COVID 19 & 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 as well as detailed information on safety measures we are taking during this era of Covid-19. Click on the question to view the answer.  Thank you for considering volunteering with Friends of Trees!

The safety of our staff and volunteers is our number one priority at Friends of Trees — we are making changes to our programming to ensure the following safety protocol:  

  • If anyone in your household has felt unwell within two weeks prior to your event, please cancel your volunteer shift.
  • Every person at our events is required to bring and wear a face covering for their entire shift–including children. You must bring your own properly fitted mask (fully covers nose and mouth and is snug around the edges). More on this policy can be found in the “What do I wear?” section.
  • Respect physical distance and space yourself at least 6’ from others outside of your household.  
  • There will be no more than 25 people at each event in the Portland-Vancouver metro region.  In the Eugene-Springfield region, event sizes will be capped at 50 people.
  • All tools and equipment will be sanitized before your shift.
  • All volunteers will be asked to wear gloves, and refrain from taking them off and touching their face. You may bring your own gloves or borrow ours. Friends of Trees gloves are professionally cleaned between every use.
  • No shared food or drink will be available for consumption.  Please bring your own water bottle and any other snacks or beverages you will need.
  • Under no circumstance will carpooling be allowed to planting sites for anyone not in the same household.
  • We encourage you to only consider volunteering at events located within the county you reside in.  There may come a time when counties have different safety/travel protocols, which we will do our best to enforce.
  • As information develops, Friends of Trees reserves the right to make other safety requests of volunteers following government health official recommendations.  We will always tell you with as much notice as we’re able of any changes we are requesting.

If you are at all uncomfortable volunteering with us during this era of Covid-19, please know we understand and hope you return when the time is right for you. We are thankful that you have Friends of Trees in your thoughts and send you our well wishes!

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.

To stay in touch, your best bet is to follow us on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages (@friendsoftrees). To volunteer, check out the online calendar, learn more about our volunteer roles and our programs.  You can also view the latest version of our email newsletter, TreeMail.  Last but not least, our Volunteer & Outreach staff are always here for you: volunteer@friendsoftrees.org; 503-595-0213.

Registration in advance is required. As a Covid safety precaution, we’re limiting the use of paper waivers and instead requiring volunteers to register and sign the waiver online before they volunteer.  Please check the online calendar to ensure that the event is not already full. If an event is full and closed, we hope that you can consider attending a different event that needs your help! 

To reserve your spot at an event: go to the online calendar and click on the event of your choice.  Fill out the registration form linked inside the event. We recommend you check the calendar a few weeks before you wish to volunteer, many of our events do fill up! 

To sign up for a training: All our leadership volunteer roles require a virtual training.  If you are interested in training online for one of these roles, check out the How to Volunteer page with all of our available roles. Select the role you’re interested in to learn more and find any upcoming trainings.

We aren’t allowing groups to register at this time due to Covid-19 concerns. But, we are allowing folks to register themselves individually for the same event.  If each of your group members registers themselves online individually and there are enough spots remaining at that event, you could still volunteer at the same site/day/time (from a safe physical distance).  

Our Portland-Vancouver area events will be 25 or fewer people and Eugene-Springfield events will be 50 or fewer. As such, if your group registers early enough, we can likely accommodate groups of up to ~15 volunteers.  Please contact our Volunteer & Outreach team if you have questions about which events may be the best fit for your group.

Possibly. This depends on the size of your group. 

  • Our Green Space program where we plant in parks and natural areas is our only option currently for planting volunteers.  We can accommodate groups of 5-6 people on the same planting crew for these events (from a safe physical distance, of course).  
  • When you look at our online calendar, Green Space events are green.

Yes! We love working with youth!  

  • We ask that youth age 15 and younger volunteer with a parent or legal guardian present– the parent/guardian can register the youth online when they submit their registration form. 
  • Youth age 16 and 17 can volunteer without a parent/guardian.  Please fill out your own online registration form.  We ask for an emergency contact number of your parent/guardian, which we call before the event to double-check that we have their permission to work with you as a volunteer.

Please know that all volunteers, regardless of age, are required to wear a mask for the entirety of the event.  If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have another medical reason why you cannot wear a mask please contact us — we can invite you to a solo volunteer opportunity.

Yes! 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, our events can be challenging for children younger than 6 and the adults who look after them. 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.

Youth age 15 and under: 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 16+: 16 and older are welcome without an adult as long as they are comfortable interacting with other volunteers and can follow planting instructions.

Some sites are wheelchair accessible, but not all of them. 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.

No, Friends of Trees provides gloves to borrow (that are professionally cleaned between uses)  and tools (that are sanitized before each event). You are welcome to bring your own gloves and tools if you wish, but please remember them when you leave.  Friends of Trees is not responsible for any misplaced personal items during our events.

For Covid-19 safety reasons, we are requiring all volunteers to bring and wear a face covering for the entire time they’re volunteering.  Your mask needs to completely cover your nose and mouth, and should be snug at the edges. You should expect it to be a little uncomfortable to wear a face covering while doing the physical activity that our events require.  Please take your time to complete tasks.  If you find that you’re unable to wear proper face covering while completing activities, it is absolutely okay to leave the event. Curious what we mean by face covering? Here is a list of acceptable face coverings

In addition to a face mask, during planting season (October-April), waterproof outerwear is ideal, as well as comfortable clothes that will keep you warm even if they get wet.  For safety, we require that you wear sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots.  Our events involve digging, handling woody mulch, and, sometimes, removing thorny introduced, weedy species. Please dress so that you will be comfortable with these activities.

Friends of Trees continues to follow the guidelines and recommendations made by the CDC, Oregon, and Washington State Health Authorities. If at any point we feel it is not safe to host events, we will cancel them and notify any volunteers who are pre-registered.

In almost all cases, we do not allow dogs at Friends of Trees events.  It’s difficult to know if a volunteer 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 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 volunteers, staff, and project partners is the top priority. If we believe an event needs to be cancelled (whether due to Covid-19 government restrictions or inclement weather), we will update the online 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 receive an email from us notifying you of the event cancellation. 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.

Inclement weather cancellations may happen if there is heavy snow, ice, and/or unsafe road conditions.  We do not cancel for rain or cold.

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 or a member of your household is feeling ill in any way, we ask that you sit the 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) can sign something that you. Please make sure to bring the letter, form, or other document that you use to track hours to the planting.  We also recommend taking a photo of yourself in action to tell the story of your volunteerism.

We hope you will join us to have fun planting trees and completing your hours!

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. Thanks for reading!

How can I expect to be treated at Friends of Trees?

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

Volunteers are expected to:

    • Be willing to participate in orientation and training
    • Ask for help when needed
    • Be realistic about their time commitment to the volunteer role
    • Be sincere in their offer of service to Friends of Trees
    • Contact Friends of Trees with any scheduling changes
    • 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 and anti-oppression expectations)
    • Stay within the bounds of the job description, unless otherwise asked
    • Accept the guidance and decisions of the Friends of Trees staff
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 & Operations Administrator
503-467-2531 | CareyA@friendsoftrees.org

Upcoming Events

Friends of Trees Events Calendar