Pandemic Causes Friends of Trees to Pivot

Pandemic Causes Friends of Trees to Pivot

Portland, OR. Friends of Trees is an Oregon-based organization that plants trees around the Portland-metro area, Salem, and other parts of the state. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers have had to shift how they work to make sure it’s safe for everyone. Pivots include only carpooling with people in the same household and wearing masks during an entire volunteer entire.

Photo courtesy to FriendsOfTrees Instagram.

Organizers also request no more than 25 people per shift in the Portland area while in places like Eugene, a crew can include up to 50 people. Currently, Friends of Trees requires volunteers to sign up on its website and sign the waiver online instead of in person.

To best stay in touch with Friends of Trees, follow the nonprofit’s social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages at friendsoftrees.

Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions from Friends of Trees:

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!

Click on any question for the answer!

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 [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
Volunteer & Outreach Program Manager [email protected]

Pablo Brito
Volunteer & Outreach Program Specialist [email protected]

Carey Aroonsuck
Volunteer & Operations Administrator [email protected]

Oregon Parks Forever Raises Funds to Replant One Million Trees Lost to Wildfires

Oregon Parks Forever Raises Funds to Replant One Million Trees Lost to Wildfires

Portland, OR. The 2020 Oregon wildfire season was one of the most destructive on record in the state of Oregon; more than one million acres of forestry burned taking homes as well. In response to the fires, Oregon Parks Forever set a goal of raising funds to plant one million trees. Currently, funding and planning are in the early stages with a goal of beginning to replant trees this Fall at the earliest.

Seth Miller, Executive Director of Oregon Parks Forever, touches on the benefits of replanting trees, “Why should we replant after a fire? Trees provide the very necessities of life. They clear our air, protect our drinking water, create healthy communities and feed our souls. Our forests provide critical wildlife habitat, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities. They sequester carbon and help reduce soil erosion by stabilizing slopes and preventing landslides.”

According to Miller, Oregon fires this past summer was more than twice the amount of damage the state has experienced in recent years.

Depending on how much money is raised and after determining the greatest need and potential impact, Oregon Parks Forever will work with the following agencies and county departments:

  • Public land managers from the US Forest Service
  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Oregon Parks & Recreation
  • County park departments in Clackamas, Marion, Lane, and Jackson counties

More than 1 million acres of forest in Oregon burned this past summer.

By planting these trees, Oregon Parks Forever aims to have the highest impact of visual benefits as well as recreational. According to Miller, U.S. Route 22 between Salem to Bend has one of the highest burn areas and will be a high priority area.

This comes at a time where budgets of public land managers are already stressed due to ongoing funding challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic according to Miller. There are a number of promotional events going on currently, including a promotion for Oregon Parks Forever with KGW TV for the next couple of months.

Promotions with other TV stations will also occur later this Spring along with a co-branding deal with a winery, brewery, and cidery in the summertime. To help raise the funds needed in order to complete the goal of one million trees the organization is in need of donations.

From the Oregon Parks Forever website:

There are currently three ways to help donate:

  • Use this link to the Oregon Parks Forever website to make a donation
  • Send a TEXT to 41444 with the message REPLANT
  • Use your Smartphone camera at this QR code below

Currently, there are no volunteer opportunities available at this early stage but keep an eye out for Oregon Parks Forever monthly newsletter with the most current updates on the project. Use this link to access the Wildfire Impact Panel video recording that Oregon Parks Forever held on Nov. 17, 2020, about the fires. The passcode for the recording is: trees4parks!

Our mission is to raise funds to enhance and preserve special places and experiences in Oregon’s parks, now and for generations to come, and to encourage and promote an outdoor lifestyle.

Rep. Blumenauer Praises Portland’s Green Initiatives & Friends of Trees at Neighborhood Planting

Rep. Blumenauer Praises Portland’s Green Initiatives & Friends of Trees at Neighborhood Planting

Portland, March 23rd, 2013,. U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer inspired more than 100 volunteers set to plant 200 trees in Portland’s Vernon and Concordia neighborhoods, sending them off with praise for Portland, its green innovations, and the legacy the planters would leave for future generations.

In reflecting about what makes Portland special, Rep. Blumenauer praised NW Natural, which generously sponsored Saturday’s planting, and Portland General Electric, which has supported Friends of Trees for decades and whose Renewable Power Program Manager Thor Hinckley is a Friends of Trees board member.

“Our local utilities are among the national leaders in trying to do things differently,” said Rep. Blumenauer. NW Natural “took the lead in a program to change the way we pay our gas bills … so there was actually an incentive to save. Before that, they were penalized if there was conservation.” About PGE he said, “We probably have more per capita green energy voluntary bill payers in Portland, who pay a little bit more to support energy sources that are easier on the planet” than anywhere else. And now, if you sign up for Paperless Billing, “they’ll kick in a buck so we’re saving a tree and we’re planting a tree.”

Rep. Blumenauer Joins the FOT Tree Team

FOT Board Member Nancy Buley presents a Friends of Trees “Tree Team” T-shirt to Rep. Earl Blumenauer at FOT’s March 23 planting in Portland. (Photo by Mark Ferris)

About trees and their impact on our stormwater management system, Rep. Blumenauer said, “There’s a reason why the Bureau of Environmental Services is involved with supporting this [tree planting]. Because the more that we are able to build the green infrastructure, it’s not just that we’re getting help with climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, but trees act as sponges—the root system, the leaves— … and the city has made the rational decision that the more they can help this effort in greening the city, the less we have to worry about stormwater getting into the sewer system. … It’s part of the Portland approach.”

While jogging to the planting that morning, Rep. Blumenauer said he saw “the legacy that the people 20, 40, 60, 100, 120 years ago planted that we’re enjoying today,” and he recalled the “poetry” of the presentations that Heritage Trees Program founder Jane Glazer gave to Portland City Council when he was a city commissioner, which highlighted the history of many Portland trees.

“Today you’re making history,” he said. “You’re out in our neighborhoods planting a legacy that’s going to make a difference for generations to come. You’re not only enriching Portland today, but you’re enriching Portland for our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, allowing us to live a little more lightly on the planet.”

After being presented with an honorary Friends of Trees “Tree Team” T-shirt, Rep. Blumenauer lifted the shirt up and said, “I’m going to wear it when I run on the mall next month.”

Friends of Trees is honored that Rep. Blumenauer, a longtime advocate for the environment and urban forestry, came to our planting and spoke so eloquently about the importance of planting trees.

The slide show above of Rep. Blumenauer and Saturday’s planters was provided by Friends of Trees Board Member Nancy Buley, Communications Director for J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., and FOT volunteer Mark Ferris.