FEBRUARY 2023: VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT | VANCOUVER | CLIMATE TREES
“TREES GIVE ME CONFIDENCE”
Vianey Mohr on why she loves volunteering with Friends of Trees
Vianey was supposed to be an assistant crew leader at her very first planting event. As fate would have it, she would have to step into the crew leader role right away.
“I thought, OMG, how am I going to do this,” Vianey says. “But all the volunteers were so nice and supportive.” Originally from Mexico, Vianey has lived in Salem for 12 years. She speaks English as a second language, and was worried about communicating with her crew. Between her crew leader training and the support of her crewmates, everything went great.
“Trees give me confidence. I proved to myself that I can do it,” Vianey says. “I don’t have to be scared to communicate.”
Vianey’s love of trees brought her to Friends of Trees. She has the equivalent of a bachelor’s in forestry from her education in Mexico, and she is volunteering with Friends of Trees as part of her Cooperative Work Experience. “As an immigrant, you never know if you can continue your career,” Vianey says. “I’m so happy I am able to continue mine here.”
Vianey has stepped into a variety of roles with Friends of Trees, leading crews at events, helping at pruning workshops, even delivering trees with our staff. She’s learned the details of planning and preparation that go beyond planting trees. Still, planting is her favorite part.
“I really like the feeling of dirt on my hands. It’s my connection to the planet.”
Vianey wants to share that connection with her family. Whenever she can, she brings her husband and children to planting events. With her love of trees, care for the planet, and connection to community, Vianey truly exemplifies the spirit of Friends of Trees.
Our thriving partnership with the City of Vancouver shows how committed the city is to trees and community. Since we started planting in Vancouver in 2001, we have worked with their Urban Forestry team to grow tree counts and volunteer engagement. With our new contract, the partnership has grown from 400 trees planted each season to up to 700 trees, and from 200 trees pruned to 300.
“It’s great to work with a city that’s investing in trees to be proactive about climate change,” says Neighborhood Trees Senior Specialist Ian Bonham. “More investment means more results.”
“We appreciate the Friends of Trees model of working with volunteers to grow the knowledge base.“
–Jessica George, the City of Vancouver’s Urban Forestry Outreach Coordinator
On February 25th, Friends of Trees will host its biggest neighborhood planting event of the season in West Vancouver. 20 crews of volunteers will plant 200 trees toward the season’s goal of more than 600 new trees planted in Vancouver. We still have room for volunteers if you want to sign up!
Considering Natives and Climate Adapted Non-natives
We invite you to consider the cascara (Frangula purshiana), a tree native to the Pacific Northwest. It has pretty autumn colors, does well in both shade and sun, and is a great backyard habitat tree, with small berries that attract native and migrating birds. This low-maintenance tree is a wonderful native option for your street or yard, and we still have plenty available in our tree store this season!
We’re big fans of native trees at Friends of Trees. It’s important to steward native plants as food and shelter for native animals, and in so many instances, natives are the right choice when you’re looking to put the right tree in the right place.
“There’s always a place for native trees in our hearts and in our gardens, but there’s also a place for non-native, locally hardy trees in the urban environment.”
-Neighborhood Trees Senior Specialist Andrew Land
One such non-native is the swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor, shout out to our Year of the Oak), which is native to eastern North America and one of our favorite oaks. It turns out that trees well-suited to swamps also do really well in urban environments, because their roots are accustomed to anaerobic conditions.
You can still get a tree this season — and so can your neighbor!
We’ve had an incredible planting season so far and have met so many treecipients in Eugene and Springfield. Folks are so excited to have a new tree growing in their yard and that excitement is contagious! It’s not too late to join in this season and sign up for your own tree. We have plenty of trees that could be your new street or yard tree.
Trees are great for homeowners—they provide shade, attract wildlife, and beautify your property. Your tree is also great for your neighbors, providing clean air, slowing traffic, creating habitat for pollinators. Let your excitement spread and let your neighbors know that they can get themselves a tree too!
“We want to get as many trees planted as we can before the season ends,” says Eugene Director Erik Burke. “Now’s the time to sign up for your new tree, and spread the word!”
To sign up for a tree, visit our website. The tree list will be catered to your site, and we are happy to discuss options with you. If you’re worried about cost, we do offer reduced rates, no questions asked. Our planting season lasts into April.
It’s our 34th season of planting and caring for trees – JOIN US!
Get outside this winter! We still have plenty of planting events left this season. Whether it’s in a neighborhood or natural area, we would love your help building community with trees. It’s a great way to take climate action, and as a volunteer named Caela puts it, planting trees is the “best reason in the world to wear rubber pants and play in the mud!”
Here are some upcoming volunteer events:
February 18,Neighborhood planting, Wilsonville
February 25,Neighborhood planting, West Vancouver, WA
March 4, Natural area planting, Mitchell Creek, SE Portland
Crew Leaders and Assistants—watch your inbox for Crew Leader News on the first of the month!Trained Crew Leaders sign-up for eventshere.
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.