The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon operates under the principal we are stronger together
APANO’s Policy Director Richa Poudyal talks about APANO’s goals for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project:
What is the #1 thing readers should know about APANO?
APANO envisions a just world where Asians and Pacific Islanders and communities who share our aspirations and struggles have the power, resources, and voice to determine our own futures, and where we work in solidarity to drive political, social, economic, and cultural change. For climate justice work, we are striving for BIPOC communities in Oregon to exercise self-determination to make decisions about how to move towards a more regenerative economy. We do this work in coalition and side by side with community members most impacted by the impacts of climate change.
Why is APANO involved in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project?
Within climate justice work, APANO is very interested in creating spaces and structure for place-based community organizing and advocacy. The RWJF project is such a special collaboration between Friends of Trees, PSU, and APANO; it’s collaborations like these that allow multiple organizations to contribute their respective strengths and power to support community members in achieving self determination around greening and localized climate justice work. APANO is so grateful to be a part of this project and to bring a community organizing lens and approach to greening outer East Portland, and to work with Friends of Trees which has the community connections, advocacy skills, and know-how around connecting to and planting trees as a part of a conservation and greening strategy.
What’s the community response to this project?
We are two months into our 12 month project, and are working with an incredible group of twelve community members who live in outer East Portland. Since the kick off of the project has coincided with the heat wave we’ve faced in Portland this year, much of the feedback so far has been around being glad to have a space to do something tangible and locally to actively tackle heat and air quality impacts of climate change that have already been prevalent for our neighbors in outer East Portland. Folks have also expressed gratitude to have the space to connect with others and grieve and process the changes in the land and air around us, mostly caused by humans.
What is the top result APANO would like to see from this project?
For APANO, the primary result that we want to see is community feeling empowered and resourced to both advocate for community-sourced solutions and to create and put forward solutions themselves, outside traditional decision-making institutions.
Thank you Richa! Learn more about APANO.
photo: APANO + Friends of Trees planting event in east Portland
A letter from executive director Yashar Vasef, with an update about community tree planting in Portland
It’s official: We need trees more than ever. Heatwaves, flooding, and all of the increasingly catastrophic effects of climate change make it clear that every day needs to be the day for climate action. Friends of Trees has been planting trees in neighborhoods and natural areas for 32 years; we’re planting street and yard trees that will shade our streets and cool our homes, prioritizing low-canopy, underserved neighborhoods, and we’re also planting native trees and shrubs to help restore sensitive natural areas.
Since 1989 we’ve planted more than 870,000 trees and native shrubs, and we’ve done this through engaging tens of thousands of community members, and while implementing and growing programming that aims to do this work inclusively and equitably.
“At a time when climate change is making heat waves more frequent and more severe, trees are stationary superheroes.” (New York Times, 7/2/2021)
It’s not enough. We are experiencing climate chaos, and trees are increasingly promoted as a major solution, which is why you may have seen Friends of Trees in the news recently. Some of that news focused on our 13 year partnership with the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.
It seemed until recently that funding for our work planting and caring for street and yard trees in Portland was ending, and our concern was that with our funding ending, and without funding being awarded to anyone for community tree planting, this critical work would be suspended for an unknown amount of time. And given climate change’s growing severity, we simply cannot afford to even temporarily pause community tree planting.
It is widely acknowledged that planting trees is a key part of a comprehensive climate strategy. It is our experience at Friends of Trees that planting trees with community members is also key to fighting climate change.
Planting and caring for trees increases community members’ engagement with the environment and overall participation in civic life, including engaging around climate action. There is a ripple effect from volunteering to plant trees that also fights climate change, beyond the actual trees. We expect to have quantitative data supporting this from the research we are conducting through our community grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, look for an update this winter.
We have since learned that we will receive gap funding to partially continue our Portland tree planting and care efforts through spring 2022, and our deepest thanks go to BES, and also to Commissioner Mingus Mapps’ office, which played a critical role in this positive development. However, there are some significant changes that if implemented would drastically change community tree planting in the City of Portland. As details firm up we will continue to keep you updated.
