Thank you! And happy new year.

 

To all of our supporters,

THANK YOU.

Your support in 2020 meant that, despite unimaginable obstacles, we were still able to plant trees + grow community.

What a year.

So many people supported us in so many ways, it has often brought me to tears. Your commitment is real and I thank you for that.

Your support plants trees in neighborhoods and natural areas while bringing people together and building resilience in our communities.

We can’t do this without you!

Here’s to a tree-filled 2021,

Whitney Dorer, Interim Executive Director

PS: Plant trees with us! When we are planting we are doing so with a number of health and safety features in place to ensure our events are as safe as possible. Check out our events calendar for the latest information about our community tree planting events – and how to get involved!

Reflecting on 2020: the year of the pivot

More like multiple pivots, really. Just like trees though, flexibility to bend and not break in the storm is how we modeled ourselves this year. Despite canceling, postponing and downsizing many volunteer planting events due to the pandemic, in 2020 we still planted 38,000 trees and native shrubs with the support of more than 5,000 volunteers. COVID-19, the racial justice uprisings, and signs of a changing climate caused us to look inward, and recommit to why we do what we do. These are our biggest takeaways from 2020, with some feedback from supporters sprinkled in:

It’s all about community and accomplishing something hard, together. To our volunteers and supporters: In the darkest times of this year, your patience, conviction, and generosity have buoyed us. Every time you reach out, get a tree, volunteer, or donate, you cast a vote for the future you want. This has been a year of unpredictability, but we know one thing with steadfast certainty: with people like you, we can move mountains.

What we’ve heard:

  • Keep holding events! Everyone in my pruning group was so thankful to be outside and get to interact with other people from a distance. We also had numerous residents come out and let us know how thankful they are that FOT provides this service.
  • I learned so much! About the plants, how to plant them, best species for flooded areas. It was really fun!
  • Got a great deal on five new trees for my back yard. Met some great people and laughed together. Made a new friend too!
  • Thank you for supporting our community and the environment one tree at a time. I’m so thankful for the work you do on a daily basis.

Moving toward being an anti-racist and inclusive organization and society takes continual work. The pandemic has illustrated racial disparities in this country. There are also divisions along race lines regarding who has access to nature and the outdoors, who benefits from jobs in the fields of urban forestry, and who receives the benefits of urban trees. We are tackling each of these challenges with steadfast resolve. Simultaneously, we’re seeking to rid ourselves and our programming of white supremacy.

Supporters’ feedback:

  • I found the section on Environmental Justice and information on Portland tree canopy distribution to be particularly interesting. Lessons I learned about interrupting problematic language is definitely transferable to my day-to-day life.
  • Thank you for the work you do and the voices you lift!
  • Although I have previously read about privilege it was useful to consider it in relation to tree planting.
  • You taught me my subconscious bias around using pronouns and I love you for it.

 

Going outside and engaging in community service are important for mental health. Studies show that both outdoor exposure and volunteering lowers stress, anxiety, and depression. We miss our big planting events. We’ll never take for granted ever again the beauty of being outside with a big group of people digging in the soil. When safer times are here, we want to make the next planting season our biggest yet!

  • Keep up the hard work and dedication to this environmental necessity. Thank you for finding a way to keep the needle moving forward.
  • The group I was with had great leaders, and an amazing group of people- we faced several obstacles throughout the day, and we tackled them all head-on, as a team. There was no conflict, arguments, nothing negative – it was entirely teamwork, lots of laughs and we all felt like we were productive! Plus I got a good workout! 
  • You are an awesome organization and I am happy to be a part of your family.

What else did we take away from 2020? More than one out of three of our staff say their easy-button pandemic food is frozen pizza. At 22% of our staff team, the most popular food for daily eating is chocolate. And we think we finally learned how to properly wash our hands.

In our volunteer surveys, we commonly ask folks, “Is there anything in particular that made your experience good or bad? One recent response: “It was over too quickly.” While we can’t say the same for 2020, we certainly had some fun times, and tried to make the best of a challenging situation.

Here’s to a tree-filled 2021!

This is a story from the December 2020 issue of Treemail, our monthly e-news! Read the entire edition here, and catch up on past issues here.

Tis the season … for Give!Guide

The 2020 Give!Guide is here!

Willamette Week’s Give!Guide runs through December 31st and is a great way to learn about organizations that are doing amazing work on behalf of people, places, critters and causes (including trees + community, of course ;).

G!G features Big Give Days when donors are entered to win fabulous incentives like shopping sprees, vacation packages, and more.

Why give? Now more than ever, we need trees! They fight climate change, clean our air and water, and make this place beautiful. And when planted the Friends of Trees way, with all kinds of volunteers, trees grow community (ands we need that more than ever, too!).

Thank you for helping us plant trees together!

