Mother Trees for Mother’s Day

By Katie Neis

In a forest you can find trees so massive that, no matter how many steps you take backwards, you might never see the tops. Sunlight filters down through their canopy giving just enough light, and darkness, to inspire new flora and fauna to push up through the mossy ground and stretch their branches to the sky. Some call these trees that establish the delicate balance of a healthy forest Mother Trees.

Oak Mother Tree in Oregon Forest

Mother Trees’ large root networks form a thick blanket that bridges all life in the forest. Root systems reach out and form physical connections sharing nutrients between plant species. These networks facilitate amazingly diverse plant life, and resiliency builds throughout the forest.

Setting the stage for the evolution of the forest, the Mother Tree provides seeds for the future—each tiny capsule a replica of herself, to nourish the forest floor with food and life.

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Local filmmaker honored at Breckenridge Festival of Film

Topher and Patrick (Breckenridge Festival of Film)
Topher and Patrick (Breckenridge Festival of Film)

By Emma Gray

Local filmmaker and Friends of Trees supporter Martin Vavra was awarded not only best LGBT film but also best short documentary film at the 2011 Breckenridge Festival of Film this week.

Vavra’s award-winning film Patrick’s Story follows a gay man who was removed from a Portland hospital as his partner lay dying. The film is a powerful and moving exploration of the social construct of marriage. It also addresses the confusion that exists around the concept of registered domestic partnership rights.

You can watch this trailer of Patrick’s Story from Galaxy Sailor.

Established in 1981, the Breckenridge Festival of Film is one of the oldest film festivals in the country. Breckenridge 2011 was held June 9-11 and featured 56 independent dramas, comedies, documentaries, and big-picture premieres.

Friends of Trees is fortunate to be the recipient of Martin’s pro bono footage and video production of several important events, including our May 2011 Leadership Awards Luncheon and Mayor Sam Adams planting trees at our 2010 Plant it Portland! kick-off event. We are grateful that this talented and award-winning filmmaker has generously helped us document these important milestones.

Check out Martin’s film and his work with Friends of Trees!

–Gray is Gift Tree & Membership Services Specialist with Friends of Trees.

Mia and the Migoo

“Mia and the Migoo” opened at the Regal Fox Tower 10 in Portland on Friday.

An environmental fable about a mystical Tree of Life threatened by a development project gone awry, the movie won the European Film Academy’s Best Animated Feature. It stars Whoopi Goldberg, Matthew Modine (who is also a producer), Wallace Shawn, and James Woods.

See how many references to planting trees you can find in this Earth Day Network promotion!


Portland’s Heritage Trees on OPB

Portland's Heritage Trees on OPB

This engaging episode of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Field Guide features Portland’s Heritage Tree program. A Heritage Tree is one of nearly 300 trees in Portland that are protected from future development because of special qualifications such as age, size, shape, botanical value, and history.

Phyllis Reynolds at Friends of Trees' Mississippi Ave. Planting in April 2002
Phyllis Reynolds, Heritage Tree Committee Chair 1999-2006, describes a Heritage Tree to Friends of Trees volunteers at a planting along Mississippi Ave. in April 2002 (Chijo Takeda)

Started in 1993, the Heritage Tree program selected the first Heritage Tree in 1994. Anyone can nominate a tree between May 31 and August 31 by completing and submitting this form

The Heritage Tree Committee works with Portland’s Urban Forestry Commission to review all applications, assess the nominated trees, and recommend the qualifying trees to Portland City Council, which votes on the Heritage Tree designations. An obligation to care for a Heritage Tree conveys from one homeowner to the next.

You can see photos of each Heritage Tree on Portland Parks & Recreation’s web site. As of November 10, 2010, the city had designated 286 Heritage Trees, which represent 121 species. More than half of them are on private property.

As stated in the Oregon Field Guide episode, “One of the first things that gives you a sense of place in a city is the canopy. So on a hot summer day, you’re walking along, and you seek the shade of a tree.”

Friends of Trees is one of many groups in Portland supporting Portland City Council’s adoption of tree policy reforms to protect and enhance the city’s urban forest. Read more about the Citywide Tree Project and the upcoming March 9 council meeting to discuss and vote on the reforms.