NOVEMBER 2023: CONNECTION | COALITION | MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
TENDING THE LAND. TOGETHER.
The first planting event of the season always sets the stage for me and opens me up to all the connections that can happen when you bring people together. My first event this year drove that home, and more, when Friends of Trees helped put on a land tending event at Portland Community College – Rock Creek in partnership with Indigenous community groups and other local partners. Together, we worked to restore an oak wetland.
We planted evergreen huckleberry, beaked hazelnut, and of course, Oregon white oak. Working with Wisdom of the Elders, the Five Oaks Museum, and Kimimela Consulting gave us the chance to learn about the history of the land and call back to what the original stewards of the lands would have planted. Once these plants get established, Indigenous communities will be able to forage this land.
More than planting, the day was all about connection.
I met one of our crew leaders, Emily, who has been volunteering with Friends of Trees since she was young. She loves getting to see the things she’s planted grow over time. One of the volunteers I met told me how important it was for BIPOC people to get together and plant side by side. I felt that too, especially as I connected with several people there over our immigrant backgrounds.
These are the sort of deeper conversations made possible by having community planting events like this, and it’s something that I really cherish.
At the start of every season, I’m reminded that getting my hands in the dirt is so spiritually cleansing for me. Sharing that feeling with others makes it feel even better.
This fall, 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 (IRA) grants. The grant will fund the engagement of low canopy neighborhoods included in the Justice40 initiative, which will bring resources to communities most impacted by climate change, pollution, and environmental hazards.
The driving theme of the IRA Project is coalition building. Coalition building goes hand-in-hand with Friends of Trees’ mission to grow community by planting and caring for trees and natural areas together. This new project is an unprecedented opportunity to take our approach to partnering to the next level by more meaningfully and responsively collaborating with community stakeholders. This includes carving the time and capacity to connect as project partners and people.
We are so excited to work closely with our partners on this project: APANO, Black Parent Initiative, City of Gresham, City of Portland, Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Connecting Canopies, Depave, POIC, Verde, and Wisdom of the Elders.
We’ll be spotlighting each of these partners over the next year as we work together on a coalition model that moves us forward as a community team. It’ll be a big, complicated effort, but one that is certainly worth taking on so that we can build a more equitable urban forest. Learn more here.
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 volunteer events:
December 2, Neighborhood planting, Oregon City
December 2, Neighborhood planting, SE Vancouver
December 9, Natural area planting, Spring Mountain, Happy Valley (Where we will also have aNative Plant Giveaway!)
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
Can I get a refill?!
Next month, volunteers will be planting trees, shrubs, and understory near a major intersection on the Bob Straub Parkway in Springfield. But they won’t be starting from scratch—this location has already been the site for four planting events in the past six years. You’ve heard us say it before at Friends of Trees, we don’t just plant and walk away. But what exactly does that mean? It means post-planting care, stewardship training, and in the case of many natural area plantings like this one, it means infill planting.
Infilling is sort of like refilling, not that this site is empty. Thanks to enthusiastic past volunteers who planted it and neighbors of the planting site who have protected it, it’s already a beautiful spot.
“This is one of our most successful Green Space plantings,” says Eugene Director Erik Burke. “It’s in the floodplain, and it has really good soil. Overall, things are growing really well.”
That doesn’t mean that the site isn’t worthy of some replanting. At natural area plantings like this one, we plant in pods that have multiple levels: trees, shrubs, and herbaceous understory with things like milkweed and camas. At the Bob Straub planting site, a few trees need to be replaced and some of the shrubs and flowers could use some support. Learn more here.
“Like with all of our plantings, it’s important to make sure that they have a lasting impact,” Erik says. “That’s why we return.”
PORTLAND, PROVIDE INPUT ON YOUR CLIMATE FUTURE
Hey Portland, you can provide input on the city’s Sustainability and Climate Commission! The SCC will guide City climate action and sustainability goals as a new governance structure and champion body for current and future climate work.
With your gift, however large or small, Friends of Trees is on its way toward hitting a $65k goal for the Give!Guide by year’s end. Your support will not only plant and care for trees—our climate superheroes—it will also help bring our communities together around the natural places we love.
This week is Giving Tuesday! We have an $11K challenge from PGE and an anonymous donor. Double your impact and help us meet this challenge!
We’d love it if you also supported our partners: APANO, Depave, The Blueprint Foundation, Columbia Slough Watershed Council, Wisdom of the Elders, and POIC. And thanks to our business sponsors Sizzle Pie and Level Beer!
WRAP UP YOUR GIFT SHOPPING
Looking for the perfect gift to give theTimbers x Friends of Treesfan in your life? Check out our collaborative scarf which raises funds for trees + community. Shop here!