Training available for key volunteer positions with the Tree Team!

Help us get ready for our 33rd season of planting and caring for trees!

We have training opportunities for key volunteer positions, no experience necessary:

JC & Jimena, pruning stars!

Pruning training sessions – learn to prune!

  • Oregon City, 9/25, 9am-12pm: The training is designed for OC residents, but all are welcome
  • Wilsonville, 10/2, 9am-12pm: The training is designed for Wilsonville residents, but all are welcome

Remember back in February when the massive ice storm left so much tree destruction in its wake? Did you know that proper structural pruning when a tree is young is a tool you can use to help mitigate major tree failures from wind and ice storms?

Thanks to funding through the City of Oregon City and the Oregon City Community Enhancement Grant, FOT is offering a free, young-tree structural pruning workshop! This workshop will teach you how to identify pruning needs, how and when to prune trees, how to use different tools (no chainsaws!), and more.

How do I register? Visit our online calendar, click on the event, and fill out the quick registration form to reserve your place. Space is limited.

What will the training be like? Participants will learn from and practice alongside FOT staff and experienced FOT pruning volunteers as they prune young trees. Participants will also receive educational materials that provide more information on basic pruning techniques, how structural pruning can be used to improve tree resiliency, and the importance of young tree care and a healthy urban forest.

What about Covid-19? Friends of Trees continues to take safety very seriously and are using the following precautions at this time:

  • All volunteers are required to be fully-vaccinated against Covid-19, and willing to show proof at their event if asked. OR are not eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine at the time of their event (e.g. due to being under 12 years old, or severely immunocompromised).
  • All volunteers and staff wear a properly fitted mask to the event and through event introductions. After crews split off and are more spread out pruning, those who prefer are welcome to remove their masks as long as they can remain 6’+ apart.  
  • If you feel unwell within 2 weeks of the event, please cancel your volunteer registration.
  • Please bring your own food and snacks, there will likely not be any shared food or drinks provided by FOT, we hope to return to shared coffee and breakfast snacks as soon as it is safer to do so!
  • FOT is committed to limiting the risk of exposure for our volunteers and staff in every possible way while continuing to prune, plant, and bring people together safely outdoors. For a full list of our Covid-19 protocol, please see our Volunteer FAQ page.

 


Crew Leader Training – lead teams of tree planters!

You can always spot a Friends of Trees Crew Leader through the impressive vest.

If you are looking for a way to combat climate change and create a more equitable community, you might just be a future Friends of Trees Crew Leader!

If you want to lead the public to plant trees in parks and neighborhoods that don’t have as many, you might be a future Friends of Trees Crew Leader!

If you want to make a lasting, positive change in a fun and physical(ly-distanced) way and you don’t mind working in the mud and rain, then you might be ready to become a Friends of Trees Crew Leader!

And we hope you do — all are welcome!

Visit our Crew Leader training webpage to see your online and in-person training options.  Space is limited, register soon to hold your spot at one of these fun Fall trainings!

Volunteer Spotlight: Martha & the Neighborhood Coordinator role

As part of our series shining the spotlight on some folks who make all this community tree planting possible, here’s Martha, a Neighborhood Coordinator!

Martha Irvinve (She/Her, second from right) volunteers as a Neighborhood Coordinator, which is a crucial volunteer role in a typical season. NCs work closely with staff members to help answer questions from tree recipients, create outreach strategies, and they help organize the annual neighborhood planting day.

Martha has been NCing and helping FOT prep for planting events for about nine years now; she shares a little about her experience:

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with Friends of Trees?

A: I’ve been volunteering in various capacities for a wide variety of organizations since my Girl Scout days. I fell in love with volunteering for Friends of Trees because the results of our efforts are so tangible. Also, FOT has a clear vision of what it wants/needs from its volunteers so I always felt productive. Previously, with other organizations, I have had the experience of showing up to volunteer for some activity and the organizers would try to come up with what I might be able to do. Not so with Friends of Trees, there the mission is clear and the tasks well defined.

What advice would you give to other NCs who are fresh into their role?

When we step up to volunteer, we all bring different skills to the table. I would say to begin as NC take on those tasks that you feel comfortable with. As you grow in the role try on some tasks to challenge yourself. For me that was stepping up to say something at the plantings = I do not like public speaking but it’s not so bad when you are talking about something that you are passionate about.

Do you have any volunteer memories that stand out?

