Vancouver Celebrates Arbor Day

By Andy Meeks

Vancouver Arbor Day 2013

Friends of Trees and Garry Oak helped Vancouver Urban Forestry celebrate its annual Arbor Day on Wednesday morning at Columbia Springs.  Two groups of Vancouver schoolchildren joined the festivities and took a nature walk with staff from Columbia Springs. The official ceremony began around 11:00 am with Vancouver Urban Forestry Commissioner Kelly Punteney as emcee. Presenters included representatives from the Vancouver Urban Forestry Commission, Washington Urban & Community Forestry (UCF) Program, the U.S. Forest Service, and Clark Public Utilities. Linden Lampman from Washington UCF presented Vancouver with its 24th consecutive Tree City USA designation.  Congratulations, Vancouver!

In addition, for the second consecutive year two Friends of Trees volunteers won the coveted Mac Award. The Mac Award was created to “recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses that have made a significant, positive impact on Vancouver’s urban forest.”

Garry Oak celebrates Vancouver's Arbor Day
  • Melissa Tiefenthaler, longtime crew leader and Hough neighborhood coordinator, won for her innovative rubber sidewalk project that she organized in 2011. As a volunteer for the Hough Neighborhood Association, Melissa helped secure funding with grants from the Vancouver Watersheds Alliance and from the Office of Neighborhoods for its Safe Neighborhoods Streets Project. As Melissa has said, “Planting the right-sized tree in the right place reduces this possibility significantly, but wouldn’t it be nice if cracked sidewalks were simply never a problem? Maybe that will be the case if this rubber sidewalk performs well in Vancouver!”
  • Alex Bruyevicz, a Clark College student and president of its Environmental Club, as well as one of the most prolific Friends of Trees crew leaders this season, won his Mac Award for his sustained dedication to helping improve Vancouver’s urban canopy, coordinating ivy pulls to help increase native plant habitat, and crew leading at ten different Friends of Trees planting events in Vancouver and Portland since November 2012. Alex has helped bring attention to Friends of Trees among other Clark College students, even convincing some of his classmates to become crew leaders.

Congratulations to Melissa and Alex on their well-deserved Mac Awards, as well as to the City of Vancouver for its 24th consecutive Tree City USA designation!

Mac Award winner Melissa Tiefenthaler

Friends of Trees has been actively involved in planting trees in Vancouver for over ten years and currently plants almost 400 trees at four different planting events each year between November and March. To find out more about how to become involved with Friends of Trees in Vancouver, please visit or call us at 503-595-0213.

– Meeks is the Volunteer & Outreach Program Manager for Friends of Trees.