Frequently Asked Questions

What should I bring to a planting? What about my group? Can you verify my hours? And more!

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Friends of Trees!

Friends of Trees strives to make your experience safe, fun, and fulfilling. Below are common volunteer questions that are asked. If you see one that is similar to yours, click on the question to view the answer(s). Thank you again for considering Friends of Trees!

Friends of Trees currently hosts events in the Vancouver-metro, Portland-metro, Salem, and Eugene-Springfield regions. If you are looking to plant in Eugene-Springfield, check out the Eugene Friends of Trees page HERE.

Some sites are wheelchair accessible, but not all of them are. Accommodations for volunteers with limited vision and/or who are hard of hearing can also be coordinated. To learn more about accessibility at our events, please visit our Accessible Volunteer Opportunities page or contact our Volunteer & Outreach staff.

Yes! Over time we have received feedback from parents that our events are best suited for ages 6+.  We encourage building tree and community stewardship young and hope you and your family consider participating!

Younger than 6? Given the physical nature of the work and the weather conditions that we plant in, our events can be challenging for children younger than 6 and the adults who look after them. **If you are planting a Gift Tree with us and would like to bring a younger child, please email or call (503-595-0213) our Volunteer & Outreach team for additional support. These are not hard and fast rules, just guidelines based on feedback from folks who have been in your shoes before.

Ages 6+: Our Green Space plantings are generally great for planters 6 years old and older. These events take place in a single location and are focused on smaller-stock trees and shrubs which are easier to plant for smaller-bodied volunteers.

Ages 10+: For Neighborhood Trees events we are planting along neighborhood streets, moving to multiple locations throughout a given area, and planting 8-10′ large-stock trees. Youth under 10 (and the adults looking after them) may find these events challenging.

Youth under 15: We kindly request a parent or guardian is in attendance.  For elementary-aged youth, we request a ratio of 1 adult for every 5 youth.  For older youth, 1 adult for every 10 youth is super.

Youth 15 and older: 15 and older are welcome without an adult, as long as they are comfortable interacting with other adults and youth and can follow planting instructions.

Yes! In order to participate, all youth under age 18 must bring a youth waiver signed by their parent or guardian to the event. Please note that youth will not be able to plant, weed, or mulch if they don’t have a signed waiver. 

Download our youth waiver and bring it to the event signed. We’ll ask for it at the registration table at the start of the event!  We’ll also have copies available at the event.

Registration in advance is strongly encouraged. Please check the online calendar to ensure that the event is no longer closed/at capacity. If an event is full and closed, we really hope that you can consider attending a different event that needs your help! 

To sign up for an event in advance, please click on the event of your choice in the Online Calendar and fill out the registration form linked inside the event. We recommend you check our calendar often as many of our events do fill up! 

To sign up for a training: If you are interested in training for a role, check out the How to Volunteer page with all of our available roles. Select the role you’re interested in and you’ll be led to a page with more details on the role and upcoming trainings.

Yes–we love groups! You can learn more about registering a group HERE.

We are excited to work with groups of almost all sizes!  We commonly work with groups of 5-15 people, and can also accommodate groups of 15-30 people at many events.  **If your group is 30+, please reach out directly to our Volunteer & Outreach Program so we can work together to find the event that’s the best fit for your interests and what we have available.

Possibly. This depends on the size of your group and the type of event you’ll be volunteering at. 

  • To stay together we recommend our Green Space program events where we’re planting in a park or natural area.  We can often keep groups of up to 15 people together on one planting crew.
  • If you’re willing to be split up, you’re a good fit for either of our planting programs: Green Space and Neighborhood Trees.  Please know that for neighborhood plantings we ask groups to split up into smaller teams of 3-5 people each. This ensures a high quality experience while volunteering and contributes to all the trees getting planted.
  • When you look at our online calendar, Green Space events are green, Neighborhood Trees events are purple.

No, Friends of Trees provides gloves to wear and tools to use for the duration of the event. If you feel more comfortable wearing your own gloves, please feel free to bring them! Friends of Trees is not responsible for any misplaced personal items during our events.

During planting season (October-April), waterproof outerwear is ideal. For safety reasons, we require volunteers to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots–tall rubber boots work great! Multiple warm layers underneath a rain-ready layer can help to keep you comfortable throughout the day. 

Our events involve digging in dirt, handling woody mulch, and, sometimes, removing thorny introduced, weedy species. So you can be comfortable with these activities, please wear long-sleeves and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

For Tree Care events (April-May), we still require closed-toe, sturdy shoes or boots for safety reasons. No sandals of any kind, please! And, while the weather may be warmer, we still encourage long-sleeved shirts to protect your skin from slivers in the woody mulch or thorns in some of the weedy species.