A favorite memory is of planting one year with a family who lives around the corner from me. I was out planting that day with a crew that included said family. The two children were about 3 and 6 and they came along with their parents. The 3 year old girl was intrigued by the earth worms in the ground and the 6 year old boy enjoyed digging a bit and then helping compact the soil after the tree was in the ground. The children seemed to delight in helping. But the best part was later when I saw their mother in the neighborhood and she said that her kids knew exactly which trees they had helped plant and they continued to point them out. What’s better than getting kids into planting trees?!

Learn more about the amazingness of Neighborhood Coordinators here. We’ll know more soon about NCs will participate in our upcoming season so keep an eye on this page. Thank you Martha, and all NCs!

Volunteer Spotlight: hello JP!

 

An incredibly challenging planting season has come to a close and we are indebted to many people who went above and beyond to help make sure 21,000 trees + native shrubs were planted. We’ll be highlighting a few of these folks over the coming months, volunteers who really made a difference, despite the obstacles.

MEET JP!

JP Perrine (they/them) started volunteering in Fall 2016 after they moved to Portland, and has been a force to be reckoned with ever since. In JP’s own words:

“I’d moved from Iowa, one of the most deforested states in the country, and I’d chosen to relocate to Oregon in part because of the bounty of forest cover here. I felt so deeply appreciative to have access to so much urban canopy, and I wanted to help ensure that other folks here have access to green spaces. As a newly minted Oregonian, volunteering was also a great way to get my bearings, to meet people from all over the Portland metro area, and to learn about the many local groups involved in habitat restoration and environmental health.

“I joined as a Crew Leader because I love helping people learn and creating welcoming spaces. This year, since plantings have mostly included only FOT staff and Crew Leaders, instead of checking in with volunteers, I’ve mostly been just digging in and planting trees. It’s a very different experience, but it’s helped me be more present and in the moment, enjoying the feel of the dirt, the birdsong, the burble of nearby creeks, the occasional startled wildlife (hello, snakes!), and even sometimes the rain and swampy ground!

“One of my favorite memories was planting at Memorial Park in Wilsonville in December. We were mostly planting understory in an existing forest, and I was delighted to discover that the trees in that forest had been planted by FOT volunteers only a decade or two ago. It was inspiring to see how much change had happened in a relatively short period of time, and it helped me envision what the fields where I’ve planted would look like in years to come. And it was equally inspiring to be planting alongside people who’d put some of those first trees in the ground!”

Do you have any advice for other Crew Leaders?

“At pre-COVID plantings, one of the things I emphasized most during the Crew huddles was that every volunteer should go at their own pace and take as many breaks as they wanted or needed to. Breaks to drink water, to eat a snack, to warm up, to switch out wet gloves for dry ones, to chat with other volunteers. But this year at the first few events, without a crew to check in with, I turned into a nonstop planting machine … which was fun until my body reminded me that I have been sitting a lot more than usual during this COVID year, and that I was suddenly planting way more than I usually did! Plantings have been much more fun since I’ve reminded myself to follow my own advice: take a break, drink some water, grab a snack, find a secluded spot to take a mask-off breather, go see how the other Crew Leaders are faring, enjoy being outside on a Saturday morning.”

Planting manager, Harrison Layer, agrees, “When I think of JP, I think of someone who is dedicated to the task at hand and someone who sees through the varied scenarios that can be presented in a day (like chipping through bundles of bareroot plants on steep hillsides or planting water-loving plants in a splashy wetland—just some examples that come to mind!). I also think of JP as someone who isn’t too serious to laugh or share a story, either. Glad to work with them when I get the opportunity to do so! :^)”

Thank you, JP, for offering your insatiable energy, integrity, and wisdom. As Harrison says, volunteers and staff alike are glad to work with you whenever we get the opportunity!

Photo: That’s JP on the left, with former FOT Urban Forestry intern Alvey on the right.

Volunteer Spotlight

 

An incredibly challenging planting season has come to a close and we are indebted to many people who went above and beyond to help make sure 21,000 trees + native shrubs were planted. We’ll be highlighting a few of these folks over the coming months, volunteers who really made a difference, despite the obstacles.

Meet Mallory Pratt!

Mallory (she/her) started volunteering back in 2013. Ever since she’s been a powerhouse planting, pruning, summer inspecting where it’s most needed. When it comes to community tree work Mallory does it all! In her own words:

I love trees and Friends of Trees is an amazing organization that puts science and civics and people and fun all together to give our urban landscape more of them! How could I not volunteer?

