Volunteers needed, volunteers thanked

Two urban green spaces, which one is the volunteer picnic? (FOT file)
Two urban green spaces, which is a real Portland park? (FOT file)

Urban forest, green spaces, urban canopy, green oasis … they’re all synonymous with the Portland lifestyle. Who plants thousands of trees every year to maintain and enhance the metro-area’s canopy?

Friends of Trees’ volunteers.

Last Friday, Friends of Trees created an urban park in a downtown parking spot to join the global outreach mechanism Park (ing) Day. Sponsored locally by Intertwine—Metro’s effort to link its 854,000 acres of parks—the event gives city inhabitants across the world the chance to stop and recognize the refreshing beauty a bit of nature can provide, even if it’s only two Sawtooth Oaks and one Quince.

Andy and Greg spent the day playing bocce ball with future volunteers, hosting impromptu seed-bomb-making lessons, and chatting with all passersby about how Friends of Trees makes greenery happen.

Volunteer Picnic
Raffle prize winner Joey Roberts took home the Columbia boots. (FOT file)

On Sunday, Friends of Trees moved from pseudo-park to almost-five-acres Colonel Summers Park in Southeast Portland for its volunteer picnic.

The perfect picnic weather was accompanied with barbecue from Russell Street,  four coolers of drinks and enough raffle prizes to make nearly everyone feel like a winner.

“You guys are making Portland a better place and on behalf of all of us, thank you,” said Greg, starting a chorus line of similar praise from grateful staffers.

Both the Neighborhood Trees and Green Space Initiative programs are coming off record years for trees planted, and the growth is going to continue, said Program Director Brighton West, who added that all those extra trees means there must be more boots on feet and shovels in hands to accomplish the goal.

If you or anyone you know are interested in learning more about the Friends of Trees volunteer experience, contact : Andy Meeks at 503-282-8846 ext. 24, [email protected]; or Greg Tudor at 503.282.8846 ext. 12, [email protected].

–Toshio Suzuki