Welcoming the return of the sun … with trees

“Each Friends of Trees planting event is a series of moments, whether it’s somebody seeing a lizard, or a kid planting their first tree, or people who just happened to be walking by pitching in to help. One of the best moments is at the end of the day when everyone has a big smile on their face because they’ve really accomplished something: they planted trees.” Matt, Friends of Trees volunteer

     Did you know that the oldest tree in the world is 5,062 years old? It’s a Pinus longaeva (Great Basin bristlecone pine) and it’s in California.

     While we can’t claim with certainty that Friends of Trees just planted the newest tree in the world, it is possible, at least for a moment on any given Saturday, October-April, that we did indeed just plant the newest tree in the world. That’s another Friends of Trees moment: adding a tree–to our region, to our planet. And there are more than 50,000 moments like that every tree planting season.

     As we celebrate the Winter Solstice and welcome the return of the sun we’re thinking about the various ways the shortest day of the year is celebrated, especially, of course, the celebrations that include trees. We’ve learned that some Winter Solstice celebrations include specific trees that have specific meanings; for instance, for some observants evergreens symbolize continuity of life, and oak trees symbolize endurance, strength, protection, and good luck.

     We love this. Here’s how Friends of Trees interprets these special meanings of evergreens and oaks:

Continuity of lifetrees provide oxygen!

Endurance, strengthtrees can live to be hundreds, thousands of years old.

Protectiontrees clean our air and water and help make us healthy.

Good luckto me, it’s clear: the more trees we have, the luckier we are.

     A recent paper by U.S. Forest Service scientists* reported that metropolitan areas in the U.S. are losing more than 30 million trees each year. This is tragic, but thanks to Friends of Trees’ friends and supporters, we’re not fretting, we’re taking action and tackling this loss, together, one moment at a time, one tree at a time – at more than 50,000 moments, and 50,000 trees, every year. You can help us take positive action through making a donation to Friends of Trees today! Your support helps grow our urban canopy, restore sensitive natural areas, and helps build community through planting trees – together.

     Happy Solstice to you and yours, we  look forward to longer days, the return of the sun, and more trees – join us!

We’re hiring!

Love trees? Looking for meaningful work in a supportive, fun work environment? Then check out our opening for a Neighborhood Trees Specialist.

Neighborhood Trees Specialists implement community-based, neighborhood street tree planting projects in collaboration with volunteer Neighborhood Coordinators, Neighborhood Associations and other partner groups in accordance with the Friends of Trees’ mission. Ideal candidates will be personable, creative and adaptable; have a background or interest in community tree planting and care; able to juggle multiple priorities at once; and have a desire to work with diverse communities and individuals of all backgrounds.

Interested? Details here.

‘Tis the season for Give!Guide – a delicious way to donate

Willamette Week’s Give!Guide is an annual fundraiser for Friends of Trees + other great causes

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 get a shot at fabulous incentives like Trail Blazers tickets, vacation packages, and more. Please give, and THANK YOU!

56,000 trees & shrubs planted last season!

Our 2018 planting season was one for the record books! More than 7,000 volunteers donated 40,000 hours to plant 56,000 trees and native shrubs.

Picture this: 52 acres. 482 basketball courts. Or, 50 soccer fields. That’s what 56,000 trees can fill.*

Now picture $987,600. That’s the value of 40,000 volunteer hours.**

Here are some highlights from the 2017-18 planting season:

  • Our first bilingual planting took place in the Sandy River Delta.
  • Our second bilingual planting took place in NE Portland’s Cully neighborhood.
  • In our Green Space Program (51,798 seedlings & native shrubs planted!), we had our first events in Salem’s new Minto Brown Island Park; we had our first planting in Cornelius; we hosted our second Touchdowns for Trees planting in Eugene-Springfield (Go Ducks!); and we didn’t have to cancel a single event (thank you Mother Nature!).
  • The Neighborhood Trees Program (4,451 street & yard trees planted!) returned to Gresham after eight years; we worked with APANO to host Vietnamese and Chinese focus groups to address potential barriers to program participation; we have more Summer Inspectors in more neighborhoods doing more tree care checks than ever before; and we have a larger outreach staff than ever before, going door-to-door spreading the word about our program and helping folks get a tree of their own.

Our 2019 planting season begins in October and the calendar of volunteer planting eventswill be ready in Septemberwe look forward to planting trees with you next season!

Want to read more? This article appeared in the summer edition of Treemail, our e-news, read more here.

Rough estimates, based on a mid-range of 1,000 seedlings per acre for the seedlings used in our reforestation work, and somewhat less acreage for the larger street and yard trees we plant.

**  The national value of a volunteer hour for 2018 is $24.69, per The Independent Sector.

Learn how trees help make us healthy

Do you know how increased exposure to nature creates countless health benefits?

Join us for a free Trees & Health event–in Portland, Salem and Eugene

Trees benefit people, creatures and the planet in ways too numerous to list here. We know that trees combat climate change, clean our air and water, create habitat, grow food … Trees do so much that it’s no surprise that trees improve our health, too—but it’s only relatively recently that we’ve learned just how much trees contribute to human health. Friends of Trees is now using that knowledge to implement programming specific to trees and health.

Thanks to a 2016 funding award from Metro, Friends of Trees has expanded our community tree-plantings to include Portland’s Northwest Industrial District, focusing on projects to directly impact human health. Our goal is adding green infrastructure to this area that has an abundance of concrete and a dearth of green. These plantings will also forge a stronger connection between the Industrial District and Forest Park, which is so close yet so disconnected from this part of town; adding trees in the industrial section contributes to a green corridor, channeling the benefits of the park to the industrial district.

How do trees make us healthy? Patients in hospitals heal more quickly if they have a view of trees and nature; people are more likely to get out and walk and run through tree-lined communities; babies in tree-lined neighborhoods are more likely to have a healthy birth weight; exposure to greenspaces can reduce blood pressure and stress levels; views of natural settings have been found to reduce crime and aggression … to list just a few.

Yes, the trees we plant here will improve our health, but so will the way we plant those trees. Our community tree-planting program is implemented with thousands of volunteers, many of whom have never volunteered before. And guess what? Volunteering is good for your health, too! Volunteering makes us happy, contributes to more satisfied employees, decreases the risk of depression, reduces stress levels, and more!

And to help these trees grow and thrive, Friends of Trees will water, mulch and prune these new trees for their first two years in the ground. This is slow and steady work, and we are excited to continue growing this program over time.

There’s another component to this project: Scientists. Presentations by experts are a part of our Trees and Health work. It’s an exciting time, with new research coming out regularly, and we look forward to sharing this important information with our community.

Learn more about trees and health.

JOIN US FOR A FREE TREES & HEALTH EVENT

Guest lecturer Dr. Kathy Wolf of the University of Washington explores how nearby nature improves environmental, social, and economic conditions in cities

  • Portland, March 1, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Salem, March 2, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Eugene, March 3, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Location and registration information.

This is an excerpt from our February Treemail, read the entire issue here.