Volunteer Spotlight: Martha, SE Portland Neighborhood Coordinator

Today I introduce you to Martha: Neighborhood Coordinator to SE Portland’s Laurelhurst neighborhood and all-around amazing member of our Tree Team. [But before I get too far, if you don’t know what a Neighborhood Coordinator is and why they make our Neighborhood Trees planting events successful year after year, get in the know!]

Recently, Martha and I talked about trees, party-planning, how great it feels to meet new people in your neighborhood, and why we’ve been lucky enough to have her volunteer as a Neighborhood Coordinator year after year.

Read the interview below and get hip to Martha and her connection to Neighborhood Coordinating.

SE Portland Neighborhood Coordinators

Martha (second from the right) and the Neighborhood Coordinator team, posing next to the community potluck lunch at their tree planting event.

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What a Great Season to be a Neighborhood Coordinator, You Should Consider Joining the TEAM!

Susan, rockin’ NC

Well it is sunny for once in Oregon and I’m glad it’s not too hot since I know the trees aren’t huge fans of 90 degree heat for multiple days. Although, that’s not the case for humans but you can’t have it all. Enough of the weather, I want to talk to you all about an exciting volunteer role that we are recruiting for here at Friends of Trees. We are looking for folks to jump into the role of Neighborhood Coordinator! But what does a Neighborhood Coordinator entail? Great question!

Here is a brief explanation of what the volunteer role might look for you:  Together, NCs and Friends of Trees staff guide neighborhood plantings from beginning to end. No need to be an expert! Interested volunteers will be trained and supported throughout the planting that you will be coordinating. Together with staff, you will:

  • Help coordinate one neighborhood planting per year (November-April);
  • Respond to homeowner inquiries by email & phone;
  • Make phone calls to homeowners that have not ordered their tree(s) to help them make their decision;
  • Solicit pick-up trucks or open trailer pullers from neighbors;
  • Recruit additional volunteers (Takes quite a few volunteers for one planting);
  • Solicit food/monetary donations from the community for breakfast/lunch;
  • Set up/coordinate breakfast & lunch for the volunteers on planting day

This is just a brief snapshot of what the volunteer role could be for you! We need NCs in these neighborhoods below:

Here are a few pictures that illustrate the results of what NCs accomplish:

Volunteers checking in the morning of a Neighborhood Trees planting
Folks unloading trees to be planted by happy volunteers
Tree in the ground with the support of smiley volunteers
Volunteers enjoying the potluck lunch after the planting…hard work pays off!










If you know of anyone interested in the role (or yourself) and happen to be in a neighborhood listed in the table above please send them our way, share this blog with them, and cross your fingers that they sign up for the role with our handy registration form. REMEMBER, the best way to share volunteer opportunities is still through word of mouth (or text since that’s how folks seem to communicate nowadays). 

Hope you continue to have a great Summer and kudos to you for making it through this detailed blog post!!


Pablo Brito is the Volunteer & Outreach Specialist for Friends of Trees



‘A great reward for the effort’: Volunteer Christopher Masciocchi Shares Why it is Great to Be a Neighborhood Coordinator

If volunteering with Friends of Trees has been on your radar or you are just looking for ways to contribute to your community–you are in the right place! Friends of Trees is seeking dedicated volunteers for a variety of roles in the coming planting season.

Today we are highlighting Christopher Masciocchi, volunteer Neighborhood Coordinator to East Portland’s Hazelwood neighborhood. Chris excels in this diverse role of community buildingevent planning, and local tree advocacy. Chris has a lot of great things to share about the Neighborhood Coordinator role and has been gracious enough to share them with us. Check out his interview below and discover if this is the volunteer role you’ve been searching for!

“The Neighborhood Coordinator role is a great one because it means interacting with the Friends of Trees staff, local businesses that want to support their efforts, the neighbors looking to plant trees, and the many volunteers that just want
to help.”

Current Needs for Neighborhood Coordinators exist in many Portland neighborhoods east of 82nd Ave: Lents, Centennial, Glenfair, Sumner, and Parkrose. Click HERE to read more and sign up to be a Neighborhood Coordinator if you live in one of the listed East, Northeast neighborhoods listed above.

Onward to the interview!

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An open call for Neighborhood Coordinators

You may have heard that Friends of Trees plants thousands of street and yard trees each year in the Portland-Vancouver metro area. It’s kind of our thing. It’s cold, wet, muddy business and in the heart of winter, no less! But did you know that even before we get out our shovels and gloves, there’s an incredible team of community members that’s already been working to make these plantings a success? I’m talking about our volunteer Neighborhood Coordinators, our behind the scenes superheros, and this is an open call for new recruits!

One of our large SE Portland Neighborhood Coordinator teams making plans around the kitchen table
One of our large SE Portland Neighborhood Coordinator teams making plans around the kitchen table

Neighborhood Coordinators (NCs) are Friends of Trees liaisons in their neighborhood,  encouraging neighbors to get trees, helping them select the trees that are right for their space/interests, and then helping manage the planting day for their neighborhood. They never go it alone – our staff and other neighboring NCs are there to work alongside new NCs!

We train incoming Neighborhood Coordinators on an individual or small-group basis. Once trained by our staff on our tree-ordering system and planting event timelines, NCs bring their own personal flare to the role, encouraging their community to come together around trees. It’s a great way to gain leadership skills, build a deeper relationship with your neighborhood, and have a super fun time while bringing the benefits of trees to all. Groovy? Sign up now to join our tree team as a Neighborhood Coordinator in your area this season (sign-up deadline is Sept 1st — but don’t wait to sign-up if you’re interested!).

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More trees on the horizon for Vancouver!

Friends of Trees will be on Vancouver’s Westside on February 21st. You can plant with us and learn more about how we work with local communities to plant trees together, by visiting our volunteer page.

The Port of Vancouver USA is partnering with Friends of Trees Friends to grow the Vancouver urban tree canopy. We’ll be working with The Port to help plant trees across the city as part of their efforts to mitigate property development impacts. Thanks to this new agreement, FoT is aiming to increase the number of street trees it plants along the city’s right of ways – a.k.a. planting strips.

A mitigation tree is a wonky term used for a tree that is planted to replace one that’s been cut down elsewhere. Most cities require mitigation trees to be planted as a condition of development. Preferably, a tree is on the same property a tree was removed from but if this isn’t possible, there are other options: The City of Vancouver allows trees to be planted at other locations within city limits as a condition of removing trees. Paying into Vancouver’s Tree Fund is another option, though often more costly.

3.15.14 :: NE Vancouver Neighborhood Planting

Many of these street trees that we’ll be planting are funded by The Port and will be of no cost to homeowners. The care and responsibility of these new trees will remain under stewardship of the adjacent property owner. FoT provides watering reminders and health checkups to help these trees thrive.  FoT also offers ooze tubes to help make watering easy and convenient!

Because we entered this agreement nearly halfway through this year’s planting season, we’re offering FREE STREET TREES to all customers for our remaining neighborhood plantings now through March 2015. Starting next planting season, Friends of Trees will be offering free street trees to select neighborhoods throughout the city—a list that will change on an annual basis. Please help spread the news and stay posted for the release of next year’s free tree neighborhoods in early summer. From this moment forth, we’ll need more help than ever identifying planting locations and recruiting tree planters in Vancouver!