Kids turn out, boosting success of tree-planting day

You’ll be amazed to learn how many David Douglas High students pitched in to help during this annual outer East Portland arboriculturist event …

Scores of volunteers gather here in the Russell neighborhood, as another Friends of Trees planting day is about to get underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Before trees “wake up” for the season, Portland’s non-profit Friends of Trees organization holds large-scale tree-planting events.

This year, folks gathered at Parkrose Community United Church of Christ in the Russell neighborhood on the morning of February 25 to find out where they’d be planting trees in that neighborhood, as well as in Wilkes, Parkrose, Argay Terrace, and Parkrose Heights.

“Today, thanks to the help of our volunteer teams, we’re planting about 125 trees,” revealed Friends of Trees Neighborhood Tree Specialist Andrew Land.

Ready to trim recently-installed trees is the pruning crew of Rob Hanifin, Jeff Kisseloff and Don Crossley.

Now in their 27th year, the organization is branching out into tree care, Land said. “Concurrent with planting today, we’ll also have a pruning event going on, and volunteers will prune 175 trees during the morning, to help keep them healthy,” he said.

He’s always glad to see volunteers turn out to help plant trees, Land told East Portland News, because trees not only improve the beauty of a community, but also help filter air and water, house native and migratory birds, offer shade, block wind, and help stabilize the environment.

In the church’s Social Hall, volunteers are welcomed to the event.

“And, this planting is great because of all the David Douglas High School (DDHS) students here, which makes it one of my favorite community events,” Land said.

With some of the David Douglas High School volunteering ESL students is their teacher, standing on the right, Anne Downing.

More than 70 DDHS “English Language Learning” students again came to the help out, said ESL instructor Anne Downing.

“You know, it’s amazing that these teenagers get up on a Saturday morning, find their way to the bus, or just walk to the location, to plant trees,” Downing reflected. “Many of them say they do this, here, in their ‘new home’, because they want to contribute by doing something in the community that makes it beautiful and healthful.”

Russell Neighborhood Association Chair Ron Glanville welcomes volunteers to the event.

“Here in Russell, and at our church, we love community, and this looks like real community,” Russell Neighborhood Association Chair Ron Glanville told the group before they headed out. “For all of us here in the Russell neighborhood we appreciate you being here.”

Groups load up trees and supplies before heading out to their planting sites, where homeowners have purchased the trees to be planted.

The first stop for “Group J” was at the home of Rob and Jessica George, on NE 148th Avenue in the Wilkes neighborhood, north of the Glendoveer Golf Course.

“We know about Friends of Trees because we’ve volunteered in the past,” said homeowner Rob George, as the crew started digging the hole for their new backyard tree.

Looking over their new tree are homeowners Rob George and Jessica George.

“We think it’s a valuable opportunity for people to meet others in the community, and to do good for the neighborhood in which they live,” George added. “For example, we want our property to have more trees, like are found in our neighbors’ yards, so we’re adding a tree here.”

DDHS students Khanh Lee and Sang Huynh fill in dirt around the planted tree.

There are many ways to become involved with Friends of Trees; to learn about their “Growing healthy communities”, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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