Do you have a tree story?

We’re looking for great stories about your tree or your tree planting experience

Thirty years = A LOT of trees, and a lot of tree stories. We’d love to hear yours.

Trees are often witness to or part of life’s milestones, such as anniversaries, births, proposals, commemorations. Trees are always there, growing and changing as we grow and change.

Do you have a tree at your home planted with Friends of Trees? How has that tree played a role in your family, during time in your home, in your life? Did you have an unforgettable planting experience with us, perhaps for a special occasion or in honor of a special person?

Trees are amazing and they are part of amazing stories. Do you have an amazing or heartwarming or special tree story about a Friends of Trees tree or tree-planting experience? We’d love to hear it, please contact Kathy Armstrong (kathya@friendsoftrees.org; 503-467-2512) with your tree story. Thank you!

A forest grows for moms, loved ones

Original story from the Oregonian, April 21, 2015

Give mom a tree
Longtime volunteer Andrea Geiger plants a Gift Tree with her daughter, Fiona.Give Mom a Tree 

“Look I found a worm!”

Four-year-old Juniper happily displays a wriggling worm in her palm. Nearby her mom, Jenine Dankovchik, digs a hole between two fallen logs. Together mother and daughter remove a young tree from a pot and place it in the hole, covering the roots with soil.

“We’re planting in honor of my mom, who died about a year ago. My coworker generously got us this,” Dankovchik says of the sapling.

In time the tree will grow tall and join the surrounding giants at the Collins Sanctuary adjacent to Forest Park.

On this sunny spring morning, about 100 other people, young and old, are scattered in the forest planting trees in their loved ones names–for birthdays, holidays, memorials or just because.

Click here to dedicate a tree in mom's name, or you can call 503-467-2512.  Please order by May 5 for timely delivery by Mother's Day, May 10.
Click here to dedicate a tree in mom’s name, or you can call 503-467-2512. Please order by May 5 for timely delivery by Mother’s Day, May 10.

The planting is organized twice a year by Friends of Trees as a way to celebrate life events while restoring the 86-acre sanctuary, which is owned by Metro and maintained by the Audubon Society of Portland.

To date, more than 6,100 native trees and shrubs have been planted through the Gift Tree program.

Dankovchik has also come with her husband, Josh, and son Calvin, 2. Together they write a note to grandma on white tape and tie it around the tree.

Dankovchik pulls out her phone to take GPS coordinates so she can come back and find the tree as it grows.

Up the hill, Andrea Geiger finds a new home for a native shrub in the ground with her daughter, Fiona, 8. Geiger has been volunteering with Friends of Trees for four years, and usually brings Fiona.

Together they guide small groups in how to properly plant trees: release pot-bound roots, dig the right sized hole and don’t plant too deep.

“This is the one planting I always come to,” Geiger says. “I really cherish being able to be here.”

Geiger has witnessed many touching moments at the Gift Tree plantings, including trees honoring new babies, friendships, mothers, fathers–even pets.

Last year, they planted a Yew tree for Geiger’s mother, a breast cancer survivor.
“I got to say ‘this Yew’s for you,’ ” she says.

But the real reward for Geiger is seeing the forest change after only a few years.

“I can see a huge difference from the first time I came out to this planting,” Geiger says. “It’s really starting to look like it’s recovering.”

The Many Loves of Garry Oak

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our mascot, Garry Oak, has been thinking about a new treeheart.

garry montage

It’s hard being alone on the day of love, commitment, and romance. So Garry has been getting his roots wet meeting potential partners.

garry montage 2

It’s difficult to find that special someone when you’re a mascot. Not all the choices are healthy…

garry montage 3

Although there are sporty options, cats and trees don’t always mix…

garry montage 4

Birds and Trees are a little better.

GArry montage 5

Garry, seriously, ask what this guy does for a living! Talk to Joey about how he came by the nickname, Timber.

garry montage 6

We hope Garry gets what he needs for Valentine’s Day. We can still help you honor that special someone. This year, we’re excited to offer special gift certificates you can give to your Valentines. See our Valentine’s Day Gift Tree packs

garry oak valentines

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.