Get to know our partner: Chemawa Indian School

Friends of Trees has been partnering with Chemawa Indian School in Salem for more than five years. Our partnership includes training Chemawa students as Crew Leaders for our planting events in Salem and engaging hundreds of Chemawa students at tree planting and tree care events, including activities at the Chemawa Indian School campus.

This partnership has been driven by dedicated teachers and staff at Chemawa who are passionate about creating opportunities for the students to participate in their community through improving the environment while building their leadership skills.

Chemawa teacher Paula Stuart explains why the partnership is so valuable to Chemawa, Friends of Trees’ offer to donate trees on Chemawa’s campus has increased awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship. Students who might not have otherwise noticed have joined in, sometimes merely tempted by donuts and hot chocolate, then catching the joy of working outside in teams of happy diggers.”

Paula continues, “Science teachers at the school have offered credit for participation and I am ever so happy that this active engagement has influenced several students’ interest in pursuing environmental careers.”

Finish reading here, where you will find the entire November edition of Treemail, our monthly e-news. Want to catch up on past issues of Treemail? They’re here!

Growing the next Tree Team generation

Friends of Trees and partners are providing job training and leadership skill-building opportunities for youth

Nature deficit disorder is real. It is unhealthy for young people and it is unhealthy for our community and the planet. Educating youth about nature through learning about and planting trees improves the personal health of the students and is creating the next generation of environmental stewards. Top this off with partnerships that include job-training and leadership skill-building and we’re making great strides in growing the next Tree Team generation.
Friends of Trees’ educational programming actively and meaningfully connects youth of all ages with nature while providing hands-on experiences with environmental work. Every year we engage more than 2,500 young people, from elementary school through high school.
Much of our work with youth involves project-based environmental education with at-risk high school students, providing minority, low-income and other under-served young people with hands on job-training and leadership skill-building activities. Students serve in leadership roles through planning, participating in, and leading planting and tree care events with community members throughout the Portland Metro and Salem Metro regions.
“The program creates a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves,” says Leigh Rappaport, Program Manager with project partner Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center. “The students feel that they’re doing something important by helping volunteers learn how to plant trees–and they’re also learning a lot about trees.”
Partners in this work include:
  • POIC/Rosemary Anderson High School: At-risk youth participate in a POIC job training program through training and serving as Crew Leaders (a key Friends of Trees volunteer role) and helping to plan and implement tree planting events throughout the season.
  • Cascade Education Corps: Washington County high school students in CEC train as Crew Leaders, and are also trained to work with elementary and middle school students. The older students work with the younger ones on planting teams, serving as their Crew Leaders for tree planting and tree care events.
  • Chemawa Indian School: Students undergo Crew Leader training and serve as Crew Leaders at Salem-area tree-planting events. The students train and lead community volunteers, as well as their fellow Chemawa students (read more about this partnership below).

What’s particularly encouraging about this program is the overwhelming interest from the students. Friends of Trees Deputy Director Whitney Dorer shares, “Young people really want this, there is a growing, huge demand. For instance, this year 45 students applied for the 15 available POIC spots.” Whitney concludes, “Our vision is to be able to make this available for all young people who are interested, so we are especially grateful to the variety of funders and partners who are investing in today’s youth.”

Pictured above: POIC Program Manager Leigh Rappaport (center) with POIC student Crew Leaders.

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.

Get to know our partnership with David Douglas High School

Somalia, Burma, The Congo. These are just a few of the countries represented during some Friends of Trees planting events, thanks to our growing partnership with David Douglas High School’s English Language Learners program.
For more than five years DDHS students have volunteered at our community tree-planting events in outer-southeast Portland. For many students it is the first time they are connecting with the outdoors, not to mention actually planting a tree!
A highlight of this partnership is the International Grove our student-planters helped plan and plant a few years ago in collaboration with our partners at City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, resulting in 51 new trees on school grounds. It is worth going to visit the Grove to see this incredible collection of trees!
Many of our young planting partners come from refugee families with very limited resources, making the skill-building and leadership opportunities offered through this partnership particularly valuable. Our community benefits, too. These students are excellent cultural ambassadors through so actively and enthusiastically giving back to their new community. While the students appreciate the opportunity to bond outside of the classroom, we have sincerely appreciated the service they are providing for generations of Portlanders to come.
We are so fortunate to have both newly transplanted trees and the support of David Douglas’ newly transplanted students. May they grow to thrive side by side!

The Science of Watering at Irving Elementary School

By Jennifer Killian

On a sunny day last November, Friends of Trees partnered with teachers and students from Eugene’s Irving Elementary School to plant 37 street and yard trees in front of the school to promote a Safe Pathway to School program. Now, in the hottest and driest part of the summer, Friends of Trees staff, homeowners, and volunteers are watering young street trees all over Eugene and Springfield, including the trees at Irving Elementary. These watering crews are busy taking care of nearly 800 trees planted this season. Friends of Trees recommends newly-planted trees receive a deep watering once a week of about 10-15 gallons.

“Can watering trees be turned into a science experiment?”

Watering team poses by their favorite tree, Cookie! Photo: Jennifer Killian

Recently, some of the students from Irving Elementary asked After School Program Coordinator Lori Wheeler if it would be possible to use the watering of the new trees as a science experiment. Together, Lori and the students decided to find out.

They first looked at the in-ground sprinkler system to see if it provides enough water to the trees. They placed a bucket at the base of one of the trees near the sprinkler system to capture water from the sprinklers.  They quickly determined that the trees would not receive enough water from the sprinklers alone. So, it was on to the next plan.

These days, if you drive past Irving Elementary on a Wednesday afternoon, you will see a group of students outside under the shade of a large maple tree. Led by Tree Team Leader Tyler and supervised by Lori, they enjoy their lunch and make a watering plan for the day. Of the 37 trees, all but a handful can be reached by connecting a series of long watering hoses. The students timed how long it took to fill 2-3 five-gallon buckets with water from the hose. With that amount of time in mind, they stretch the hose to each tree and let the water run for the appropriate amount of time. Those trees that are out of the reach of the hose are watered with five- gallon buckets that the students take turns filling up and carefully pouring on the base of the each tree.

Tree Team Captain Tyler with the watering hose! Photo: Jennifer Killian

With a briefcase and clipboard, Tyler carefully records each the watering of each tree, notes potential problems, and reports back to Friends of Trees. At the end of the summer, the students will create a presentation of their watering methods and results to Friends of Trees staff, who are all very excited to see.

– Jennifer is the Volunteer & Neighborhood Trees Specialist in the Friends of Trees Eugene office.