Why we come together to plant trees

Welcome to our 33rd season of planting trees, together!


In study after study, researchers have found that people who volunteer lead longer, healthier, happier lives. University of Washington, 2020

32 years ago Portland resident Richard Seidman got some neighbors together to plant trees. Richard absolutely wanted to help the environment, but he also wanted to do something that involved bringing people together, he wanted to “begin something new that might involve hope and a positive new direction.”


“My favorite part was seeing my kids plant trees.” FOT volunteer, November 2020

870,000 trees and native shrubs later, we know without a doubt that community tree planting not only works to both bring people together AND fight climate change, community tree planting is an integral and beloved part of the fabric of our community. This is why when COVID hit we didn’t stop, we pivoted and innovated and worked like heck to ensure that we not only continued to plant thousands of trees, we did so with our community.

“I love planting trees and the satisfaction knowing I did something good for the environment.” FOT volunteer, October 2020.


As we welcome our 33rd season of planting trees together we’re still pivoting and innovating and working like heck to make community tree planting happen. We’re hosting live and virtual volunteer training events (learn more here!), we’ll continue to implement COVID health + safety protocols, and we are returning (mostly) to how our Saturday morning volunteer tree planting events were pre-COVID:

  • Our Neighborhood Trees events will feature morning gatherings of groups up to 100 volunteers who break down into small groups to plant street and yard trees. As of now all gatherings will be 100% outdoors and we won’t have a potluck lunch after planting; we hope to have coffee + packaged snacks, but bring what you need please!
  • Green Space events will host about 50 volunteers at restoration sites, and we’ll increase these numbers as soon as we are able so we can plant even more seedlings and native shrubs in sensitive natural areas. Providing coffee + packaged snacks are also a goal, but bring what you need!



“It’s great to be working with a group of people to accomplish something.” Friends of Trees volunteer, April 2021

This last year hasn’t been easy on trees (or people) across the Willamette Valley. The February ice storm and the summer heat dome both damaged our urban canopy and provided further evidence (as if we need more) of just how vital it is that we continue to plant trees.

Friends of Trees is seeing an increase in interest from our municipal partners who are hearing from their communities that they want more trees. These growing partnerships, where more trees are planted with community volunteers, is also further evidence of something else we know to be true: planting trees together is not just valued, it’s priceless.

Our event calendar is live and ready, so hop on and join us. Want a larger role? Check out our key volunteer roles and register for a fun, informative training. We can’t wait to plant trees with you again!