Join the Tree Team–be a Crew Leader!

“I have a few favorite things about crew leading. One, I get to interact with all kinds of different people; two, I get so many positive remarks and thank you-s for making people so happy—all because I’m wearing a colored vest that associates me with a great cause.” –Ryan, Friends of Trees Crew Leader

If you’ve planted trees with us, then you’ve met a Crew Leader. Crew Leaders are the friendly, knowledgeable folks who teach our volunteer tree-planters how to properly plant trees and use tools, and they’re your #1 go-to for help and questions at a Friends of Trees planting event.

Crew Leader is a key leadership position with Friends of Trees, and is ideal for people who love planting with Friends of Trees and who want to do a bit more. As a Crew Leader you gain valuable leadership skills and lots of tree knowledge! Plus, you get to spend a lot of time outside and you’ll meet an awesome assortment of new people.

So, ready to try something new? We train Crew Leaders every season and our fall trainings are coming up—Join us!

56,000 trees & shrubs planted last season!

Our 2018 planting season was one for the record books! More than 7,000 volunteers donated 40,000 hours to plant 56,000 trees and native shrubs.

Picture this: 52 acres. 482 basketball courts. Or, 50 soccer fields. That’s what 56,000 trees can fill.*

Now picture $987,600. That’s the value of 40,000 volunteer hours.**

Here are some highlights from the 2017-18 planting season:

  • Our first bilingual planting took place in the Sandy River Delta.
  • Our second bilingual planting took place in NE Portland’s Cully neighborhood.
  • In our Green Space Program (51,798 seedlings & native shrubs planted!), we had our first events in Salem’s new Minto Brown Island Park; we had our first planting in Cornelius; we hosted our second Touchdowns for Trees planting in Eugene-Springfield (Go Ducks!); and we didn’t have to cancel a single event (thank you Mother Nature!).
  • The Neighborhood Trees Program (4,451 street & yard trees planted!) returned to Gresham after eight years; we worked with APANO to host Vietnamese and Chinese focus groups to address potential barriers to program participation; we have more Summer Inspectors in more neighborhoods doing more tree care checks than ever before; and we have a larger outreach staff than ever before, going door-to-door spreading the word about our program and helping folks get a tree of their own.

Our 2019 planting season begins in October and the calendar of volunteer planting eventswill be ready in Septemberwe look forward to planting trees with you next season!

Want to read more? This article appeared in the summer edition of Treemail, our e-news, read more here.

Rough estimates, based on a mid-range of 1,000 seedlings per acre for the seedlings used in our reforestation work, and somewhat less acreage for the larger street and yard trees we plant.

**  The national value of a volunteer hour for 2018 is $24.69, per The Independent Sector.

Get to know our partners: Sandy River Watershed Council

15,000+ trees, shrubs & native wildflowers planted with 1,755 volunteers since 2013

“We couldn’t restore the Delta, or do it with such broad community involvement, without Friends of Trees. You bring the know-how, the Crew Leaders, plants and people together to make it fun and effective, ahorita tambien en Español.”

-Steve Wise, Executive Director, Sandy River Watershed Council

Thanks to a five-year partnership between Friends of Trees and the Sandy River Watershed Council, public land that had been cleared for cattle ranching is now being reforested, creating habitat and improving air & water quality. This work benefits humans in other ways, too, since the 5-6 planting events we administer every season also help to restore the tree canopy in one of the most diverse parts of Multnomah County, bringing all the benefits of trees to thousands of east county residents.

Friends of Trees (whose executive director Scott Fogarty serves on the Sandy River Watershed Council) and the Council work together to plan a growing number of planting and stewardship events at the Delta, including choosing planting sites, plant selection, volunteer recruitment, group coordination … and more!

This partnership has some really interesting features:

  • Young people. For three years now this site has hosted hundreds of young tree planters every season through educational programming jointly administered by FOT and SRWC. Youth involvement includes our program for elementary through high schooler students who participate annually in educational walks combined with fieldwork, where older students mentor the younger ones (500 students this year alone!); plus, youth volunteer with the scores of school and community groups that come out for our Saturday tree plantings every season.
  • Portland Trail Blazers & Daimler Trucks North America. A few years ago we heard from a representative of Paul Allen (owner of the Portland Trail Blazers, among other endeavors) that Mr. Allen was interested in a partnership that could benefit his interest in healthy oceans. The removal of three dams on the Sandy River resulted in renewed wild salmon runs, reconnecting the Sandy’s aquatic link to the ocean. And what contributes to a cleaner, healthier Sandy River for all those salmon? Trees. How to tie this in with Allen’s Trail Blazers? Threes for Trees. The Blazers and Daimler Trucks North America plant three trees for every three-pointer the Blazers make (even more during play-offs!), making the Blazers and DTNA our lead sponsors for Delta planting events.

