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.


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.

Mt. Scott Creek Restoration Project begins

Historic Photo of 3 Creeks Tsunami Crew Members
Tsunami Crew members Brian Horay and Logan Lauvray (FOT file)

Work on the Mt. Scott Creek Restoration Project has officially begun! The project’s initiation follows a year and a half of planning and permitting, which began after the project received a $150,000 Metro Nature in Neighborhoods grant in 2010.

A partnership between Clackamas County Water Environment Services and North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District, the project includes restoring Mt. Scott Creek in North Clackamas Park, removing a crushed culvert, replacing a bridge, and building two overlooks for visitors.

“’Basically, the whole project is to revegetate and enhance the entire stream system, building in shade to improve water quality and provide habitat for native wildlife’ while providing access to nature for human visitors, [NCPRD Natural Resources Coordinator Tonia] Burns said,” according to the Clackamas Review. Read the full story by Ellen Spitaleri.

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Planting in memory of Gail Achterman

April 14, 2012 Planting in Memory of Gail Achterman
Gail Achterman's family planting an oak in her memory

On April 14, 135 volunteers gathered in SE Portland to enhance the I-205 Multi-Use Path for cyclists, pedestrians and neighbors. As part of the tree planting, family, friends and colleagues of Gail Achterman gathered to plant more than a dozen oaks in her memory.

Oregon State Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer greeted the volunteers. She was honored, she said, that Gail’s memorial planting was in her district. She recalled Gail’s warmth and helpfulness, and her advocacy for land management and transportation policies. Gail was instrumental, she said, in helping ensure the Columbia River Gorge became a scenic protected area.

Pictured in the slide show above are Gail’s husband, Chuck McGinnis, Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, FOT Executive Director Scott Fogarty, ODOT Region 1 Public Policy & Community Affairs Manager Shelli Romero, and other community volunteers planting in Gail’s memory.

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Planting hearts

By Emma Gray

Over one hundred volunteers enjoyed the restorative beauty of sunshine at the Collins Sanctuary on Sunday, March 25, as they joined together to plant 580 new native trees and plants at the final Gift Tree Planting of the season. Sunday’s planting at the Sanctuary, a beautiful forest publicly held by Metro and managed by the Audubon Society of Portland, brought the total number of native trees and plants planted at Collins to over 2,500! We are very thankful for our partnership with Metro and Audubon that has allowed such an impact to be made on such a special place.

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Planting a new forest

Starbucks Staff at MLK Day Planting (Elizabeth Craig)
Starbucks planters (Elizabeth Craig)

Please join us for our March and April plantings along the I-205 Multi-Use Path! ODOT’s Elizabeth Craig wrote this story about the first planting along the path in 2012:

The threat of snow and ice didn’t stop volunteers from coming out on January 16 to plant trees along the I-205 Multi-Use Path as part of MLK Day of Service. More than 100 people joined Friends of Trees and ODOT in planting 165 trees along the path in Parkrose as part of a three-year effort between Friends of Trees, ODOT and Metro to add thousands of trees to the path.

I-205 MLK Day
Janet Schmidt, REI Portland

Janet Schmidt is an outreach and events specialist with REI, the corporate sponsor of the Jan. 16 planting. Janet addressed the crowd of volunteers at the start of the day’s planting and explained that REI employees nominate groups for REI sponsorships. Friends of Trees happens to be an employee favorite, she explained. “It’s perfect we’re doing the path because we’re avid cyclists,” Janet commented.

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