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

3 Easy Steps to Becoming a Friends of Trees Crew Leader

If the start of a new year has inspired you to make a real, lasting impact in your community, then you are in luck!

Educating our future generations about our local environment is another huge plus of being a Crew Leader with Friends of Trees!
Educating future generations about the local environment is just one perk of being a Crew Leader!

Friends of Trees is holding a Crew Leader training for our Green Space team this January 30th. Our Green Space program is focused on planting native trees and shrubs to restore watershed health and these community tree plantings occur in parks and natural areas across the greater Portland Metro region.  With over 50 planting events in the 2015-2016 season, we need the help of  trained Crew Leaders to ensure our events are both fulfilling and successful.  Space is limited, register HERE to claim your spot at this training in Tualatin, OR!

The Crew Leader role is a fun and rewarding way to connect with your community, learn about trees, and share the importance of a healthy urban forest. Not only will you learn how to plant a tree that will benefit our communities for decades to come, you will gain valuable leadership skills with the support of Friends of Trees staff.

Becoming a Friends of Trees Crew Leader is as easy as 1-2-3!

ONE: Aspiring Crew Leaders attend a ONE-day comprehensive training that covers everything from native plant and tree identification to planting day roles & responsibilities. It’s a great day where you can meet your Friends of Trees support staff, learn anything and everything about the Green Space program, and meet fellow Crew Leaders!

TWO-THREE: Following your 1-day training, we ask that you sign up for at least 2-3 Green Space planting events for the remainder of the 2015-2016 season. The Green Space team has 25+ future Saturday morning events scheduled across Washington, Multnomah, and Clackamas Counties and you will be free to sign-up for whichever events fit your schedule! At each event in your first season, we will partner you up with a seasoned Crew Leader so that you can build upon your training with on-site planting and group leading experience.

**Register here to save your spot!**

When: Saturday, January 30th, 9am – 3pm

Where: Brown’s Ferry Park Community Center, 6159 SW Nyberg Ln, Tualatin, OR 97062 (map)

What to expect: We’ll start the training with hands-on outdoor planting demonstrations and breakfast treats/coffee.  After finishing planting, we’ll break for a tasty lunch provided by Friends of Trees and the City of Tualatin. The afternoon will be spent in an indoor classroom session with presentations from Friends of Trees and City of Tualatin staff members, experienced crew leaders, and arborists to teach you everything you’ll need to know about this important role.  A coveted “Tree Team” tshirt will be provided at the end of the training.

Become a Friends of Tree Crew Leader and impress your friends with the new knowledge you will gain!
You’ll be the life of the party with all of the new knowledge you will gain!

If you have any questions or need more information about this role, please don’t hesitate to contact Jenny & Randi in the Volunteer & Outreach Program at 503-595-0213 or by emailing Volunteer@FriendsofTrees.org. We look forward to working with you!

–Carey Lawry, Volunteer & Administrative Assistant

This Saturday: Plant native trees and shrubs at beautiful King City Park!

Friends of Trees is excited to return to King City Park this Saturday, December 19th and is looking for volunteers to join the fun!

If you are not familiar with King City, you are not alone–the city is just shy of its 50th year of being a city and many people have only recently started to hear about this neat little city! Incorporated in 1966 and established at the edge of the Urban Growth Boundary, King City is a growing community with quick access to nurseries and wineries while being just a little over thirty minutes from downtown Portland.

Scenic and calm – King City Park is an incredible area to spend a few hours!

Our December 19th event is the first of two plantings in King City Park this season. These plantings are a continuation of the already-successful Tree For All campaign which strives to plant native trees, shrubs, and plants that will create improved flood management, provide cooler, cleaner water, and introduce new habitats for fish and wildlife in the tualatin River Watershed.

We encourage you to come check out King City and join Clean Water Services, Friends of Trees, and King City partners to be a part of this important environmental project! No experience needed. Feel free to bring friends and family — the more the merrier!

Where: 17470 SW Montague Way, King City, OR 97224 (map)

More incentive: These donuts won’t eat themselves – we hope you can help us!

When: Saturday, December 19th — please meet by 8:45am at the above site. Planting activities will wrap up by 1:00pm. Breakfast, hot cocoa/coffee is provided!

What: Please dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes or boots, and be prepared to get a little dirty. Friends of Trees will provide gloves, tools, and planting guidance.

Youth Waiver: For any youth under age 18 volunteering without their parent or guardian, we ask they bring a signed youth waiver to the event. Any youth planting with their parent/guardian do not need a waiver.

With a group? We welcome groups of all sizes! RSVPs are kindly requested for groups of 5 or more people – click HERE to do so. RSVPs are not required for individuals or groups of 4 or fewer — you may simply show up!

If you have questions, please contact Randi or Jenny at 503-595-0213 or email us at volunteer@friendsoftrees.org. We look forward to seeing you out there!

-Carey Lawry, Volunteer & Administrative Assistant

Volunteers Needed to plant trees in North Clackamas County, Sat Dec 5th!

Located within one of the fastest growing counties in the state, snugged-up between heavily-urbanized Portland and rural farmland in Clackamas County, Damascus is a super place to plant trees!  Friends of Trees is working to plant native trees and shrubs to restore natural areas and farmland within this rapidly developing region — and we need your help on Saturday, Dec 5th!

  • When:  Saturday, December 5th — please meet by 8:45am at the staging site listed above. Planting activities will wrap up by 1:00;
  • Where: Rock Creek Headwaters, please meet at Hillsview Community Church, 23225 SE Borges Rd, Damascus, OR 97089 (map) — look for the Friends of Trees signs to guide you as your arrive
  • Parking and Shuttle: We will be having volunteers take a short shuttle ride from the church parking lot to the farm where we’ll be planting.  Unfortunately, the farm has very little parking available.
  • What:  Please dress appropriately for the weather, wear sturdy shoes or boots, and be prepared to get a little dirty. Friends of Trees will provide gloves, tools, and expert planting guidance, as well as breakfast snacks and coffee/hot chocolate to get everyone fueled up!  Tree-planting is a great activity for individuals, families, and groups alike!
  • Youth Waiver: We require everyone under age 18 volunteering without their parent or guardian to bring a signed youth waiver to the event.  Any youth planting with their parent/guardian do not need a waiver.


Check out all our photos from our recent Rock Creek Headwaters events HERE

Friends of Trees, SOLVE, and Clackamas River Basin Council are working together to enhance streamside properties in the Rock Creek watershed in northern Clackamas County.  This collective restoration effort, the Rock Creek Partnership, is supported with funding from Clackamas County Water Environment Services on behalf of Clackamas Service District No. 1 with the aim of improving and preserving water and habitat quality in this rapidly developing city. Enhancing and protecting the riparian corridors in this fast-growing region will have positive effects on the health of the Clackamas River and its plant and animal populations, as well as people and their communities in the area.

With the holidays right around the corner, this is the season of giving, so consider giving a little bit of your time and come plant trees with us! Your time and generosity will have a lasting impact on the environment and those who inhabit it.

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.”