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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Friends of Trees

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Environmental Beautification, Forest Conservation

Mission: Friends of Trees inspires community stewardship of our urban forest by bringing people in the Portland-Vancouver area together to plant and care for city trees and urban natural areas.

Results: Friends of Trees has planted over 400,000 trees.

Geographic areas served: Portland, OR / Vancouver, WA Metro Area

Programs: Neighborhood trees program (nt) - the nt program engages and supports homeowners who wish to plant trees along their planting strips and in their yards. This program aims to increase the urban forest canopy in metropolitan areas in oregon and washington using citizen volunteers to plant trees. Fot coordinates all aspects of volunteer tree planting activities, from tree selection to permit approval. To procuring and planting trees with homeowners in over 100 neighborhoods in five cities in the region.

greenspace initiative (gsi) - the gsi program works to restore natural areas in both riparian and upland habitat areas in the region. The gsi program works in several watersheds in the region to restore traditional salmon habitat and native bird habitat utilizing all native plants and trees.

public education and outreach - fot promotes the value of trees and restored natural systems to over 300,000 people across the country each year. Through social media, direct contact and workshops and conferences, fot has been aggressive in its approach to educate the general public about the multitude of benefits received from tree planting and habitat restoration. Fot has made participation safe, fun and easy, and has encouraged tiered commitment for its long standing volunteers. Fot has streamlined the ability to participate and learn, and has conducted two very successful volunteer tree planting campaigns.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Ruth55

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We love planting trees with FOT. Rain or shine, we believe every neighborhood deserves baby trees.

Kristin14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Friends of Trees since 2006, first as a Crew Leader helping teams of other volunteers plant street trees in our neighborhoods, then as a Neighborhood Coordinator, planning my own neighborhood's annual tree planting. I keep coming back because the work feels so beneficial--to have more trees in our urban environment. But mostly I keep coming back because Friends of Trees makes volunteering so enjoyable--the staff sets a fun, upbeat, lively tone to every event. We get important work done AND we have fun doing it, which makes continuing the work easy.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wow! Adding green to my neighborhood and condo complex was easy with Friends of Trees! A true grass roots organization helping to add nature back to the city. They make it affordable so that everyone can enjoy some more nature, more wildlife and better air.

Jeff C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

First I ordered trees for my own house and helped plant them along with neighbors. Then I became a crew leader on plantings. Now I'm a neighborhood coordinator and it's been rewarding every step of the way. Friends of Trees (FOT) builds community is many ways, not only in improving the canopy of trees along our streets, but connecting neighbors and volunteers with their own places of living.
You can't plant a tree and not think about them a little differently afterwards. The hands on aspect is key.
FOT's mission is growing, and keeping up with that is the biggest challenge of all.

Conan H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering for Friends of Trees around 15 years ago, but I have had such a positive experience that I keep coming back every year! They are always well organized, positive and dedicated to increasing the tree canopy in the greater Portland metropolitan region. They are constantly challenging themselves to improve their processes and they also work hard to connect with all of the communities in the region. Thanks to Friends of Trees, the Portland/Vancouver area is gaining tree cover instead of losing it! I will be back for as long as they keep it going!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a crew leader for the Neighborhood Trees program. This means I spend four or five Saturdays planting about a dozen trees. This experience never fails to make me happy. You would think the focus would be on the trees, greening the city and reducing global warming. But actually, the best part is getting to know the folks I am planting with, finding out why they decided to volunteer and what their life is about. Portland, Oregon is a big city, but this is the greatest way I have found to find new connections with others. I love to see neighbors who didn't know each other, become friends by the end of the planting. Then we go back to where we started and have a great lunch, prepared by other volunteers. In the end, the trees get in the ground, and everyone is excited to watch how they grow.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I couldn't wait to request that Friends of Trees plant a tree in my yard. I loved the idea that there is a group who would do that. As I was welcomed into the process, I found out that I myself, and my neighbors, are that group! When you connect with F.O.T you become part of something larger: a community effort where you meet new friends and neighbors, enjoy part of the day working outside in the fresh air. There is a wonderful satisfaction in having joined together to plant hundreds of trees.

