THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTNG EARTH MONTH!
Recently during a staff planning session we talked a bit about community. We use this word a lot at Friends of Trees—we plant trees + grow community—and what struck me was that though there may be variations about the meaning of community depending on who is using it and when, the common theme was, essentially, community is all of us.
YOU are part of the Friends of Trees community. Volunteers, donors, partners, tree recipients … everyone who supports and benefits from planting trees in neighborhoods and natural areas is part of this community and I sincerely thank you for being a part of this incredible organization that, in spite of a pandemic and countless challenges, planted 21,000 trees and native shrubs this season.
We asked our community to generously support Friends of Trees in honor of Earth Month, and you really did! We successfully met our $25,000 challenge, and I promise you we will put this to good work planting trees + growing community.
If you viewed any of our Earth Month events (here’s the playlist) you probably noticed that we often talk about partnerships and climate justice. Friends of Trees’ community includes partnerships with a number of truly impactful local organizations that work with underserved communities. Underserved communities experience the worst effects of climate change and our partnerships that help connect communities to the benefits of trees play an important role in achieving climate justice.
I have a final Earth Month request of you: Support our community partners. Yes, Friends of Trees will always need you, but if we are going to achieve true climate justice we all need to support Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC) organizations that are part of the movement to ensure equitable outcomes around trees and the urban canopy.
These organizations are Friends of Trees’ partners and need your support:
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO): Uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice.
The Blueprint Foundation: Uplift, educate, and support the development of black-identified youth and other communities of color.
Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC): Committed to the success of underserved youth and adults.
Wisdom of the Elders: Native American cultural sustainability, multimedia education and race reconciliation.
If you’d like to learn more about how Friends of Trees partners with these organizations visit our website here.
Thank you for joining us during Earth Month, for supporting our work and the work of our partners, and for being a part of the Friends of Trees community.
By Andy Meeks
We need to do everything we possibly can — right now — to help combat climate change. No single effort is going to fix the Earth’s rapidly-deteriorating natural resources and systems, but every little bit matters. By starting small, thinking big and acting now, we can make a difference. That’s how Friends of Trees views its work, by planting and caring for trees every weekend from October – May, year after year, for more than 25 years. Since 1989, Friends of Trees and tens of thousands of volunteers have helped combat climate change on a regional and global scale by planting more than 500,000 trees and native shrubs in Pacific Northwest communities.
While the immediate impact of this work is hard to measure, it is becoming common knowledge that planting trees is one of the most cost-effective ways to combat climate change. In fact, Oxford University researchers released a report this February that concluded that planting trees should be included as one of the primary tools to help offset climate change. The Atlantic magazine, discussing this report, said that planting trees where there weren’t any trees before will “help the atmosphere no matter what, they’re comparatively low-cost, and they carry little additional risk.”
Earth Day is this Wednesday, April 22nd and it’s the 45th Anniversary of the very first Earth Day — originally conceived as an environmental teach-in day and when 20 million Americans stepped “into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform.” This was a heady time in the United States for the environmental movement; within the next 6 years that followed, landmark environmental protection laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act were enacted. In 1990, one year after Friends of Trees was founded, “Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.”
Even if you celebrate the natural world every day, Earth Day, or even Earth Week, offers everyone an opportunity to boost and re-commit their support for environmental causes. Celebrate Earth Day and Earth Week by supporting Friends of Trees:
- Consider making a donation to Friends of Trees. We are a member-based organization and our work is funded by supporters like you. Just last weekend, we distributed almost 1,000 young fruit trees to residents in the Portland-Vancouver metro region during our annual Fruit Tree Giveaway when we raised over $6,000 from voluntary donations for each tree.
- Support the dozens of local businesses who pledge their support to help Friends of Trees do the work we do. Our Friends of Trees Days campaign engages with businesses who are doing their part to help support Friends of Trees through various promotions over the course of this week or this month.
- Learn more HERE about all of the different ways you can volunteer with us throughout the year — we have a professional staff waiting to find out how you are most excited to get involved.
Whatever your view of our current state of affairs, one thing is sure: planting trees makes a big difference. Thank you for your support!
– Andy Meeks is the Development Manager with Friends of Trees.