Celebrating the Planting Season & Volunteer Awards

GSI Crew Leaders of the Year!
GSI Crew Leaders of the Year: The McBride/Waibel family celebrates with GSI staff (photo by Lucia DeLisa)

By Ian Bonham

On Sunday, April 27th, Friends of Trees volunteer leaders and staff came together at the FOT house for our annual end-of-season Volunteer Awards celebration. FOT staff joined our most dedicated volunteers to celebrate a very successful season of planting together.

Crew Leaders, Neighborhood Coordinators, Office Volunteers and planters shared a smorgasbord of tasty snacks and beverages, as well as a donated keg from Deschutes Brewery and gluten-free goodness from Harvester Brewing. The McBride/Waibel (aka ‘McWaibel’) family demonstrated the art of axe-throwing, and there were many games of four-square along with some rounds of bucket-wrangling and even a Voodoo Donut-eating competition. Generous donations from REIKIND, and KEEN were raffled off to lucky volunteers.

Amidst all the fun and dramatic turns in the weather we had the opportunity to honor our most dedicated volunteers who have gone above and beyond to make Friends of Trees so successful. The following 2013-14 Volunteer Awards were awarded to those who deserve our sincere gratitude and deepest appreciation for their dedicated efforts:

Volunteer of the Year — Don Crossley
Hon. Mention: Aaron Bivens

NT Crew Leader of the Year — Van Bogner
Hon. Mention: Gabriel Trainer

GSI Crew Leaders of the Year — Team McWaibel: Shannon, Rob and Emma
Hon. Mention: Andrea Geiger

The Conan Award — Mike & Pat Rowen
Hon. Mention: Chris Canida

NT Rookie of the Year — Kate Ketcham
Hon. Mention: Rick Hodge

GSI Rookie of the Year — Jessica Fung
Hon. Mention: Matthew Chapman

Office Volunteer of the Year — Kara Eads
Hon. Mention: Brittany Hassell

Neighborhood Planting Team of the Year — Piedmont & Woodlawn
Hon. Mention: Boise/Eliot/Humboldt/King & Kenton/Portsmouth

The Garry Oak Award — Nancy Buley
Hon. Mention: Katie Dennis


Our awesome volunteer leaders and planters accomplished the following during the 2013-14 planting season:

  • The Green Space Initiative program hosted 52 planting events and planted more than 36,000 native plants and trees.
  • The Neighborhood Trees program planted more than 3,400 street and yard trees at 33 neighborhood planting events in Portland, Vancouver and Salem.

We so grateful to the folks who have given so much of their time and energy this season to bring nature into their neighborhoods and green spaces this season. We are blown away and humbled by our dedicated community of volunteers and can’t thank them enough for their amazing work!

– Ian is the Volunteer & Outreach Program Specialist for Friends of Trees.