The Link Between Trees & Human Health is About Life & Death

This year’s Urban & Community Forestry Conference, sponsored by Oregon Community Trees and Oregon Department of Forestry, focused on “Urban Forestry Strategies: Linking People & Landscapes.” Each speaker’s presentation shed light on the connections between trees and human health.

OCT Conference June 6
Record attendance at this year's OCT Urban & Community Forestry Conference (OCT)

Keynote speaker Dr. Kathy Wolf, Research Social Scientist and Program Director at the USDA Forest Service, University of Washington, noted that a great number of studies have been conducted on the ecosystem benefits that trees provide. These studies show that, by cleaning our air and water, reducing energy use, cooling streams for native fish, reducing erosion and more, trees are far better than people at multi-tasking. They are “the hard workers in the background of our lives.”

An increasing number of recent studies are demonstrating trees’ relationship to human health and well-being. With more funding, the research will soon reveal the causal relationships between the two.

Topics Dr. Wolf touched on included the cognitive and health advantages of saving children from “nature-deficit disorder” and a growing understanding of “attention restoration theory.” In workplaces, for example, just a 15 or 30-minute break spent in nature during a work day increases job satisfaction, reduces employee illness, and enhances people’s ability to focus on their work when they return to the office.Read More

REI, ODOT & Sam Adams Win Leadership Awards

Congratulations to this year’s Friends of Trees Leadership Award Winners: REI, ODOT Region 1, and former Portland Mayor Sam Adams! The awards were presented at Friends of Trees’ annual leadership luncheon at the Multnomah Athletic Club on May 16. (Photos above were taken at the luncheon by Lucia DeLisa)

The largest consumer co-op in the nation, REI received the 2013 Business Leadership Award. Founded in the Northwest and committed to helping the communities where its stores are located, REI Portland and REI Eugene have generously supported Friends of Trees for 15 years now—in both the Portland and Eugene areas. To date, REI has donated more than $60,000 for our planting projects. Recently REI pledged another $20,000 in support of Friends of Trees planting projects this fall and winter.Read More

Friends of Trees Phone Bank for ‘Yes on Measure 26-152’ – May 9

This May, voters in the Portland-Metropolitan region will have the opportunity to support natural-areas stewardship on their ballots. Measure 26-152 is a natural-areas levy that will do all these things: enhance and restore our region’s highest value natural areas; maintain cold, clean water in our streams and rivers; provide critical habitat for salmon, birds, and other wildlife; and leave a nature-rich legacy for the next generation. Friends of Trees has made passing Measure 26-152 a priority. Help out by calling voters!

To pass Measure 26-152, we need to turn out supportive voters to the May 21 Special Election. Phone banks will make contact with known conservation voters to make sure they know to vote “yes” on Measure 26-152 this May. Friends of Trees is sponsoring a phone bank from 5:30-8:30 pm on Thursday, May 9, and we encourage all Friends of Trees volunteers, members and supporters to come out and help with this vital work.Read More

Happy Birthday to Friends of Trees Founder Richard Seidman!

Richard Seidman, 1993
FOT Founder Richard Seidman, accepting the 1993 Geo Award for Environmental Excellence for Friends of Trees (FOT file)

Congratulations to Friends of Trees Founder Richard Seidman, who celebrates his 60th birthday today! It would be difficult to measure the legacy that Richard has left already by founding the nonprofit Friends of Trees and directing us through our earlier years. Countless people have benefited from the nearly half a million trees that FOT volunteers have planted. We are grateful for Richard’s vision in founding Friends of Trees nearly 25 years ago.

Below is the message Richard wrote for the hundreds of Friends of Trees supporters who gathered on Nov. 15, 2009 to celebrate Friends of Trees’ 20th anniversary. And linked here is a reflection about Richard, written by Former Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder earlier this month for The 2011 Blog. Also below are slides from Friends of Trees’ 20th anniversary celebration, including many from the earlier years under Richard Seidman’s leadership.

Happy Birthday, Richard. We wish you many years of happy planting and growth ahead!Read More

Rep. Blumenauer Joins Portland Tree Planters Tomorrow

National Arbor Day Conference: 11.10.09, Nancy Buley and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer with FOT Board Member Nancy Buley at the Arbor Day Foundation's national conference in Portland, November 2009 (Toshio Suzuki)

Friends of Trees is honored that U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) will join our Portland planting in the Concordia and Vernon neighborhoods tomorrow. A long-time advocate for the environment and urban forestry, Rep. Blumenauer gave the keynote speech at the Arbor Day Foundation‘s annual conference in Portland four years ago. Below is his video message for the Alliance for Community Trees‘ NeighborWoods Month in October 2010.

Tomorrow, on the first Saturday of spring, Rep. Blumenauer will join homeowners and Friends of Trees volunteers as they plant 202 trees across two neighborhoods. The planting is sponsored by NW Natural and is part of Friends of Trees’ Plant It Portland! campaign, which was launched in 2010 to add thousands of trees to East Portland neighborhoods.Read More