Volunteer 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 and detailed answers. Click the question to view the answer.  Thank you for considering volunteering with Friends of Trees!

Registration in advance is required. 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.

Yes! Groups of all sizes are welcome to register for all of our events!  Some events may be a better fit for a group depending on location, physical abilities, and interest in staying together.

Green Space events: These events happen at a site within a park or natural area, and we can often keep groups of up to 10 people in the same planting crew. If your group is larger, you will be on different planting crews but in the same vicinity and still able to interact. You will plant smaller-sized native trees and shrubs, which are often easier for youth to plant on their own. We recommend this style event for youth age 6 and older. Look for the green events on the online calendar.

Neighborhood Trees events: These event happen within several neighborhoods. You meet at a central location, and then spread out to plant in the nearby neighborhood. We can keep a group of 3-5 people together in the same planting crew. You will be planting larger-sized trees (6-10′ tall and weighing up to 40 lbs). We recommend youth are 10+ years old, unfortunately there are relatively few tasks for smaller-bodied people at these events. Look for the purple events on the online calendar.

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 can accommodate groups of up to 10 people on the same planting crew.  If your group strongly prefers volunteering together in the same vicinity, we recommend Green Space events. When you look at our online calendar, Green Space events are green.
  • Our Neighborhood Trees program can accommodate groups of 3-5 people on a planting crew. If your group doesn’t mind splitting up, these are fun group events!  Look for the purple events on the online calendar. When you look at our online calendar, Neighborhood Trees events are purple.

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 via the online calendar.
  • Youth age 16 and 17 can volunteer without a parent/guardian.  Please fill out your own online registration form via the online calendar.  We ask for an emergency contact number of your parent/guardian. You also need to bring a paper copy of our youth waiver signed by your parent/guardian. 

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.

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!

During planting season (October-April), a waterproof jacket and rain pants are ideal, but any comfortable clothes that will keep you warm even if they get wet are great (synthetic fabrics and wool are better than cotton).  For safety, we require that you wear sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots.  Our events involve digging, hauling trees, handling woody mulch, and, sometimes, removing thorny introduced, weedy species. Please dress so that you will be comfortable with these activities. We also ask that you bring a face mask to wear if you are indoors (e.g. carpooling, indoor restrooms).

No, Friends of Trees provides gloves to borrow (that are professionally cleaned between uses)  and tools (that are cleaned between each use). 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.

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.

Friends of Trees requires that volunteers cancel their participation if they feel unwell or have tested positive for Covid-19/RSV/flu within 3 days of your volunteer shift.

We understand that comfort levels vary in our communities and ask that you honor people’s personal decisions. Please know our staff and Crew Leaders hope and expect that you will share with your crew what would help you be able to fully participate.

Friends of Trees currently hosts events in the Vancouver-metro, Portland-metro, Salem, and Eugene-Springfield regions. Please see our online calendar for upcoming planting and tree care events. If you are looking to get involved in Eugene-Springfield, check out the Eugene Friends of Trees page.

Cities and municipalities include: Beaverton, Cornelius, Durham, Eugene, Gaston, Gresham, Happy Valley, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, North Plains, Oregon City, Portland (NE), Salem, Sherwood, Springfield, Tigard, Tualatin, Vancouver, and Wilsonville.

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: [email protected]; 503-595-0213.

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 has 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 [email protected].

At Friends of Trees, the safety of volunteers, staff, and project partners is the top priority. If we believe an event needs to be canceled (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 the event.

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

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 in any way, we ask that you sit the event out and return when you feel well.

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 here to help!  You can reach our Portland-Vancouver team or Eugene-Springfield team at [email protected] or call our volunteer hotline: 503-595-0213. We’re here to help make your volunteer experience a good one!

Jenny Bedell-Stiles (she/her/hers)
Volunteer & Outreach Program Manager [Portland-Vancouver Metro]
503-467-2528 | [email protected]

Taylor Glass (she/her/hers)
Volunteer & Program Specialist [Eugene-Springfield Metro]
541-632-3683 | [email protected]

Cece Ortiz-Barreiro (she/her/ella)
Volunteer & Outreach Specialist [Portland-Vancouver Metro]
503-467-2534 | [email protected]