This particular contract is so important because so much of it has funded planting street trees. Trees play an invaluable role in combating heat islands brought on by climate change, and street trees especially so. Streets and concrete sidewalks absorb and retain heat, and release it at night; street trees help fight this effect and are crucial to cooling neighborhoods.
By now most of us are aware of the inequities with Portland’s tree canopy, one result of which is more heat islands in low-canopy/low-income/under-served neighborhoods. Friends of Trees prioritizes these neighborhoods and will continue to advocate for partnerships and practices that plant trees where they are needed most.
Looking past this upcoming season, BES has said they will issue a new RFP (Request For Proposals) for this sort of work–community tree planting and tree care–sometime this fall/winter, and our understanding is that, while they acknowledge the success of our partnership, they would like to engage other, diverse community partners. And to that we say, Yes!
We fully support BES taking on a new approach to their contracts in a way that prioritizes smaller and BIPOC organizations. It is our belief that uplifting such organizations in this work will make our mission stronger and brings all of us closer to climate justice by introducing voices at the table which were previously shut out. This is why Friends of Trees, during the evolution of our 13 year partnership with BES, has entered into partnerships in this work with organizations such as APANO, Blueprint Foundation, POIC, Verde, Wisdom of the Elders, and others.
Yes, BES (and all other public and private funders) should absolutely fund more community organizations in the fight against climate change and toward climate justice, and we fully support an open RFP process. As more funders work to diversify their support of community organizations, we encourage an approach that increases the funding pie (as in, make a bigger pie as opposed to cutting smaller slices) so more partners can be included. The planet is literally on fire and NOW is the time to increase investments in climate change.
Now we really have some work to do. We are preparing for the next planting season, and we’re doing so with significantly decreased funding and options for our largest urban tree planting site, the City of Portland. In October, when we kick off our 33rd season of planting and caring for trees as a community, we’ll be coming to you to ask that you support this work like never before, since this will be a season like never before.
A global pandemic, climate change, social injustice and political strife present our community with unprecedented challenges and often devastating impacts. As we all work together to re-envision our future, a future that is green, healthy, equitable and inclusive, we must ask all our policy makers and leaders where do their values lie. And do their budgets address an urgent climate crisis unlike anything humanity has experienced? For the sake of our communities, our natural habitats, climate refugees, wildlife, and the pale blue dot we call home, together, let’s ensure they are up to the task.
All my best,
Yashar Vasef, Executive Director
Photo, top: Gambel oak 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.
- 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!)
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.
Asociación para empleos y oportunidades en Verde ~ Partnering for jobs and opportunity with Verde (English version here)
“Las asociaciones como la que disfrutamos con la organización Friends of Trees (Amigos de los árboles) son las que realmente han hecho posible el modelo de iniciativa social de Verde. Las asociaciones como esta han permitido que nuestro programa proporcione empleos con salarios dignos, que cuentan con beneficios y oportunidades de capacitación, a muchas personas de bajos ingresos y personas de color que viven en el área de Portland”. —Ricardo Moreno, gerente de Verde Builds, exgerente de Verde Landscape
Al celebrar 30 años de árboles + comunidad, también debemos homenajear a nuestros notorios socios que intervienen para brindar apoyo siempre que hace más falta contar con una mano amiga.
Durante esta época del año con presencia de nieve y hielo, mantuvimos la calma sabiendo que, incluso con las cancelaciones de los eventos, nuestros socios en Verde Northwest estarían ahí para sacarnos del apuro.
Verde brinda servicio a las comunidades al crear riqueza ambiental a través de iniciativas sociales, promoción comunitaria y defensa. Desde el año 2005, Verde aporta nuevas inversiones ambientales a los vecindarios de Portland, involucra a miembros de la comunidad en la planificación y el desarrollo de tales inversiones, y colabora para garantizar que las personas de bajos ingresos y las personas de color se beneficien directamente de las inversiones en espacios verdes, hábitat, eficiencia energética y energía renovable, calles verdes, instalaciones de gestión de aguas pluviales, educación ambiental, empleos verdes y empresas verdes.
