Building a core of volunteers in Lane County
Over the years the Eugene Tree Team has worked to build a core of neighborhood volunteers, folks in different neighborhoods who help secure staging sites for planting events, who can help get food donations, who help neighbors select trees, and most importantly, reach out to residents to find locations where neighbors want trees (yep, just like the Neighborhood Coordinators of the Portland office!). We have some incredible volunteers who have been key to community tree planting in Eugene, and we’re working on identifying active volunteers in Springfield, too, and in as many of the neighborhoods we work in as possible.
Why does this matter? Neighbors talking to neighbors is one of the best ways to spread the good word about trees, and leads to getting more trees planted. It’s also incredibly helpful to have an ongoing local group who can help with the same event every year.
So here’s what we’re trying: We’re working with neighborhood groups, both the more formal neighborhood associations along with more informal groups of neighbors. We’re connecting groups and residents in different neighborhoods and helping volunteers focus on their specific interests and letting those interests lead the way, and we’ll work to find the intersection between those interests and FOTE’s planting event needs. We also know that some volunteers have resources other than time available to them, and we’ll incorporate that, too.
Eugene Director Erik shares a great example of the intersection of interest + resources + need,
“Jon is really into getting trees into Springfield neighborhoods that need them. He is an owner of a local building and design company, where he is lead for landscape work. Jon not only volunteers to plant trees, he helps water trees near his family’s home with his wife and their two kids (hauling water in a little red wagon :), and his business also helps with post-planting tree care through watering about 35 trees in Springfield and 70 more in west Eugene every summer for tree recipients who need that assistance.”
Here’s Jon on why he volunteers – and, specifically, why he volunteers to water trees,
“Nothing in my life lifts the anxiety, stress and guilt of our current climate crises like watering a young tree. It may be a small tree and it does take time and energy, but if we all participate in this act during our summer months, the anxiety, stress and guilt just might transform into something wonderful. Like pride, safety, and happiness.”
Be like John! Contact the Eugene Tree Team and let us know about your skills + interests (+ resources if you have access to any!) and we’ll work on connecting you with a volunteer role that helps plant trees + grow community in the Eugene-Springfield area. We need Saturday tree planting volunteers too! Check out our event calendar and come join us this season!