Friends of Trees staff are friendly, capable stewards who are passionate about planting trees in Portland neighborhoods. As soon as I made my inquiry, my local representative connected me with the beautiful F.O.T. website, where I learned about many new varieties of trees, and easily select the one I wanted. The price was extremely reasonable.
F.O.T. communicated the timeline clearly, giving me lots of notice to reserve that day for volunteering. They gave clear instructions on where and when to meet, and which task I was requested to volunteer with. I saw that they could use snacks, so I was happy to contribute.

I was really struck by the overall spirit of cooperation fostered by this amazing organization. I see new trees frequently in my area and they dramatically improve the quality of the area.

I'm happy to have been part of the planting. I may volunteer for another day in someone else's neighborhood. This group does such important work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Until volunteering with Friends of Trees, I was mostly an indoor-type person and wanted to change that. So I had been on the lookout for a well-run, professional, environmental, and community-building focused organization to which I could volunteer my time. Friends of Trees is precisely that. The staff knows their stuff when it comes to trees and they know how to expertly organize and manage volunteer, community-based events every single weekend during the planting season. And there's just something fundamental about putting trees into the ground and wondering what they will become 10, 20, and 50 years from now and knowing the benefits trees provide to future generations. Friends of Trees is simply fantastic!

Albert K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We planted 212 trees yesterday in Irvington, Portland, Oregon, USA

We love Friends of Trees. Efficient, friendly, organized, and creating a lasting changing in our City. Every city should be so lucky to have such an amazing group in their town.

Here is my write up of our planting on March 12th, 2011 with a slide show of pictures!

http://albertideation.com/2011/03/15/trees/

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We were able to buy discounted trees through Friends of Trees. At first, we thought that was the best part. Then we volunteered to help plant... Meeting people in our neighborhood, learning how to properly plant trees, getting to be part of an amazing organization, etc... it was an a memorable experience! FOT helps our environment, our community, and every individual who has the opportunity to be a part of it.

Matthew N.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've volunteered with Friends of Trees several times now, and I'm always impressed with how well the events are organized. Friends of Trees is a great organization that really benefits livability in Portland's neighborhoods.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love being able to boost the urban forest while getting to know awesome people! And the home made food is the best. The FOT employees are also pretty great.

Laura S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I helped to plant trees with Friends of Trees recently and it was an amazing experience. I learned a lot about planting trees and it was so much fun connecting to member in my community while helping to increase the much needed tree canopy in our city. I will be volunteering again in the future for sure. I love what they do!!

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

organization is very well-run overall, i've never experienced a major hitch, everyone is very friendly and professional and hard-working! they are very appreciate of their volunteers and the homeowners are ecstatic about receiving their trees.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered two and a half seasons with Friends of Trees as a crew leader for the natural areas plantings. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a wonderful feeling knowing that each season I was responsible for getting at least 200 new trees planted. Every volunteer that I was a crew leader for was enthusiastic and interesting. I think FOT attracts caring, kind and seemingly very bright people : ). I also all the crew leaders that I met and worked with. It has so far been one of my favorite volunteer experiences in the Portland area.

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What I love about this group, in addition to its admirable mission and friendly staff, is the focus and organization of its events. Volunteers who show up for neighborhood tree plantings are efficiently assigned to small groups which spread out and systematically plant trees--If you like a sense of accomplishment and teamwork and don't mind dirt--join this crowd. (You also usually get snacks)

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am currently volunteering at Friends of Trees. Nothing makes me feel better than tree-planting! It's so much fun, and the people who both work and volunteer there are really nice, down-to-earth and happy people. I'm really enjoying my experience there!

14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Friends of Trees is an amazingly great organization - as a 3rd generation Oregonian, I really appreciate their mission and their passion for grass roots community involvement.