Sustainable Portland: Planting Trees and Enriching the Urban Canopy
It’s not all bad, really — can’t always focus on doomsday environmental stories, right? There has to be a business or three out there doing something proactive and sustainable, and actually having a net positive affect on the planet? Of course! And here in the Pacific Northwest, there’s a lot of them, including Friends of Trees, whose mission statement proclaims:
Friends of Trees’ mission is to bring people in the Portland-Vancouver and Eugene-Springfield metro areas together to plant and care for city trees and green spaces.
Through our Neighborhood Trees program, homeowners buy discounted trees to plant with their neighbors at weekend plantings. During the first year of our exciting three-year Plant It Portland! campaign, we planted more than 4,000 street and yard trees in Portland and more than 500 street and yard trees in Vancouver, WA, and Beaverton, OR. This year we’re partnering with the Eugene Tree Foundation to establish a Eugene office of Friends of Trees. Since Friends of Trees was founded by Richard Seidman in 1989, we have planted 415,000 trees and native plants.
More Information on Friends of Trees in Portland
If you live in an inner-Portland neighborhood like me, then you’ve most certainly seen them. Fledgling trees, young but by no means tiny, planted carefully in the ground every 10 or 20 feet, often with several lining a particular block, all with stakes and twine setting them straight and a tag hanging off the trunk like it’s a birthday present to the house behind it. And in some ways, it is.
With a four-point “health” plan, Friends of Trees addresses some pressing environmental and social isues by planting trees in and around neighborhoods. Conservation, Community, Health and Money. The group makes positive environmental change friendly, palatable and entirely reasonable for just about anyone. Trees provide shade, and cut energy costs by 30% during the summer, for instance. Streets lined with canopies of trees provide a subtle indicator to drivers to slow down: you’re driving through a family neighborhood where children might be playing. Through the life-cycle of a tree, water, soil and air are all cleaned, benefiting anyone and everyone in the community. And in terms of Money, trees planted on one’s property have been shown to significantly improve the overall value of the home. Friends of Trees has made the environmental problem meaningful to everyone, and perhaps more importantly — they’ve created a solution that is just as accessible.
Find more information on Friends of Trees at their website.
How to Plant With Friends of Trees: the Video Guide