“Cuesta creerlo, pero este año se conmemora el 10.º aniversario de la asociación entre Verde y Friends of Trees. Recuerdo vívidamente el invierno de 2009 cuando Verde Landscape recibió el primer encargo de Friends of Trees para plantar árboles en sitios comerciales Era algo realmente nuevo para nosotros y, personalmente, me sentí un poco intimidado, pero con la ayuda y la capacitación que recibimos de nuestros grandes socios y amigos de Friends of Trees, la plantación de árboles en el área metropolitana de Portland se convirtió rápidamente en una de las actividades favoritas de Verde Landscape, y, en la actualidad, estamos orgullosos de decir que Verde ayudó a Friends of Trees a plantar miles de árboles en toda el área de Portland.
“Las asociaciones como la que disfrutamos con la organización Friends of Trees (Amigos de los árboles) son las que realmente han hecho posible el modelo de iniciativa social de Verde. Las asociaciones como esta han permitido que nuestro programa proporcione empleos con salarios dignos, que cuentan con beneficios y oportunidades de capacitación, a muchas personas de bajos ingresos y personas de color que viven en el área de Portland. Nuestro programa también ofrece oportunidades para que los miembros de nuestro equipo hagan la transición a empleos mejor remunerados, no solo en Verde, sino también en otras organizaciones locales. Este programa también abre el camino a oportunidades laborales que los conectan con el ambiente natural y que restauran las áreas verdes en los vecindarios donde viven, normalmente los vecindarios que carecen de los beneficios ambientales de los vecindarios céntricos de Portland”. —Ricardo Moreno, gerente de Verde Builds, exgerente de Verde Landscape
Cuando cancelamos una plantación debido a las condiciones climáticas, ¡el impacto es inmenso! Debemos comunicarnos con los voluntarios, cambiar el destino de plantación de árboles, posponer las donaciones de alimentos, los anillos de riego se vuelven viejos… y la lista continúa. Deben hacerse cientos de llamadas telefónicas, y nuestro equipo trabaja con mucho esfuerzo para organizar todo, hasta el último detalle.
Algunos eventos pueden reprogramarse, pero otros son demasiado complejos para contar con esa flexibilidad. En tales casos, con el apoyo económico de nuestros socios de la Oficina de Servicios Ambientales de la ciudad de Portland, nuestros amigos de Verde plantan los árboles que, de lo contrario, no podrían plantarse en Portland. Ellos acuden a la oficina, recogen los árboles y se van. Esta asociación nos permite reenfocarnos en el próximo evento importante, mientras se plantan los árboles cuanto antes.
Otro aspecto notable de trabajar con Verde fue el proyecto conjunto A New Forest Grows (Nace un nuevo bosque) que permitió plantar más de 4,000 árboles a lo largo del sendero multiuso de la Interestatal 205 para crear un circuito natural verde para peatones, ciclistas y las comunidades vecinas. Verde trabajó con mucho esmero para mantener los árboles en estos lugares desafiantes, con agua y cuidados. Esta asociación entre el Consejo Metropolitano, el Departamento de Transporte de Oregon y Verde se ha convertido en un modelo para otros proyectos y continuará brindando beneficios durante muchos años.
Recientemente, Verde también se asoció con Friends of Trees para fortalecer nuestro Programa de capacitación en silvicultura urbana para adultos (que ha sido posible gracias al financiamiento del Distrito de Conservación de Suelo y Agua de East Multnomah). Verde nominó a cuatro personas de su red para que participen en nuestro programa de capacitación y pasantías durante el último período de otoño-invierno. Este programa ofrece la oportunidad de establecer contactos y de estar expuestos a empleos en el campo ambiental, especialmente en silvicultura urbana y trabajos de restauración. Mediante esta asociación, Verde también acoge a un pasante en su organización.
