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

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 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 We look forward to seeing you out there!

-Carey Lawry, Volunteer & Administrative Assistant