NOW is the time to get a tree

 

Tree lovers, we need your help! Not only have our community tree planting events changed quite a bit due to COVID, health & safety measures mean we have very limited ability to visit communities and help neighbors get a tree of their own.

Normally we reach thousands of potential tree recipients with door-to-door canvassers and through tabling at community events – things we just can’t do this season.

Less interpersonal interaction means we won’t reach enough households about getting trees planted. And reaching fewer households means that, without your help, our neighborhoods will have far fewer new trees – and we need trees more than ever!

Here’s how you can help:

  • Get a tree planted at your home. If you’ve been thinking about getting a tree, now’s the time.
  • Talk to your neighbors about getting a tree. How many tree-less front yards are on your street? How about tree-less planting strips? (the area between the sidewalk and street). Visit your neighbors (masked, of course 😉 and help spread the good word about trees through forwarding this email or sharing this link.

Getting a tree with Friends of Trees is easy, informative, and affordable!

  • The cost to you for a tree is a very affordable $35. Considering that tree would sell in a nursery for much more, plus when it’s from Friends of Trees you get delivery, a hole dug, expert planters, and post-planting support, it’s a great deal!
  • We have a sliding scale available if $35 is too much – name your price! And if you can afford more than $35 anything extra will go to our tree scholarship fund.
  • Your tree can be FREE if need be, thanks to our tree scholarship fund (donate to the tree scholarship fund here!)

Check out how easy it is to get a tree, and our wide variety of trees, here.

Questions? Email or call the Tree Team at (503)595-0212. We can’t wait to introduce you to your new tree!

Please note that this information applies to the Portland Metro area; for information about getting a tree in our Eugene service area please contact our Eugene office.

This information was featured in the September 2020 edition of Treemail, our monthly e-news; read the whole issue here, and catch up on other Treemail issues here.

Simple ways to protect your tree on windy days

The Pacific Northwest is experiencing a historic windstorm event in September, 2020. These winds can cause serious damage to both young and established trees. When the winds pick up, you can take some simple steps to prevent damage to your tree friend.

What should I do to protect my trees from wind?

Watering your trees on windy days can help reduce or prevent damage to leaves.

1. Wind causes leaves to dry out more quickly. That’s why it’s important to make sure tree roots have access to water in the soil to replenish the water lost through their leaves. If trees don’t have enough access to water in the soil, the leaves can dry out, and potentially cause dieback.

  • Newly planted trees (1-5 years since planting): Make sure to give young trees a nice, deep soaking of the root zone with about 10-15 gallons of water. That’s three large buckets of water, slowly added to the soil. Make sure you soak all of the soil within two feet of the trunk, and imagine you are trying to reach the roots about a foot deep in the soil.
  • Established trees (5+ years): This is a great job for a soaker hose or sprinkler, slowly moistening the soil around the edge of the canopy of the tree. Some mature trees are already experiencing drought stress, so it’s extra important to give them an extra drink during windy periods.

2. You can try to protect the leaves with windbreak.

If it’s possible to establish a windbreak, or to attach a frost cloth securely to your tree’s canopy, this can protect your tree from harsh winds. Friends of Trees cautions against this simply because young trees don’t have established root systems, and a fabric covering might act as a wind sail. You may just end up sending your tree on an unintended journey across your yard. Use your best judgement.

 

Wind can cause water to exit leaves too quickly, causing damage to the leaves or canopy dieback on this Seven Son Flower tree.

Why does my tree lose water through its leaves?

Water loss through leaves is due to a process called transpiration, which is essentially the process that occurs after your tree takes up water from the soil, uses it for photosynthesis, and then releases it back into the air. The US Geological Survey explains it this way:

“The typical plant, including any found in a landscape, absorbs water from the soil through its roots. That water is then used for metabolic and physiologic functions. The water eventually is released to the atmosphere as vapor via the plant’s stomata — tiny, closeable, pore-like structures on the surfaces of leaves.”

That water (H2O), of course, plays an important role in photosynthesis while inside the plant, reacting with carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce some delicious sugars for the plant to eat (C6H12O6) and some complimentary fresh oxygen (O2) for us!

So, why does the wind cause tree leaves to dry out more quickly?

Because water likes to distribute itself evenly, it will tend to move from a moist location to a drier location. If the inside of the leaf is moist, and the outside air is also moist, water won’t feel the need to jump ship.

But, as Wikipedia explains, “wind blows away much of this water vapor near the leaf surface…speeding up the diffusion of water molecules into the surrounding air.” The wind moves the moisture away from the leaf, encouraging more water to exit the leaf and re-moisten the surrounding air.

So, keep an eye out for dry/windy weather in the forecast, and make sure your trees and plants are prepared. And give special attention to evergreens in windy/dry periods during the winter, as these trees with year-round leaves and needles will transpire year-round as well.