In almost all cases, we do not allow dogs at Friends of Trees events.  It’s difficult to know if volunteers coming to an event have a dog allergy or a fear of dogs.  We’ve committed to making our events as safe and inclusive (to humans) as possible, so unfortunately we need to say ‘no’ to our canine friends.  In addition, some of our planting sites such as national wildlife refuges, have deemed dogs disruptive to sensitive fish/wildlife habitat and we honor their rules.

One exception to our no-dog policy applies to our events at the Sandy River Delta in Troutdale, OR (map).  This site also serves as a dog park, and your canine pals are welcome to accompany you on-leash!

We are very willing to discuss service animals on a case-by-case basis. If you have a service animal and would like to attend an event, please contact the Volunteer & Outreach program directly at 503-595-0213 or volunteer@friendsoftrees.org.

At Friends of Trees, the safety of our volunteers, staff, and project partners is our top priority. If our team believes that an event needs to be cancelled, we will update our public calendar and share the update via our social media no later than the Friday morning before an event. If you are pre-registered, you will also receive an email from our Volunteer & Outreach team. If you check our calendar and it does not indicate your event is cancelled, we are moving forward with getting trees in the ground that day.

While an event may still be moving forward, we understand that each volunteer has a unique set of circumstances. Please make the best decision for your own personal safety AND those around you.  If you are feeling ill, we ask that you sit this event out and return when it is safe to do so. 

Yes, BUT…volunteer or service learning hours can only be verified on-site while you are at the event. We are unable to verify hours in any form (letter, call, email, etc) once the event has concluded. After you are done planting, a Friends of Trees staff member (they’ll be wearing a purple Friends of Trees vest) will be happy to sign something on your behalf. We do not provide verification forms, so please make sure to bring the letter, form, or other document that you use to track hours to the planting.

Volunteering with Friends of Trees is an excellent way to fulfill service-learning or volunteer requirements. Our planting events run from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and occur almost every Saturday from October through April. We hope you will join us to have fun planting trees and completing your hours.

To stay in touch, your best bet is to follow us on our Facebook and Instagram (@friendsoftrees) pages. Learn more about our volunteer opportunities, our programs, gain access to tree-sources … and more!  You can also view the latest version of our email newsletter, TreeMail, on our website (link).

Contact Friends of Trees Volunteer & Outreach Staff

Hmm…don’t see your question? No worries–we are still here to help you!  You can reach Jenny Bedell-Stiles, Pablo Brito, and Carey Aroonsuck in the Volunteer & Outreach Program at volunteer@friendsoftrees.org or call our volunteer hotline: 503-595-0213. We’re here to help make your volunteer experience a good one!

Jenny Bedell-Stiles
Volunteer & Outreach Program Manager
503-467-2528 | JennyB@friendsoftrees.org

Pablo Brito
Volunteer & Outreach Program Specialist
503-467-2527 | PabloB@friendsoftrees.org

Carey Aroonsuck
Volunteer & Administrative Assistant
503-467-2531 | CareyA@friendsoftrees.org

All of our volunteers can expect certain things from their volunteer experience with Friends of Trees. In return, Friends of Trees has certain expectations of every volunteer. We encourage everyone to become familiar with these. Thanks!

Our volunteers have the right to:

  • Be provided with an introduction to Friends of Trees, the staff members, and the facilities
  • Be treated as an individual whose time and input is valued by the organization
  • Participate in crafting a well-defined role with clear expectations by Friends of Trees staff
  • Receive training/education for their tasks and be given an explanation of how this work contributes to the larger mission for Friends of Trees
  • Receive feedback about their work and a person to whom they can direct questions and receive support
  • Be given flexibility to integrate their volunteer schedule into their personal schedule (Note: Some roles are more flexible than others and Friends of Trees will communicate this at the start of engagement)
  • Learn about Friends of Trees, its mission, and its programs
  • Be given the opportunity for varied experiences
  • Be provided with a safe working environment
  • Protection from liability, harassment, and other workplace concerns
  • Request a re-evaluation of their role/task if and when they would like to change

Volunteers are expected to:

  • Be sincere in their offer of service to Friends of Trees
  • Be willing to participate in orientation and training
  • Be realistic about their time commitment to the volunteer role
  • Contact Friends of Trees with any scheduling changes
  • Ask for help when needed
  • Carry out their work reliably and to the best of their ability
  • Represent Friends of Trees to the best of their abilities when working with the public as a volunteer
  • Uphold Friends of Trees’ commitment to inclusion at every turn (learn about our Equity & Inclusion policies)
  • Stay within the bounds of the job description, unless otherwise asked
  • Accept the guidance and decisions of the Friends of Trees staff

Upcoming Events

Friends of Trees Events Calendar