) that turns bright yellow in the fall. If you want to see them en masse, check out the Wallowas in late September- early October!

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Surabhi Mahajan (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
As the EDI Specialist, I get to work on workplace equity as well as community outreach and environmental justice principles. This is a unique position and more and more folks are paying attention to equity, diversity and inclusion as it relates to climate change and racial justice. My job is exciting because I get to take my passion for social justice with my education in biology and botany. I help provide training to staff and volunteers, work with our CBO partners, and lead our workforce development training program. It’s a myriad of responsibilities and hopefully paving the way for other equity work in the community.

What is your favorite pastime?
Reading, knitting, farming, eating, bike riding, and walking to New Seasons with friends when we’re all in the office working together.

What is your favorite tree?
My favorite trees are the Giant Sequoias. I went to Willamette University and there’s a tradition to call them the “Star Trees” because five of them were planted in such a way that their canopy created a star shape.

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Adam Marx (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I am one of the Field Techs for NT, so I dig holes, install root barriers, water, mulch, and prune trees, and help at our planting events. When I am not in the field, I work with Friends of Trees maps and data.

What is your favorite pastime?
I like gardening, running, backpacking, cat appreciating, and games of all kinds, from video games to board games to D&D.

What is your favorite tree?
My favorite tree is the fig. It loves Portland’s mild wet winters and dry hot-enough summers. It is attractive, drought tolerant, pest and disease resistant, forgiving of inexpert pruning, and produces abundant delicious fruit. It is even easy to rake its big leaves in the fall. It is the perfect tree for lazy people like me.

If you could teach one class what would it be?
I don’t know if anyone would take it, but I would happily teach a silence appreciation class.

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Haley Miller (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
Neighborhood Trees Senior Specialist – organize plantings throughout planting season and help to facilitate our summer tree inspector program

What is your favorite pastime?
Running on the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park!

Do you have any planting secrets?
Tree planting secret: when loosening up a root ball from a container stock tree: remove excess soil, mulch, etc over an extra piece of burlap. Makes for easier clean-up!

If you could teach one class what would it be?
Cooking with seasonal fresh produce / how to use you all your freshly harvested food from your garden and CSA share before your next harvest

Nanda

Nanda Ramos (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
Shared Field Technician working with both Green Space and Neighborhood Trees programs. Majority of my job is field work. Which includes: nursery pickups, helping out with planting events, pruning, watering, summer maintenance, installing root barriers, hole digging and anything and everything else that needs help getting done!

What is your favorite pastime?
Seeing live music, hiking, taking pictures of pretty plants and animals, eating Chimichangas.

What is your favorite tree?
Pacific Madrone

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Tyler Rise (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
As the Development Specialist I do a lot of donor communication, Salesforce database management and reporting, and help manage our Gift Tree program.

What is your favorite pastime?
Spending time in nature or trying new recipes in the kitchen!

What is your favorite tree?
My current favorite tree is the Black Walnut tree.

If you could teach one class what would it be?
Self defense, it’s fun and empowering!

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Gustavo Rojas (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I communicate with all who contact us. Hopefully I can assit them with their questions. I also manage our fleet of vehicles who do require lots of TLCs

What is your favorite pastime?
Walks in nature with not a thought in mind.

What is your favorite tree?
Ponderosa Pine! Quite a beautiful tree. Was very excited to work with the middle-schoolers of Mt Tabor in planting one on their field which is really looking great now.

Rudy

Rudy R. Roquemore II (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I organize and assist with neighborhood plantings in Portland and Beaverton, manage BES contract that funds all of our Portland-based NT work, help lead and facilitate partnerships with CBO’s, and am a member of our EDI committee.

What is your favorite pastime?
Playing music, basketball, and exploring nature.

Do you have a tree planting tip?
Learned this from our coworker Manuel…when dealing with container trees, its much easier to roll the tree along the circumference of the bottom of the pot rather than picking the whole thing up!

If you could teach one class what would it be?
Teaching youth about budgeting and saving money in a practical way. Informal and meant to be easily digested to limit fear and maximize impact.

