School yards are high-value locations for tree planting. Not only can we plant larger, native trees that don't fit in planting strips, we can use the opportunity to educate, build community, and enhance the learning environment for young Portlanders. Since 2008, the Tree Program has brought trees to campuses across Portland.
Creative Science School
Thanks to the energy and investment of parents, Environmental Services had an opportunity to work with the Portland Public School District’s Creative Science School to create an arboretum that celebrates and educates students and the public about trees of special native, international, and historical significance. The arboretum includes trees like our native bigleaf maple, which has the largest leaves of any maple on earth, and the Jefferson elm, an American elm cultivar resistant to Dutch elm disease. The collection also includes trees from six different continents. This arboretum provides an educational asset for Creative Science School. It also increases the connectivity of Portland’s urban forest.
Students at Hosford School plant trees on their campus with Friends of Trees, Portland Timbers players and Environmental Services
David Douglas High School
Despite the loss of its natural resource program, David Douglas High School students continue to find ways to get their hands dirty in their community. In 2013, students from the English as a Second Language (ESL) program won the Bill Naito Community Trees Award for their part in helping to plant more than 1,000 trees in East Portland with Friends of Trees.
That same year, the Environmental Services Tree Program partnered with more than 100 student volunteers from ESL, biology, student leadership, and the wrestling team, as well as their dedicated teachers, coaches, and facilities staff, AmeriCorps, Friends of Trees, and Verde to bring the benefits of trees to their campus.
While the students were able to engage in an outdoor activity, learning about trees, service, and teamwork, they also improved their campus for generations of students to come. Trees planted will shade south-facing classrooms and the edge of the athletic fields for summer practice. They line the bus exit, intercepting rain from the impervious drive, and provide a restorative view from classroom windows.
The students also planted two educational arboretums: a grove of native species on the north end of campus for study and wildlife habitat, and a grove of international trees on the south end of campus to celebrate the school’s diversity. The project received a “We Are Portland” award from the Office of Equity and Human Rights.