This partnership also relies on other partners to get all these trees in the ground, including the US Forest Service; Friends of the Sandy River Delta; East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District; Metro; Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board; the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Climate Adaptation Fund; National; Forest Foundation; the Port of Portland; the Confluence Project; and thousands of volunteers and donors to Friends of Trees and the Sandy River Watershed Council.

Friends of Trees’ education programs get youth outside experiencing nature

Growing the next Tree Team generation
Our education program engages students of all ages

“I planted trees today with my class. I’ve never planted a tree before—I got dirty! I had fun and I want to come back on my own and plant trees again.”
-Aminah, age 14, Vancouver, middle school student

Every year Friends of Trees works with thousands of young people, engaging them with planting and caring for trees and natural areas in Oregon and Washington.

Youth engagement and helping to grow the next generation of tree-stewards and tree-huggers is critical to our mission. Through giving young people the tools to engage with the natural world, and providing information about the crucial role trees play in our region’s and our planet’s livability, Friends of Trees is helping to develop the environmental advocates and leaders of the future.

Friends of Trees’ education program actively and meaningfully connects youth of all ages with nature. We offer a classroom-based curriculum combined with field work, and we work with students from elementary school through high school. Our partners include Oregon Trail Elementary School, David Douglas High School, POIC/Rosemary Anderson High School, and the dozens of schools who send students to our community planting events every season. Curriculum topics address the importance of trees; different species and the benefits of native plants; stormwater management; rain garden design; riparian area restoration .. and more! Students get their hands dirty through actually planting and caring for trees; they work as teams toward a common goal and older students build leadership skills in the field.

Young people are using screens and media for an average of 9 hours a day, so it is vital that we offer opportunities to connect them with the natural world. Schools have fewer and fewer resources and Friends of Trees helps fill this gap. No matter the age, youth bring an excitement to planting day that creates memorable experiences for all participants. No one is too young to plant trees!

This is an excerpt from our November 2017 Treemail, read the entire issue here.

A Summer Full of Trees

Hey! My name’s Bryan, and I am working as an intern (via the Duke Engage program) for the summer here at Friends of Trees. In my position, I support both the Neighborhood Trees and Green Space programs as they perform necessary administrative and maintenance tasks in between planting seasons. We don’t plant in the summer because many trees would not be able to survive the shock of being dug up and then planted in a new location during the hot summer months. But even though there are no planting events going on, we still have much work to do! Planning an entire year’s worth of planting events for both of our main programs is no small feat. Our team is hard at work making sure that our previously planted trees are doing well and that our upcoming plantings run as smoothly as possible.

The Green Space team is going back through all of our planting sites from the past year, doing maintenance which is vital to the survival of the native ecosystems we work to restore. Without the care of the summer maintenance team, many of the trees and shrubs planted by our awesome volunteers would not be able to survive their first years in their new environments. Much of our maintenance work involves removing invasive plants from planting areas, putting down mulch, and watering the new trees and shrubs. I’ve found that I have conflicting feelings towards Himalayan blackberry, one of Oregon’s most prevalent invasive species. With its fast-growing, spiky, and hardy stems, this plant gives our team quite a challenge at most of our sites. However, the berries it produces are a delicious snack, especially after working out in the sun all day!

Bryan in the field
Bryan in the field on a Green Space maintenance day

The Neighborhood Trees program has several different projects going on during the summer months. Volunteer Summer Inspectors travel around the city, checking on the health of all of the trees we have planted over the past year. They even go back and check on a portion of trees that have been planted more than a year ago, to make sure that our trees are continuing to thrive on Portland’s streets. Any trees that seem unhealthy are checked on by our staff, and we work with homeowners to help their trees grow or replace any trees that have died. Our canvassing team is working its way across Portland, talking to homeowners and trying to find new places for us to develop the city’s urban canopy. Back at the office, our staff is working hard doing all sorts of administrative work that helps us re-organize and transition from one planting season to the next.

I’m from the east coast, and have never been to the western part of the country until this summer. Since coming here, I’ve been absolutely astounded by how green Portland is. The people who live here clearly care a lot about their environment, which is why I see so many beautiful trees and gardens around the city. Exploring different neighborhoods on my Summer Inspector routes, I’ve witnessed firsthand how urban street trees really benefit those who live near them. Especially during the summer, trees provide streets and buildings with awesome shade and insulation. The air quality is noticeably nicer in areas with more foliage, which is so important for cities that have a lot of car and bus traffic. Plus, in my opinion, trees just look beautiful, and make urban landscapes much more pleasant and liveable. I can confidently say that Portland has the best commitment to preserving and increasing its natural resources out of any city I’ve been to. A huge part of that commitment comes from individuals, either by maintaining trees and gardens on their own properties, or by volunteering with organizations like us!

Bryan Higgins is the Duke Engage Intern with Friends of Trees