A new E-Bike grant gives our Eugene team even more Pedal Power!
Our Eugene-Springfield team just received an Electric Mobility Grant from the Eugene Water & Electric Board. The team will receive two new electric bicycles to use for pedal powered planting. Our Eugene plantings already feature robust bicycle use and these new e-bikes will expand our plant-by-bike program even more.
“It’ll be great to be able to use these new e-bikes to haul trees at planting events,” says Eugene-Springfield Program Manager Taylor Glass. The team has borrowed e-bikes from partners in the past so they know exactly how useful they can be.
“Eugene has a fair amount of hills,” says Eugene Director Erik Burke. “It can be a fun challenge on a regular bike, but I’ve had to get off to push a bike trailer up a big hill.”
“The e-bikes can go further and up hills and that just opens up more possibilities for where we can plant by bike,” Taylor says. “And it will give volunteers an opportunity to try them out.”
Beyond planting events Friends of Trees staff will be able to use the e-bikes for things like site inspections, outreach events, and pruning. Reducing how often we drive as part of the sustainability goals for Friends of Trees.
“You really get to know the city better when you’re biking through it rather than driving,” Erik says.
Want to get in on the action this season? Check out our planting event calendar. Do you want to step up and lead a planting crew? Crew leader training is November 29th.
Reflecting on another successful season
The Eugene-Springfield team had their final event on May 6th and with hardly a break has already started their summer watering routine. Still, they’ve taken time to reflect on the successes of the 2022- 2023 planting event season. It was a season characterized by more bicycles, new relationships, and emerging leaders.
“We had the most consistent group of new crew leaders this season,” says Eugene-Springfield Program Manager Taylor Glass. “This new cohort quickly rose to lead alongside our veteran CLs. It’s great to have that consistency at planting events.”
The team also worked to expand the use of bicycle crews at planting events. Partnering with PeaceHealth Rides, we had three events with multiple bicycle crews.
“This is something we want to keep doing more of,” says Eugene Director Erik Burke. “Not only is it a sustainability goal, volunteers just really love it.”
Another area with promising growth this year has been planting at school campuses. We had four plantings at schools, installing trees along the public right of way. The Eugene team has been developing relationships with the school grounds managers to make sure the newly planted trees are well cared for and to find more opportunities to grow tree canopy at school sites.
With the 2023 Greenpower Grant from Eugene Water & Electric Board, the Eugene team looks forward to further expanding its planting program in areas that need trees most. The $50,000 award will fund the expansion of their Neighborhood Tree program to all areas of Eugene with low tree equity scores
Another highlight of the year was especially fun—attending Portland planting events and hosting Portland staff at Eugene events.
“It’s great to spend time together,” Taylor says, “and to exchange ideas on how to do things. Our events are a little different from Portland events.”
One of the things the Eugene team does differently: they keep their neighborhood planting events relatively small. The volunteers largely prefer the more intimate events. They get to connect with each other and still plant plenty of trees.
Thanks to all of this year’s volunteers in Eugene and Springfield!
Biking Our Way Into the New Year
Why take a car when you can take a bicycle? The Eugene Branch has always taken that mindset and incorporates bicycle crews into every neighborhood planting event.
“We have some really dedicated bike volunteers,” says Eugene-Springfield Program Manager Taylor Glass. “That’s how we can always have a bike planting crew.”
Bike crews are able to transport trees and tools from the staging site to planting locations by using bicycle trailers. In addition to our own trailers, Hummingbird Wholesale often joins us for a planting with their large electric-assisted bike trailers so that we can transport even bigger loads.
Using bikes instead of cars is a reflection of our desire to take care of our environment, and it makes perfect sense to reduce emissions at a bike planting. Beyond that, it’s just plain fun.
“I just love it,” says Eugene Director Erik Burke. “It’s so fun to see the look of amazement on people’s faces when a whole crew rides past hauling big trees. And when treecipients see us pull up, they’re so surprised to see we biked their tree over.”
To give even more community members a chance to participate as a volunteer on two wheels, The Eugene Branch partners with a local bikeshare, PeaceHealth Rides, to have their bikes available at events and free to volunteers. In the past, we’ve had about one event per year with PeaceHealth Rides, but this year we’ll have three! The first will be on January 7th.
With success, fun, and enthusiasm from volunteers, Friends of Trees hopes to have more and more bike crews at plantings in every community we work in.
By Ian Bonham
We ride our bikes a lot here in Portland.
You ride your bike to work. You ride your bike to the grocery store. You ride your bike while eating a vegan donut with cereal on top. You even ride your bike in a sea of naked people.
So it only makes sense that, here in the Pacific Northwest, you also get to ride your bike while planting trees on Saturday morning (fully clothed, of course–it’s cool out there!).
Here at Friends of Trees we’re snapping our rain fenders back on, refreshing our rain gear, and pumping up the tires on our trailers in preparation for another season of planting trees–on our bicycles!
We need your help! Let us know what role works best for you: tree planter, tool carrier, tree chauffeur, or some combination of the three. Meet your neighbors, get some exercise, and beautify Portland & Vancouver neighborhoods all at the same time. And let’s not forget the breakfast coffee and treats, as well as a potluck lunch to fuel you up!
Bicycling crews transport all of the trees, tools and people to various homes in the neighborhood to plant trees that will ultimately absorb CO2 and mitigate stormwater runoff—as well as a host of intangible benefits.
2015 Neighborhood Bike Plantings (sign up here):
- 1.24.15 :: Laurelhurst, Kerns, Sunnyside, N. Tabor (SE Portland)
- 1.31.15 :: Piedmont, Woodlawn (NE Portland)
- 2.14.15 :: Boise, Eliot, Humboldt, King (NE Portland)
- 2.21.15 :: West Vancouver Neighborhoods
If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Jenny Bedell-Stiles or Ian Bonham at [email protected] or use our volunteer hotline: 503-595-0213.
—Ian is the Volunteer & Outreach Program Specialist for Friends of Trees.