“Admiro realmente el trabajo que ha realizado Friends of Trees a lo largo de todos estos años al reunir a la comunidad y hacer que nuestros espacios sean más verdes, más saludables y más hermosos. Me siento honrado de haber formado parte de esta gran asociación y espero seguir trabajando y colaborando juntos durante muchos años más para el bienestar de nuestras comunidades y de nuestro ambiente”. —Ricardo Moreno
“It’s really partnerships like the one we enjoy with Friends of Trees that have made Verde’s social enterprise model possible. Partnerships like this have allowed our program to provide living wage jobs with benefits and training opportunities to many low-income and people of color living in the Portland area.” –Ricardo Moreno, Verde Builds Manager
As we celebrate 30 years of trees + community, we must also celebrate our incredible partners who step in to support wherever a helping hand is needed most.
During this season’s icy & snowy conditions we took a deep breath knowing that even with event cancellations, our partners at Verde Northwest would be there to save the day.
Verde serves communities by building environmental wealth through social enterprise, outreach, and advocacy. Since 2005, Verde has brought new environmental investments to Portland’s neighborhoods; involved community members in the planning and building of these investments; and has helped ensure that low-income people and people of color directly benefit from investments in greenspaces, habitat, energy efficiency and renewable energy, green streets, stormwater management facilities, environmental education, green jobs, and green businesses.
“It’s hard to believe but this year marks the 10th anniversary of Verde and Friends of Trees partnership. I vividly remember the winter of 2009 when Verde Landscape received its first tree planting assignment on commercial sites from Friends of Trees. It was all very new to us and I personally felt a bit intimidated by it, but with the help and training we received from our great partners and friends at Friends of Trees, planting trees in the Portland Metro area quickly became one of Verde Landscape’s favorite activities and now we’re proud to say that Verde has helped Friends of Trees plant thousands of trees all over Portland.
“It’s really partnerships like the one we enjoy with Friends of Trees that have made Verde’s social enterprise model possible. Partnerships like this have allowed our program to provide living wage jobs with benefits and training opportunities to many low-income and people of color living in the Portland area. Our program also provides opportunities for our crew members to transition to higher paying jobs, not only within Verde but also with other local organizations. This program also creates pathways to job opportunities that connect them to the natural environment and restore landscapes in the neighborhoods they live in, typically neighborhoods that lack the environmental benefits of Portland’s inner neighborhoods.” -Ricardo Moreno, Verde Builds Manager (Previously Verde Landscape Manager)
When we cancel a planting due to the weather, the impacts are huge! Volunteers must be contacted, trees re-routed, food donations put on hold, donuts grow old … the list goes on. Hundreds of phone calls must be made and our team works diligently until every last detail has been taken care of.
Some events can be rescheduled, but others are just too complex to allow us that flexibility. In these cases, with financial support from our partners at The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services, our friends at Verde plant the trees that were otherwise unable to be planted in Portland. They come to the office, pick up the trees, and off they go. This partnership allows us to refocus on the next big event, while getting trees into the ground as soon as possible.
Another highlight of working with Verde was the A New Forest Grows collaborative that planted more than 4,000 trees along the I-205 multi-use path to create a green buffer for pedestrians, cyclists, and the neighboring communities. Verde worked diligently to support the trees in these challenging sites with water and care. This partnership with Metro, ODOT, and Verde has become a model for other projects and will continue to provide benefits for years to come.
Recently, Verde has also partnered with Friends of Trees to strengthen our Adult Urban Forestry Training Program (made possible thanks to funding from East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District). Verde nominated four individuals from their network to participate in our paid training and internship program this past fall and winter. This program provides networking and exposure to jobs in the environmental field, particularly in urban forestry and restoration work. Verde is also hosting an intern at their location through this partnership.
“I truly admire the work that Friends of Trees has done through all these years by bringing community together and making our spaces greener, healthier and more beautiful. I’m honored to have been a part of this great partnership and I look forward to many more years of working and collaborating together for the well-being of our communities and our environment.” –Ricardo Moreno
photo credit: left and right photos courtesy of Verde, center photo courtesy of City of Portland, BES.
“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 life: trees provide oxygen!
Endurance, strength: trees can live to be hundreds, thousands of years old.
Protection: trees clean our air and water and help make us healthy.
Good luck: to 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!