Planting Trees at Eugene Schools

Planting Trees at Charlemagne Elementary School

When you think of an elementary school campus, you probably think of sports fields and playgrounds. And you probably imagine trees—trees for kids to sit in the shade, or hide behind during a game of hide-and-seek, or to collect leaves from for their science classes. But a recent survey in Eugene found that the industrial areas of the city may actually have more canopy than the schools.

To help add trees at our communities’ schools, Friends of Trees did a planting at Charlemagne Elementary School in Southeast Eugene this year. The Eugene team was able to plant 32 street trees in the school’s right-of-way along Potter Street on the east side of the school’s campus. This right-of-way sees a lot of foot traffic from students. Studies show that cars drive more slowly on streets with more trees.

“We’d been hearing that students wanted trees at their school,” says Volunteer & Program Specialist Taylor Glass. “So we scouted out tree locations. The huge right-of-way had a ton of space for us to plant a whole bunch of large trees.”

The wide right-of-way allowed the team to plant trees that will grow into large shade trees, like Ponderosa Pine, Bald Cypress, Oregon White Oak, and Chinkapin Oak. The team made sure to have a mixture of both native and drought tolerant trees, so that the trees will survive and have a lasting impact on the campus. A volunteer from the neighborhood has committed to watering the trees during the first three years, while they get established.

While it’s a bit more complicated to get trees planted on the school grounds, the Eugene team could plant street trees on the right-of-way. Efforts are being made to plant on the school grounds, too.

“This has been one of our largest planting efforts at a school,” says Taylor. “We hope to be able to do more, both on the school grounds here and at other schools that could use more trees.”