Learn how trees help make us healthy

Do you know how increased exposure to nature creates countless health benefits?

Join us for a free Trees & Health event–in Portland, Salem and Eugene

Trees benefit people, creatures and the planet in ways too numerous to list here. We know that trees combat climate change, clean our air and water, create habitat, grow food … Trees do so much that it’s no surprise that trees improve our health, too—but it’s only relatively recently that we’ve learned just how much trees contribute to human health. Friends of Trees is now using that knowledge to implement programming specific to trees and health.

Thanks to a 2016 funding award from Metro, Friends of Trees has expanded our community tree-plantings to include Portland’s Northwest Industrial District, focusing on projects to directly impact human health. Our goal is adding green infrastructure to this area that has an abundance of concrete and a dearth of green. These plantings will also forge a stronger connection between the Industrial District and Forest Park, which is so close yet so disconnected from this part of town; adding trees in the industrial section contributes to a green corridor, channeling the benefits of the park to the industrial district.

How do trees make us healthy? Patients in hospitals heal more quickly if they have a view of trees and nature; people are more likely to get out and walk and run through tree-lined communities; babies in tree-lined neighborhoods are more likely to have a healthy birth weight; exposure to greenspaces can reduce blood pressure and stress levels; views of natural settings have been found to reduce crime and aggression … to list just a few.

Yes, the trees we plant here will improve our health, but so will the way we plant those trees. Our community tree-planting program is implemented with thousands of volunteers, many of whom have never volunteered before. And guess what? Volunteering is good for your health, too! Volunteering makes us happy, contributes to more satisfied employees, decreases the risk of depression, reduces stress levels, and more!

And to help these trees grow and thrive, Friends of Trees will water, mulch and prune these new trees for their first two years in the ground. This is slow and steady work, and we are excited to continue growing this program over time.

There’s another component to this project: Scientists. Presentations by experts are a part of our Trees and Health work. It’s an exciting time, with new research coming out regularly, and we look forward to sharing this important information with our community.

Learn more about trees and health.

JOIN US FOR A FREE TREES & HEALTH EVENT

Guest lecturer Dr. Kathy Wolf of the University of Washington explores how nearby nature improves environmental, social, and economic conditions in cities

  • Portland, March 1, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Salem, March 2, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Eugene, March 3, 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Location and registration information.

This is an excerpt from our February Treemail, read the entire issue here.

Community Nature Walks: Celebrating trees and health!

By Erica Timm

Wishing Tree1
Capturing all the wishes shared with the tree (E. Timm)

What do trees, walking and socializing with friends and neighbors all have common? Well, they’re all good for your health!

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Arbor Month than to host a Community Nature Walk in a few communities around Portland this month. Check the list below to find the one fits your schedule best:

  • Boise-Eliot Neighborhood: Thursday, April 9th at 1 p.m. meeting at Lot 13 (​4009 N Mississippi Ave​) – map​
  • Lents Neighborhood: Wednesday, April 15th at 6 p.m. meeting at the Lents Tool Library (9211 SE Ramona St) – map​
  • Portsmouth Neighborhood: Saturday, April 25th at 10 a.m. meeting at the N Houghton-Fortune intersection​ – map

These walks bring folks together for an hour long walking conversation about the neighborhood nature gems we’ll discover along the way and other related tree topics. Some highlights may include a wishing tree, a topiary animal hedge, a community orchard, a healing garden and more…

Join us for a walk, or all three, to learn more about Portland’s neighborhood nature gems!

For more information, contact Erica at ericat@friendsoftrees.org or 503-467-2533.

For more information on the many health benefits of trees, visit the Green Cities: Good Health website.

Erica Timm is a Senior Neighborhood Trees Specialist

Tree Inventory Team Leaders & Volunteers Needed!

By Erica Timm

2012 Kenton Inventory Group shot
Kenton Inventory Group (Portland Parks & Recreation)

Interested in learning more about the composition of Portland’s urban forest? Want to increase your tree identification skills? Have some skills to share? Want to have fun in the sun this summer? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, please consider becoming a tree inventory team leader for Portland Parks & Recreation this summer!

The Urban Forestry Division of PP&R is organizing volunteer-powered, Neighborhood Tree Inventories again this summer — this time in eight different neighborhoods throughout the city! The neighborhoods being inventoried include Arbor Lodge, Brooklyn, Cathedral Park, Downtown, Piedmont, Portsmouth, Richmond and Woodstock. That means around 30,000 street trees will be inventoried. Data collected will include: tree species, size, health, and site conditions, as well as spaces available for future planting.Read More

The Intertwine & a regional urban forestry strategy

“Intertwine” means “to twist or twine together, to be mutually involved.”

There’s probably no better word to describe the coalition of environmentally diverse partners and the nearly 3,000 square miles of varied green corridors in the Portland-Vancouver area that the coalition works together to sustain. The goal is to advocate as a team at the federal, state and regional levels to create a healthy Intertwine, and to make The Intertwine accessible to a wide range of people.

Officially founded in 2011, The Intertwine already has 70 member organizations, or partners, including Friends of Trees. It traces its roots from John Charles Olmsted’s vision of a network of interconnected boulevards and green spaces between the Willamette and Columbia rivers to the establishment of the Columbia Regional Association of Governments (CRAG) in the early 1970s and the founding of Metro Regional Government afterward, whose master plan calls for “a cooperative regional system of natural areas, open space, trails, and greenways for wildlife and people.”

Intertwine Map
Map of The Intertwine (Intertwine)

The October 25, 2012 Intertwine Summit began with a discussion of The Intertwine’s Regional Conservation Strategy for the Greater Portland-Vancouver Region and a companion document, the Regional Conservation Strategy and Biodiversity Guide. According to its executive summary, the Regional Conservation Strategy presents “a broad regional view of conservation while highlighting ongoing efforts and potential actions at the local level. It is a starting point for future collaboration, not a substitute for existing planning.”Read More

Attend a slide show and find your perfect tree!

By Erica Timm

So, you’ve signed up for planting day, had your planting strip inspected, and are now ready to make your tree selection, but which one will be best for you?

How can you best maximize beauty and habitat value? You like the idea of a flowering tree, but with so many available, what other characteristics should you consider? Would a tree with fiery red fall color look best with your house, or would a warm, golden yellow go better?

Whether you need help in choosing the right tree for your yard or planting strip, or you just want to learn more about the types of trees that make up Portland’s incredible urban forest, you’ll be happy to know that Friends of Trees has organized three informative slideshow/Q&A sessions for just these reasons!

Please join local tree expert Jim Gersbach and Friends of Trees staff for an evening of tree talk and light refreshments on one of the following days:

SOUTHEAST: Thursday, November 8, 7-9 p.m. – Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church
NORTH: Thursday, November 29, 7-9 p.m. – New Columbia Education Center, 4625 N Trenton Street
NORTHEAST: Thursday, December 6, 7-9 p.m. – Kennedy School Community Room, 5736 NE 33rd Avenue

Be sure to note which planting strip size(s) you have been approved for as this is an important part of helping you find the best tree for your location. This information is available when you log into your account (or on the planting permit you may have received from Urban Forestry, if a permit was initiated with them).

If you are not signed up to buy a tree yet, visit FriendsofTrees.org today and we’ll get you started!

Contact Friends of Trees at 503-595-0212 if you have any questions about these tree talk events, or if you’d like some help selecting and ordering a tree.

–Timm is Neighborhood Trees Senior Specialist for Friends of Trees.