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Max Showers (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I manage volunteer restoration events, select plants, organize volunteers, manage summer maintenance crews, coordinate environmental education field trips, and work with a class at Chemawa Indian School to restore areas on their campus, enhance ecological knowledge, and develop job skills in the natural resources field.

What is your favorite pastime?
Mountain biking/ bikepacking!

What is your favorite tree?
Ponderosa Pine!

Erica

Erica Timm (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
Neighborhood Trees Manager – supporting all things NT: collaborating with team members, supporting events and trainings, meeting with partners, coordinating around scheduling, and so on. 🙂

What is your favorite pastime?
Hiking, dreaming about future travel adventures, hanging out with our newest addition – Cypress and reading.

What’s your favorite FOT potluck dish?
There was a peanut butter curry soup from the Concordia planting a few years ago that was amazing – I still hope it makes it’s return each year at that planting. My favorite tree changes by the day/season, but right now I’m loving the Pacific Madrone. I planted one in my yard a few years ago and it’s really taken off and the exfoliating bark is starting to get show

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Litzy Venturi (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I coordinate plantings, help facilitate the Summer Inspector program and crunch monitoring data from summer inspections, coordinate pruning events, train new Crew Leaders, and am a member of our EDI Commitee. Having started as a volunteer crew leader and gone on to be a FOT canvasser before coming on as full time, I have greatly enjoyed my 81/2 years with FOT!

What is your favorite pastime?
I like to exercise with my dog, observe trees and shrubs, read about plants and birds, visit the ocean or the redwoods, talk to my family, draw, ride my bike, and outdoor skate.

If you could teach one class what would it be?
I would teach interpretive dances based on how different birds forage.

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Michelle Yasutake (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I’m Neighborhood Trees Specialist. I organize plantings throughout planting season and help to facilitate our summer tree inspector program.

What is your favorite pastime?
River-ing, birding, gardening, enjoying all things outdoors in the sunshine.

What is your favorite FOT potluck dish?
Crockpot Steel cut Oats! Pop it in the slow cooker before bed, and wake up to a hearty, healthy breakfast that will feed a crowd. A great alternative to the pastries and bagels. Plus it’s vegan and GF!

If you could teach one class what would it be?
Campfire cooking!

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Erik Burke (He/Him)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
I’m the Eugene director so I do a little bit of everything; fundraising, planting, pruning, planning, answering phones, communication, education.

What is your favorite pastime?
Gardening, hiking, working on forestland.

What’s your favorite tree?
I love west coast native sclerophyllous trees like madrone, chinkapin, OR myrtle, live oaks, toyon and others. Madrone is my favorite. Love to see them in full bloom in late April around our city.

If you could teach one class what would it be?
I would teach a class on traditional and modern uses of city plants and animals.

Taylor

Taylor Glass (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
Manage our office’s volunteer and outreach program, dev work, site inspections, data entry, planting, tree maintenance, watering, office/admin upkeep, social media, internships, and the list goes on~

What is your favorite pastime?
Baking, art, crafting, making music playlists, gardening, board games, D&D

What’s your favorite tree?
One of my favorite Oregon native trees is Taxus brevifolia, or Pacific yew! It’s a beautiful evergreen conifer that is usually covered in lichen and moss.

If you could teach one class what would it be?
Art in the outdoors (at a park, on a hike, etc) – with a focus on environmental art, mixed media, & utilizing found items in nature

Becca

Becca Snowdale (She/Her)

What do you do at Friends of Trees?
Mostly field work, but I do dabble in social media, data entry, and outreach & education. I take care of nursery pickups (usually with Jeff), planting, pruning, a portion of our summer watering obligations, summer tree care (mulching, fixing stakes, etc.), tree issues, site inspections, opt out scouting, and occasionally some tabling and presentations.

What is your favorite pastime?
Climbing trees, foraging, cooking, lifting weights, rubbing Vera’s big furry tummy.

What’s your favorite ice breaker?
What’s your favorite cereal?

If you could teach one class what would it be?
I’d love to teach a class on identifying, harvesting, and processing foods that come from trees in the urban forest and their natural and cultural histories.