Friends of Trees' Excellent Adventure

All in all, Friends of Trees planted more than 42,000 trees and native plants during the season. It would not have been possible without the help of more than 3,500 volunteers who gave nearly 32,000 hours of their time during the 2011-12 season.

During the 2011-12 planting season, the fourth year of our partnership with the city of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services to add street trees to Portland neighborhoods, Friends of Trees’ Neighborhood Trees program surpassed its goal of planting 4,000 street trees through the whimsical Plant It Portland! campaign, planting 4,118 street trees. Altogether, Friends of Trees planted more than 5,300 street and yard trees in Portland, Vancouver, Beaverton, and Eugene—15% more than the year before—which was already a banner season.

Friends of Trees continued to offer the Neighborhood Greenways program by giving away 120 trees to homeowners along the city’s greenways, expanded the number of Plant-by-Bike crews who pulled all trees and tools to planting sites, and removed the barrier of price for many homeowners by providing free trees in eight Portland neighborhoods. At the same time, we offered a larger selection of trees than we’ve offered in any previous season: more than 130 different species.

Our restoration work expanded dramatically, too. The Green Space Initiative program planted more than 38,000 native trees and plants in green spaces throughout the Portland-Vancouver and Eugene-Springfield metro areas. That’s 36% more than during the previous season—which was also a record-breaking season!

This was the inaugural year of a new collaboration among Friends of Trees, SOLVE, and the Clackamas River Basin Council — The Rock Creek Partnership, with funding from Clackamas County Water Environment Services, to work with private landowners to restore the streamside of Rock Creek, a tributary to the Clackamas River. Friends of Trees led four plantings as part of the partnership, including a Rock Creek Watershed Wide Event hosted at Pendarvis Farm.

Friends of Trees also continued planting along the I-205 Multi-Use Path in partnership with ODOT, Metro, EMSWCD, and more than a dozen other neighborhood groups and businesses. On April 14, we were honored to plant a row of oaks along the path in SE Portland in memory of Gail Achterman, the first woman to chair the Oregon Transportation Commission. Gail led the effort to protect the Columbia River Gorge and planted some of the first trees along the Multi-Use Path in January 2010. Gail passed away in January this year.

Friends of Trees also expanded southward during the 2011-12 season. Thanks to the strong roots of the 15-year-old Eugene Tree Foundation, whose board voted to join Friends of Trees as “Friends of Trees Eugene” last fall, and thanks to the dedication and hard work of new FOT staff members Erik Burke and Jeff Lanza, Friends of Trees Eugene had an impressive first planting season. Friends of Trees Eugene hosted ten planting and restoration events, leading 454 volunteers to plant more than 800 trees and native plants, including more than 100 street trees.

Since May of last year, Friends of Trees also won the following awards:

• Grand Marshal’s Award for the Rose Festival Parade float Right Tree, Right Place, Right On! which PGE created to feature Friends of Trees’ Plant It Portland! campaign.

• Chosen as one of Oregon’s Best 100 Nonprofits to Work For by the Oregon Business magazine

• A Governor’s Volunteer Award for our Neighborhood Trees Program

• The 2011 Public Relations Society of America Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award for successful tree planting promotions through the years and recently through our Plant It Portland! campaign

• Along with ODOT and Metro, we received the Women’s Transportation Seminar’s Leadership in Diversity Award for the I-205 Multi-Use Path project

• The Pride of Portland Award from the Downtown Portland Lions Club

• And most recently, a Silver Certification for Sustainability at Work from the City of Portland for sustainable practices in the workplace

See more fun photos of the crew in action!