What goes on at Friends of Trees when it’s not planting season?
Summer is a time when you can tell that trees are working hard. They’re searching for moisture and reaching for the sun, all the while shading our neighborhoods and providing habitat. Folks at Friends of Trees are keeping plenty busy during these summer months, too. We have summer inspectors checking to make sure last year’s trees are thriving. Our program staff are working hard to plan the upcoming season of events. And we’re getting out into the community at dozens of outreach events.
We’ve also been working to shape the future of the organization. Our Board of Directors voted to finalize a new strategic plan, which we look forward to sharing with you soon. And we have submitted applications for grants with transformative potential, including a Community Forestry Inflation Reduction Act grant. With Friends of Trees as the lead applicant, the $17 million regional grant proposal includes 8 community nonprofit partners in addition to Portland Urban Forestry and the City of Gresham, a coalition that would work to engage low-canopy neighborhoods in community tree planting, tree care, community tree education and workforce development. It’s a competitive grant, and we won’t know for several months if we’ll get it, but the coalition building alone made it a worthwhile process.
Another summer highlight happened just last week, when we had an all-staff retreat at South Beach State Park. The inspiring coastal setting was the perfect place to consider our strategic plan, discuss decision-making processes, and most importantly, connect with each other.
The spirit of connection drives most of our summer activities. We’ve been meeting community members at farmer’s markets, Sunday Parkways, concerts and more throughout the region. We’ve participated in community events like the Portland Pride Parade and “Our Space of Possibilities,” a cultural and social art collaboration in East Portland. On July 28-29th, you can join us at Big Break, Depave’s second annual block party celebrating regreening Portland’s Central Eastside. We hope to see you this summer!
GET TO KNOW LAUGHING PLANET CAFE
Laughing Planet is donating $1 for every kids smoothie sold to trees + community
When Laughing Planet CEO Franz Spielvogel decided to partner with a local organization, he quickly thought of Friends of Trees. For an entire year, Laughing Planet is donating $1 for every kids smoothie sold in the Portland region to Friends of Trees.
Having first volunteered for us over 20 years ago, and having planted five trees in his own yard, he knows first hand the impact that trees can have on a community. He even volunteered as a summer inspector.
“I’ve turned a little bit into a tree nut,” Franz says. “When you walk down a street without trees, it’s shocking. It can sound a bit cheesy on a bumper sticker, but trees are the answer.”
Because Friends of Trees’ mission aligns with the values of Laughing Planet, Franz is excited that the partnership can expose more people to the benefits of planting trees, especially young people, which is why kids’ smoothies are at the center of the partnership.
“I witnessed a mother and daughter in the cafe talking about the importance of trees. When you teach the kids while they’re young, they’ll care about trees for life.”
If you’ve ever gone on a tree walk with Eugene Director Erik Burke, you’ve heard about some of the nuanced differences among trees that you can study to identify them. One iconic characteristic is always a good starting point: the leaf. Summer is a great time to investigate the myriad shapes that leaves take.
But what exactly comprises a single leaf? A tricky aspect of plant morphology is understanding simple leaves versus compound leaves. A simple leaf is a singular leaf connected by its stem, or petiole, to the branch.
Sometimes what you might think is an entire leaf is actually a leaflet on a compound leaf. Leaflets will all be attached to the main petiole, which is connected to the branch. Some compound-leaved trees include golden rain tree, red horsechestnut, yellowwood, Amur maackia, and Kentucky coffee tree. The Kentucky coffee tree has double compound leaves. That means that their leaflets have leaflets.
We’re hiring a Systems Administrator at Friends of Trees
Friends of Trees is growing our team! Let your most organized tree lovers know that they can be our Systems Administrator. The Systems Administrator will develop, implement, and maintain organizational systems to help ensure consistent and effective data management and systems operation. Application deadline: Sunday, July 23rd.
Show love for your tree with a Friends of Trees yard sign!
Do you have a tree from Friends of Trees in your yard or planting strip? We want to celebrate your tree and the benefits it provides with a beautiful yard sign! We want people to know how important trees are to their communities, and to see the impact that Friends of Trees and its supporters have made throughout western Oregon and southwest Washington. Visit here to learn more and get in touch.