Are you 21 or over?

By Sam Erman (he/him) 

Corporate & Business Relations Specialist with Friends of Trees

Trees are truly amazing!  They clean our air and water, produce oxygen, fight climate change, provide habitat, make us healthier, and when planted with the Portland-based community tree-planting nonprofit, Friends of Trees, they build community!  Since its founding in 1989, Friends of Trees has planted over 870,000 trees and native shrubs in neighborhoods, parks, and natural areas throughout Oregon and SW Washington, with thousands and thousands of volunteers. 

Healthy urban canopies give us life!  Literally, with the majority of our population now living in the built urban environment, neighborhoods and parks are where most people come into contact with trees and their many benefits.  During heat waves, which are exasperated by the urban heat island effect, the shade of our urban canopy keeps us cool and comfortable.  This shade also lowers our cooling costs!  Speaking of heating & cooling, trees absorb climate change-causing greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, mitigating future extreme weather events caused by climate change.  By scrubbing pollution from our air and water, boosting our immune system function, and reducing stress, trees make us healthier.

With such incredible proven benefits, can you imagine an urban landscape without trees!? Unfortunately, in the early-mid 20th century, many trees in the Portland metro area were removed for the expansion of roads, highways, and industry.  If only they knew that planting trees along roadways actually creates safer streets with reduced traffic speeds, and a green view from a window increases job satisfaction!  Since then, dedicated community members, the City of Portland, and groups like- Friends of Trees have worked tirelessly planting trees to make our streets green and lush, but there is still so much work to be done!  The Portland metro area has an extremely unevenly distributed tree canopy, with percentages ranging from 5% to 70%, depending on the area.  With people of color and low-income communities more likely to live in areas without sufficient tree cover and green spaces, it’s important that trees get planted throughout the metro area to ensure equal access to the many benefits of trees.

Friends of Trees works with municipalities, nonprofits, community benefit organizations, businesses, and community members to plant trees throughout the Vancouver, WA, Portland, Salem, and Eugene metro areas.  Partnerships like Nature Never Stops fund the planting of trees and the growth of community necessary for a healthier urban canopy in our metro areas and, in turn, a healthier region!