JANUARY 2024: THANK YOU | WINTER STORMS | CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
YOUR SUPPORT CREATES ACTION
Thanks for being a part of it!
We were overwhelmed by the tremendous support we saw at the end of 2023. Not only were hundreds of people showing up to events to volunteer their time and efforts, we had so many individuals and businesses choose to support our year-end campaign through Give!Guide or otherwise. Thank you from all of us on the Tree Team!
If we learned anything in December, it’s that trees are kind of having a moment, and so many people want to see their neighborhoods grow trees and green spaces. For the second year in a row, we led Give!Guide’s environmental category in donations by people 35 and under. It’s amazing to see how much young people care about taking climate action in their own communities.
The beginning of 2024 hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. With the winter storm, Friends of Trees had to postpone two weekends of events. We’re so proud of our staff and partners for being so adaptable and prioritizing safety over all else. The historic week of winter weather truly tested our communities’ resilience and many folks are still recovering. You can read below for some of our thoughts on what we can do as a community to protect trees and ourselves in the face of more extreme weather.
Now that we’ve thawed out, we’re getting back to work and hope you’ll join us! We have a ton of awesome planting events in neighborhoods and natural areas throughout the region for the next few months, culminating in Earth Month celebrations of trees + community. We couldn’t do it without you! Let’s turn this moment into momentum. Together.
AFTER THE STORM
We must invest in tree care to protect trees and our communities
Last week, the Oregonianpublished an op-edwritten by Yashar Vasef, our executive director, and Litzy Venturi, our community tree care coordinator.
Climate change and its severe impacts force us to live with dual realities: We need trees more than ever and we need to recognize that extreme weather can turn them into hazards. After hundreds of trees and large limbs fell around the Portland metro area during this historic winter storm, we know that people may be concerned about the trees in their neighborhoods. The impact of a downed tree is serious and often devastating
The response is clear, but not necessarily easy. Not only do we need to continue to plant trees to grow our urban canopy, but we also need to invest more time, knowledge and resources into assessing, protecting and maintaining the trees we have. As part of that, we must also deal with trees that need to be removed and replaced due to poor health or the potential threat they pose to homes or businesses.
Trees are a crucial ingredient for a healthy, resilient and livable community. How do we set our trees up for success in the face of potential extreme weather? From tree selection to young tree care to long-term preventative maintenance, there are steps you can take as a tree owner, and that we can take as a community, to care for our trees and reduce the risk of catastrophe in the future.
It’s our 35th season of planting and caring for trees – JOIN US!
We have so many awesome planting events for you 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 opportunities to get involved:
February 3, Neighborhood Planting, NE Portland
February 10, Natural area planting, Dirksen Nature Park, Tigard
February 17, Natural area planting, Balm Grove, Gales Creek
February 24, Neighborhood planting, West Vancouver
Crew Leaders and Assistants—watch your inbox for Crew Leader News on the first of the month! Trained Crew Leaders sign-up for events here.
THE EUGENE BRANCH
Climate action and justice for MLK Day in West Eugene
Justice was top of mind for everyone at the West Eugene Martin Luther King Day planting on Saturday January 20th. The event had been postponed from earlier in the week because of the winter storm that brought ice, frigid temperatures, downed trees, and power outages. Luckily by Saturday, Eugene had thawed out enough for three crews of volunteers to plant 25 trees in their community.
“It was cold, but everyone was so excited and kept up their spirits,” says Eugene Director Erik Burke.
After a week of harsh winter weather, people were excited to get outdoors. The planting started at Berkeley Park in West Eugene, a high priority planting area.The intimate events that our Eugene team hosts create an atmosphere of connection that is perfect for the MLK Day holiday. Much of the conversation that day was about the winter storm and the hardships people either avoided or endured depending on how lucky they were.
“Downed trees aren’t just a tree maintenance issue or a climate change issue,” Erik says. “It’s a justice issue. Trees that don’t receive proper care are more likely to fail. If we want everyone to have access to the benefits of trees, we need to make sure that tree care and maintenance is available too.”
The Project Administrator is a special position. We’re looking for a collaborative and well-organized candidate with experience in time and project management to lead the administration of our coalition grant.
An 11-member coalition led by Friends of Trees was awarded a $12 million Urban and Community Forestry Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. The grant will bring resources to Justice40 communities most impacted by climate change, pollution, and environmental hazards. The Project Administrator will engage deeply and regularly with all coalition partners.
The Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund (PCEF) is recruiting workgroup members for its Equitable Tree Canopy program. Knowledgeable about urban forests and tree canopies? Passionate about building healthy, resilient communities through green infrastructure? You can apply! The workgroup will provide advice, feedback, and guidance to PCEF and Portland Parks & Recreation staff regarding implementation of the Equitable Tree Canopy program.