Friends of Trees

August 2021: An update about our Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnership | Get to know APANO

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Engaging community to take climate action

An update about our Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnership

We know that trees fight climate change. And here at Friends of Trees our experience partnering with thousands of community members tells us that the volunteer experience also helps fight climate change – because folks who volunteer to plant and care for trees often go on to become involved with other environmental issues, including taking climate action.

We’re excited to share that through our partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, APANO (Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon), Portland State University’s Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, OHSU-PSU Joint School of Public Health, and Willamette Partnership, we should soon have quantitative and additional qualitative data to support this.

This project recognizes that “where one lives or works, one’s age, if one has pre-existing health conditions or chronic illnesses, and race or income all impacts how and how much climate change harms health.” Friends of Trees’ efforts over the past 20+ years of planting in east Portland and other low-canopy, underserved neighborhoods also recognizes this, and this partnership takes these efforts to the next level, especially around community involvement.

“Engaging with historically marginalized communities about where neighborhood change needs to happen and how it might happen are the first steps to ensuring an equitable urban forestry program.”

Dr. Vivek Shandas, PSU, School of Urban Studies

Friends of Trees East Portland tree planting event, November 2019.

“What’s really exciting about this project is the community advisory board, which isn’t something we usually have the resources to develop.” Michelle Yasutake, Friends of Trees Green Space Program Manager

Michelle’s project role involves a major project milestone, the formation of a community advisory board, facilitated by APANO, and comprised of people who live in, work in, or regularly engage with east Portland’s Jade District. Dr. Shandas is also a strong supporter of direct community involvement, “By integrating community voices with our technical know-how, this project is identifying ‘nature-based solutions’ in areas that have been neglected and disinvested by regional decision makers.”

Read More.

Get to Know: APANO

The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon operates under the principal we are stronger together

APANO’s Policy Director Richa Poudyal talks about APANO’s goals for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project:

Why is APANO involved in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project?

Within climate justice work, APANO is very interested in creating spaces and structure for place-based community organizing and advocacy. The RWJF project is such a special collaboration between Friends of Trees, PSU, and APANO; it’s collaborations like these that allow multiple organizations to contribute their respective strengths and power to support community members in achieving self determination around greening and localized climate justice work.

APANO is so grateful to be a part of this project and to bring a community organizing lens and approach to greening outer East Portland, and to work with Friends of Trees, which has the community connections, advocacy skills, and know-how around connecting to and planting trees as a part of a conservation and greening strategy. Read More.

photo: APANO + Friends of Trees east Portland planting event.

The Eugene Branch

Community engagement is key to greening Eugene’s low canopy neighborhoods

The Eugene Tree Team is implementing a new community-driven process to plant trees in the low-canopy neighborhoods of Bethel, Trainsong, and River Road in west Eugene: residents of these neighborhoods will directly reach out to their neighbors about the benefits of trees and how to plant one through Friends of Trees.

This new approach involves a variety of outreach methods to spread the word about getting trees, including neighborhood residents going door to door. The goal is getting as many trees as possible in a 4 to 10 square block area of the neighborhood; this concentrated approach measurably grows the canopy, while also reducing the use of cars and trucks since walking and biking planting routes will be so easy to implement. Read More

Would you like a tree of your own? Create a free, no obligation account to get started!

Photo: Friends of Trees planting in West Eugene.

Get Involved

Help us get ready for our 33rd season of planting and caring for trees!

We have training opportunities for key volunteer positions, no experience necessary:

Pruning training sessions – learn to prune!

  • Oregon City, 9/25, 9am-12pm: The training is designed for OC residents, but all are welcome
  • Wilsonville, 10/2, 9am-12pm: The training is designed for Wilsonville residents, but all are welcome

Remember back in February when the massive ice storm left so much tree destruction in its wake? Did you know that proper structural pruning when a tree is young is a tool you can use to help mitigate major tree failures from wind and ice storms? Train as a Friends of Trees pruner and help protect trees from ice storms and so much more.

Read more for training and registration details and COVID-19 protocols.

Photo: JC & Jimena, star pruners, training through our POIC partnership.

Crew Leader Training – lead teams of tree planters!

If you want to make a lasting, positive change in a fun and physical(ly-distanced) way and you don’t mind working in the mud and rain, then you might be ready to become a Friends of Trees Crew Leader!

Visit our Crew Leader training web page for online and in-person training options.

Space is limited, so register soon to hold your spot at one of these fun Fall trainings!

Photo: You can always spot a Friends of Trees Crew Leader through the impressive vest



Friends of Trees inspires people to improve the natural

world around them through a simple solution:

Planting Trees. Together.

(503) 282-8846: Portland office

(541) 632-3683: Eugene office

Learn more about how Friends of Trees greens our region + grows community through checking out other issues of Treemail here