Many Portlanders are familiar with local non-profit Friends of Trees (FOT) and their prodigious planting programs. Since 1989, FOT has planted more than 500,000 trees in the Portland-Vancouver and Eugene-Springfield metro areas. Over the last several years, FOT has partnered with the Bureau of Environmental Services Tree Program and the Tabor to the River Program to help extend the benefits of the urban forest to even more Portlanders.
Just a few years ago, FOT devised an even greener and more fun way to plant: by bike! Aside from reducing carbon emissions, the joy of riding bikes with your neighbors adds to the planting experience. Volunteers at neighborhood planting events get to spend time with their neighbors enjoying breakfast and getting their hands dirty—all while contributing to a vibrant urban forest that will provide benefits for decades to come.
This year’s Sunnyside planting, located in the Tabor to the River program area, was an impressive affair. On January 24th, as many as 100 people gathered to participate, and after a few announcements and thank yous, the bike trailers packed with trees took off from Sunnyside School Park and Sunnyside United Methodist Church. Trailers carried trees destined to find homes in a yard or planting strip nearby. In typical Friends of Trees style, gratified volunteers from several neighborhoods—cyclists, walkers and automobile drivers alike—returned to a potluck of delicious homemade food.
In addition to Sunnyside, FOT staff and volunteers helped to plant trees in Laurelhurst, Kerns, North Tabor, Centennial, Mill Park, Hazelwood, and Glenfair neighborhoods that morning. In all, volunteers planted over 200 trees, and at least half of them by bike!
If you’d like to volunteer for a Friends of Trees planting this year, visit https://friendsoftrees.org/plant/calendars/portland-vancouver. While many plantings are closed to new volunteers, there are still several opportunities to get involved.