C19 reminded me that the people part is just as important as the tree part! Not just cause it’s harder to plant a tree by yourself, but because sharing tree love with others and learning together is so much fun:) That and I soooo miss the lunch potluck.

Do you have any memories of the 20-21 planting season that stand out? 

Digging through Missoula-flood-soil to make the right size hole for a surprisingly big native oak by myself.

The joy of having an Assistant Crew Leader to work with in February!!

Not loading and unloading trees from trucks:) Thank you Friends of Trees staff who did so much heavy lifting and coordination of that!!!!

Connecting with homeowners desperate to talk to someone they don’t live with:)

What advice do you have for other Crew Leaders? Share what you’ve learned and learn from others. Smile a lot.

Planting manager Ian Bonham shares a few words about Mallory : Mallory’s been planting with FOT longer than I have, but it wasn’t until this season that we finally got to have a bit of one-on-one time. There was this week in January where I kept running into Mallory at the FOT house when she was picking up tools and maps to plant or prune a route of trees. We had a few long conversations in the FOT parking lot, joking about our muddy masks, hunting for public restrooms, and the peculiarities of planting trees in a pandemic. I literally screeched with laughter a few times and she really lifted my spirits during a pretty dark time. Several weeks later I got repeated requests from volunteers who wanted to be on her planting crews—I can totally understand why. Mallory clearly finds real joy in doing good work for and with her neighbors, and she does a great job of sharing it too.

Mallory, thank you for buoying this work the last 8+ years, but particularly during these pandemic daze! You have a big heart, and like Ian (kinda) said, your joy is a contagion that we wanna catch!!

The Power of Partnerships

CONNECTING YOUTH TO NATURE, JOB TRAINING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: JUST A COUPLE OF ELEMENTS OF SOME AMAZING PARTNERSHIPS

What started as a group of neighbors planting trees together 32 years ago has grown into a true community-based organization engaged in a wide variety of partnerships. Friends of Trees’ partnerships contribute to environmental education for K-12 students; adult job training programs; paid internships connecting underserved communities to the urban forestry field; greening low canopy neighborhoods; and so much more.

“Thank you for letting us come and plant with you, it was a GREAT experience. I learned that planting trees keeps us healthy and alive. It was a great opportunity to learn and also to be outside.” Kara, 4th grade, Friends of Trees-Charles F. Tigard Elementary School partnership

“American children now spend an average of only four to seven minutes per day playing outdoors, compared with over seven hours per day in front of a screen.” 1 That alone justifies our work with more than 2,000 young people in a typical season.

Friends of Trees’ educational programming actively and meaningfully connects youth of all ages with nature. We’re in the classroom with information about the benefits of trees, and we’re outside, actively planting and caring for trees with young people. Our work with high school students includes leadership skill building and job training through paid internships. Some stories about our youth education partnerships are here.

“Partnering with Friends of Trees has helped teach Wisdom interns management skills; we learn how to manage a business, how to engage with business people, it prepares everybody for employment.” Alvey Seeyouma, Wisdom Workforce Development Program Coordinator and Crew Leader Supervisor

A growing partnership endeavor, our Adult Urban Forestry Program, includes as past and current partners APANOPOIC, Verde, Wisdom of the Elders, Blueprint Foundation, and the Black Parent Initiative. The program connects historically underserved community members with job training and internship opportunities in the urban forestry field, read more here.

Greening low-canopy neighborhoods is an ongoing priority for Friends of Trees, and our work with APANO and other partners on the Jade Greening Project helps address this in an equitable way. Low-canopy neighborhoods are often low-income and home to historically underserved communities. These neighborhoods, such as NE Portland’s Jade District, experience significant environmental health disparities, stemming from exposure to air toxins and lack of walk-ability/accessibility. The Jade Greening Project engaged Jade District residents in dialogue about community needs  to ensure the greening and revitalization–and not the gentrification- of the Jade District.

This is not an exhaustive compilation of partners, and doesn’t even touch on the more than 1,000 groups that have planted with us over the years! We’ve hosted all the scouts, reunions, birthday celebrations, employer groups, college students, high school students, elementary school students … it’s truly inspiring to see how many groups of you celebrate milestones or learn or bond or just choose to get together through planting trees together. We can’t wait to welcome you all back again!

1 National Recreation and Park Association

photo: Rosemary Anderson HS POIC students at a recent planting event.