Frequently Asked Questions

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

Volunteer Registration & Volunteer Groups

Friends of Trees planting events are excellent ways for individuals, families, and groups to practice team-building skills, have fun together, and give back to the community.  Registration in advance is strongly encouraged — please click on the event of your choice in the Online Calendar and fill out the registration form linked inside the calendar event. We recommend you register at least 1 week in advance of an event, many of our events do fill up!

We love groups! Learn more about group volunteering HERE.

  • For events in the Neighborhood Trees program, it’s important there is an even distribution of volunteers on each planting crew.  Groups larger than 5 people will be asked to split into smaller teams of 3-5 people each.  This ensures a high quality experience while out planting.
  • If splitting up your group will not work, please consider a Green Space event instead where groups of up to 15 can often be accommodated in the same crew.  
Group Size & Splitting Up

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 within what we have available.

Does your group need to stay together for the entire event or would you be willing to split into smaller groups?

  • 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.
How to dress for a planting

Our planting season runs from October through April, when trees are dormant and the abundant rain helps them get firmly established. The weather can often be cold and rainy.  The fall and winter mornings can be chilly, after an hour of planting you may get warm, so we recommend that you dress in layers. Waterproof outerwear is ideal. For safety reasons, we require you wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots. Tall rubber rain boots are the best.

Of course, you’ll be digging in dirt and handling mulch, so please wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

Friends of Trees provides gloves to wear for the event.

Left: Good! Warm coat and hat, rubber boots, warm layers                                                                    Right: While fashionable, this planter may be cold and will get their white shoes very dirty

Left: Good! Rain coat, warm hat, rubber boots, and warm layers                                                                            Right: Avoid sandals and thin cotton layers (will be uncomfortable)

 

 

Volunteer Rights & Responsibilities

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
Inclement Weather Notification

Our temperate winter climate is perfect for transplanting and growing trees, but sometimes we do have to deal with snow and/or ice conditions on planting day. We don’t want to put our volunteers at risk traveling to and from plantings in these conditions, so when you have a question about whether the weather is causing unsafe road conditions, please check out our Online Calendar, or call our Volunteer hotline during M-F business hours — 503-595-0213.   If our calendar does not indicate cancellations, we’re moving forward with getting trees in the ground that day.

Service Learning Hours

Volunteering with Friends of Trees is an excellent way to satisfy your school or organization’s service learning hours 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.

Please note that we are unable to write/send notes, letters or emails to verify hours attended. Please arrive at least ten minutes prior to the start of the planting to sign in and submit a completed waiver. (See below for waiver requirements for volunteers under the age of 18.) At the completion of the planting, a Friends of Trees staff member will be happy to sign something on your behalf, so please make sure to bring the letter, form, or other document that you use to track hours to the planting.

Youth Volunteers: Waiver Requirement & Age Recommendations

In order to participate, all youth under age 18 must bring a youth waiver signed by their parent or guardian to the planting. 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 here, 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.

Is there a minimum age for planters? Over time we have received feedback from parents that are events are best suited for the following age groups.  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.
Can I bring my dog to events?

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

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

Treemail

Stay up to date with Friends of Trees! Learn more about our volunteer opportunities, our programs, gain access to tree-sources … and more!  Sign up for our e-newsletter Treemail to stay in the loop. Your personal information will not be shared with or sold to any organizations, businesses, or other third parties.

Contact Friends of Trees Volunteer & Outreach Staff

Questions about volunteering?  You can reach Jenny Bedell-Stiles, Pablo Brito, and Carey Aroonsuck in the Volunteer & Outreach Program at gro.seertfosdneirf@reetnulov 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 | gro.seertfosdneirf@BynneJ

Pablo Brito
Volunteer & Outreach Program Specialist
503-467-2527 | gro.seertfosdneirf@BolbaP

Carey Aroonsuck
Volunteer & Administrative Assistant
503-467-2531 | gro.seertfosdneirf@AyeraC

Upcoming Events

Friends of Trees Events Calendar