Earth Month 2023

In honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day, and in celebration of all we do together to make our world greener and healthier for all, Friends of Trees is celebrating for the entire month of April. This year, we’re celebrating Community Climate Action. What’s Community Climate Action? It’s planting trees, together, and so much more.

Tackling climate change goes hand-in-hand with community action. At Friends of Trees, we’ve heard from countless volunteers about how planting trees makes them feel more connected to trees, more observant of trees’ health, and more eager to care for them. We’ve witnessed time and time again how a volunteer begins with tree planting and goes on to engage further with environmental issues, including combating climate change. It’s a ripple effect that can begin with a single tree.

Throughout April, we’ll be telling the story of Community Climate Action, and celebrating another successful planting season. Check out our event calendar for volunteer opportunities. Stay tuned to our social media channels for some EXTRA special content. (Instagram / Facebook). Visit our YouTube channel for some tree walks & talks with Friends of Trees staff + friends. And check back, this page will be updated throughout April!

You can help with our Earth Month Fundraiser! Every Tuesday in April, Deschutes Brewery Portland is donating $1 per pint sold to Friends of Trees throughout the day. Thanks to Deschutes for being our Earth Day Oregon partners this year!

Plus, you can help us keep planting trees + growing community through donating. Donate here!


Eugene Bicycle Plantings

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.

Clean Air & Community in Cully

NE Portland neighborhoods come together to plant for environmental justice

Earlier this month, 110 volunteers gathered in the Cully neighborhood in Northeast Portland for the first planting of our Clean Air Canopy project. The first volunteers to arrive to a planting event are the staging volunteers, who organize tools and trees for all the crews. At Cully, all of the staging volunteers were also treecipients—they’d have their own tree planted in their yard as part of the day’s activities. They were so excited to help, to get to know each other, and to help get trees planted, not just in their own yard but in their community.

“There was a lot of camaraderie from the get-go,” said Neighborhood Trees Senior Specialist Litzy Venturini. “It was a really positive morning with great energy from the moment I got there.”

This Clean Air Canopy project is the result of an Oregon Department of Environmental Quality lawsuit against a polluter in the neighborhood. The DEQ fined the facility and granted funds to Friends of Trees and our partners to lead community tree plantings in the area. This project would not be possible without our partners: Verde, the Cully Air Action Team (CAAT), and the Cully Association of Neighbors. Verde and CAAT’s advocacy work held this polluter accountable and led to this project’s creation.

“Polluted air and water are one of the biggest environmental injustices we face,” says Neighborhood Trees Senior Specialist Andrew Land. “Tree planting is among the most instant-impact civic actions you can perform.”

That sentiment was shared among volunteers, who were grateful to turn this negative—pollution—into a positive thing for their neighborhood. Volunteer crews planted 100 trees, and 31 different species of trees.

“Diversity in nature equates to resilience,” Andrew says. “Isolated species are very vulnerable in nature. If a pest or disease in the future attacks one of the species we’ve planted, we’ll still have many more out there to continue protecting us from air pollution from off highways.”

A special aspect to the day was that we had an entirely Spanish-speaking crew, led by Friends of Trees Field Tech Manuel Ku. That crew consisted of Los Líderes Verdes, who were training to become crew leaders themselves as part of our collaboration with Verde.

“It was a great day,” Litzy said. “There was that community feeling that makes events so special.”

Making Connections in the Green Workforce

The latest cohort of the Adult Urban Forestry & Restoration Training Program moves into their internships

Providing pathways into the green workforce is one of the ways we can help create the next generation of responsible stewards working in our urban forests. How do we do that? The first step is exposing people to roles they can have in this line of work, and doing it in an authentic way so that people really understand their options.

The Adult Urban Forestry & Restoration Program recruits adults from community-based partner organizations to engage in an urban forestry curriculum and places them in an internship with Friends of Trees or an affiliated partner organization. The program is designed to engage underrepresented communities and address barriers to participation in the field of urban forestry. In an effort to do so, participants are paid for their time both learning and working throughout the program with the hope of creating pathways to actual jobs

The program just finished its ten-week curriculum, with each module featuring a different guest presenter and topic. Diversity of subject matter is crucial. Some things you would certainly expect, like the benefits trees provide to communities, how to plant and care for a tree, and how to identify native plants. But the curriculum goes beyond that to include things like environmental justice and financial literacy.

“Some of the curriculum on arboriculture can be pretty academic,” says EDI & Workforce Training Manager Rudy Roquemore. “It was important that we combine that with more informal and authentic conversations.”

Even though these sessions were held virtually, Rudy was pleased with the networking that happened among participants and presenters.

“The goal was to expose people to roles they could have in this field, to speak freely to folks in the industry, and start building tangible skills and connections,” Rudy says. “I didn’t realize how powerful the connections would be.”

Now, the participants are starting their internships, with 100 hours to be completed over the next few months.

“All of the participants are interested in continuing on to participate in the internship portion of the program,” says Rudy. “That’s a huge success, and we want to do our part and continue to support them.” The internships will be with Friends of Trees, Verde, Treecology, Honl Tree Care, Portland Parks & Recreation, and Vancouver Urban Forestry.

“We can make trees relevant to people’s lives,” Rudy says, “by addressing and eliminating barriers to the green workforce. There is a lot of opportunity to grow this program and make a real impact.” A new cohort is set to begin in January 2023.

Take Tree Selfies for our Earth Month Scavenger Hunt!

#FriendsWithTrees Scavenger Hunt

This year for Earth Month, we’re going to play a little game and we want you to join in! It’s a scavenger hunt for some of our favorite tree friends. We’ll post the challenges—all you have to do is find the right tree and post a selfie with it!

Each new challenge will ask you to find a particular tree near you—maybe by species or age or maybe just evoking a certain quality. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram for posts on Sundays and Wednesdays at noon, for all of April.

Tag Friends of Trees and use #FriendsWithTrees in a post or a story to get a chance to win special prizes like Friends of Trees gear and more. The very first participant wins a Friends of Trees hoodie. All other participants are entered to win a hoodie, Columbia Sportswear gear, and more. You get one entry for every post you make!


Find a tree with a Friends of Trees tag on it! Take and post a selfie with your new tree friend. (If you can’t find a Friends of Trees tag in your neighborhood, no worries: just a post a young tree that’s got a lot of potential!)


Flower power! It’s that time of year for trees to really glam it up. Take a selfie with a flowering tree friend. Bonus point if you ID it!


Let’s live up to our Tree-Hugger name! Find a tree that you can’t quite wrap your arms around. Beyond showing love, it’s a good way to ballpark diameter at breast eight, or DBH, which can be used to estimate the tree’s volume, biomass, and carbon storage.


“I planted that!” Who planted trees or native plants with us this year? Share one of your favorite pictures from a neighborhood or natural area planting. We love what we do because we get to work with community members like you!


So much mulch! Find a tree with that picture perfect mulch job! Let this also serve as a reminder to replenish your mulch if you haven’t already. It will retain moisture and fend off trees and make your trees oh so happy!


Sun’s out—throw some shade! Trees help lower the temperature as much as ten degrees. They keep your home cool and save on energy costs. Plant them now so they can provide shade for you later! Post a selfie from the shade!