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’ first bilingual planting ~ El Primer Evento Bilingüe de Plantar árboles de Friends of Trees

[an English translation follows]

Con muchas primeras experiencias para todos, nuestros compañeros del Sandy River Watershed Council nos ayudaron crear un día recordable.

El tercero de Febrero del 2018, 90 voluntarios se reunieron a plantar 1,200 árboles y arbustos en el Sandy River Delta de Troutdale, Oregon. Mientras la acción de plantar árboles es normal para Friends of Trees, este evento fue el primero de muchos momentos especiales: nuestro primer evento bilingüe (español) y el primer evento de plantar en la Delta con solo plantas adaptadas al clima.

Friends of Trees y el Sandy River Watershed Council están dedicados a proviendo eventos cuáles son inclusivos por todos. También estamos comprometidos a compartir los beneficios de árboles con las comunidades diversas con quien trabajamos. Dado nuestra población que sigue creciendo en diversidad, el tiempo para expandir eventos es hoy, no en el futuro. Así que el SRWC nos pidió que trataramos de organizar un evento en Español y Inglés en colaboración.  Friends of Trees y el Sandy River Watershed Council tienen empleados que hablan Español-Inglés e igual que voluntarios que ayudan en estos eventos. Y con la fundación de el Wildlife Conservation Society’s Climate Adaptation Fundse pudo realizar la compra de las plantas que usamos para este evento. Como un rompecabezas, todas las piezas ya estaban formando un imagen de éxito.

Pablo Brito, Especialista de Voluntarios, y Carey Aroonsuck, Asistente Administrativo y Voluntario, llevaron la responsabilidad a organizar los logísticos del evento bilingüe por Friends of Trees. Ellos tradujeron materiales como instrucciones como plantar; buscaron Crew Leaders bilingües; compartieron la oportunidad por canales de español e inglés; y trabajaron con Sara Ennis, Community Stewardship Coordinator a Sandy River Watershed Council, hacer un plan para el día de plantar. Pablo también hizo conexiones con un compañero de Latino Network quien quería traer un grupo de estudiantes al evento.

El dia empezó con una introducción en inglés y español dado por Anne Marie Santos, Especialista Mayor de Green Space. Steve Wise, Director ejecutivo de SRWC, dio un mensaje de bienvenido en inglés y español también. ¡Entonces, la diversion empezó! Arboles como la pina ponderosa y arbustos como snowberry fueron plantado por su habilidad a sobrevivir en climás más secos y calurosos.

En el equipo hispanohablante, cual tuvo 20+ voluntarios, la mayoría de los jóvenes plantaron su primer árbol en este día. Había un sentimiento común entre los muchachos quienes estuvieron interesados en regresar al sitio y ver como crecen los árboles que han plantado. Y también, ellos compartieron su interés en ser voluntarios otra vez en el futuro.

“¡Que divertido! No sabía que divertido e interesante este evento seria. Quiero hacerlo otra vez.” -Miguel, edad 14

El evento fue especial para los padres en el grupo también. Hace muchos años que viven aquí en Oregón, pero este día fue la primera vez en mucho tiempo que podría disfrutar y plantar en la naturaleza como lo hicieron en su país natal.

“Hoy fue fantastico—plantar en este lugar tan linda, trabajar con la tierra otra vez, y hacer todo con mis hijos…momentos preciosos.” -Guadalupe, la Madre de Miguel

Nuestro primer evento bilingüe fue hecho solo por las esfuerzas de todos los equipos—Friends of Trees y el Sandy River Watershed Council. Ahora, miramos a las oportunidades que vienen para aplicar las lecciones de este primer evento a eventos futuros de ambos programas—Green Space y Neighborhood Trees.

~

Partner Sandy River Watershed Council helped create a memorable day of firsts

On February 3rd this year 90 volunteers came together to plant 1,200 trees and shrubs in the Sandy River Delta. Yes, this is a regular occurrence for Friends of Trees, but this planting featured some exciting firsts: our first bilingual planting and the first planting at the Delta with only climate adaptive plants.

Friends of Trees and the Sandy River Watershed Council are committed to events that are welcoming for all; we’re also committed to sharing the benefits of trees with diverse communities. Given our region’s diversifying population, the time was right to expand our horizons, so SRWC reached out about a Spanish-English bilingual event. Both Friends of Trees and the Sandy River Watershed Council have bilingual Spanish-English staff and volunteers, and funding from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Climate Adaptation Fundtook care of the plants, so all of the pieces for this unique event were in place.

Friends of Trees staff member Carey Aroonsuck took the lead in organizing the bilingual planting on the FOT side. Carey worked with fellow staffer Pablo Brito to translate necessary materials; secure bilingual crew leaders; connect with the Latino Network and conduct other culturally-specific outreach about the volunteer opportunity; and coordinate planting day logistics with SRWC staff, who also recruited volunteer planters.

Planting day began with a bilingual introduction from FOT staffer Anne Marie Santos and SRWC Executive Director Steve Wise. Then the volunteers broke into their planting crews and the fun started! We planted trees and shrubs such as Snowberries and Ponderosa Pine, chosen specifically for their ability to survive in a warmer, drier climate.

Of the 20+ volunteers on the Spanish-speaking crew, a majority of the youth planted their first tree that day. Many of the young volunteers shared their excitement about returning to visit the trees they planted, and about volunteering again:

This is so much fun, I didn’t know this could be so much fun! I want to come back.” -Miguel, age 14

For some of the parents in the group, who grew up in Mexico and have been in the US for many years, this was the first time since they’ve been in this country that they were able to get out into nature and plant something:

“This was just so nice to be able to plant again, and to work with soil again, out in the fresh air. And to plant with my children is extra special.” -Guadalupe, Miguel’s mom

This event was a true team-effort, among Friends of Trees program staff and with project partner Sandy River Watershed Council. We look forward to applying the lessons-learned to provide bilingual events in the future across both our Neighborhood Trees and Green Space programs. Stay tuned!

This is an excerpt from the March 2018 edition of Treemail, read the entire issue here.