Gift Trees: A perspective from behind the lens

By Lucia DeLisa

My favorite volunteer activity is taking photos for Friends of Trees (FOT). This organization has planted over a half million trees in Portland neighborhoods and surrounding areas in the past 25 years. One of their best events is the gift tree planting in the Collins Sanctuary, a preserve adjacent to Forest Park. FOT has been offering this service for many years, in which people buy one or more trees to dedicate to an event, anniversary, or memorialize loved ones. Last weekend, was the actual planting. Almost 200 people of all ages came to plant their trees. I must tell you, this is no easy task. There’s a bit of a trek to the planting area and it’s hard work.

There are a lot of tears and laughter during the these plantings, as people reminisce and celebrate their special occasions. And when it’s over, people leave exhilarated. For me, this is a moving experience as I walk around taking photos and listening to people talk and tell their stories. In this photo, I wanted to depict the calm before the storm, so to speak. The shovels are lined up in the early morning light, made ready by the FOT staff for the arrival of the enthusiastic tree planters.

The next gift tree planting is Sunday, March 29, 2015. If you’re interested in celebrating a person or event in your life, go to the Friends of Trees Gift Tree page.

– Lucia is co-founder of Imagine Productions and is a long-time volunteer with Friends of Trees.