Fallen trees and branches are splattered all over Lane County thanks to the March snowstorm and rains, but more trees are on the way, via bicycle. Friends of Trees is planning on putting nearly 100 trees in the ground this Arbor Day, April 7.
The Friends of Trees event is a collaboration with the city of Eugene and Jefferson Westside neighbors as well as EWEB and Northwest Natural. After meeting at Jefferson Park, teams will be sent out to plant at the park and around the nearby neighborhood. There will also be some going into the ground near the Lane County Fairgrounds.
Mayor Kitty Piercy will be giving a speech before the planting commences and the city of Eugene will be yet again awarded a “Tree City USA” award, which is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and allows for greater national assistance in planting urban trees.
The areas for planting have been determined based on need considered by organization leaders. They take into account canopy levels as well as the lack of tree canopy in lower-income areas, says Erik Burke, Eugene director of Friends of Trees.
“We try to focus on the areas that have the greatest need,” he says.
Trees can provide shade that reduces the costs of cooling buildings in the summer and other benefits.
At the moment, areas with a strong volunteer base are able to get greater attention, but Burke says the organization is planning to expand that base throughout Eugene and Springfield.
Last year Eugene Tree Foundation, which had been around for 14 years, became a Friends of Trees branch. The Portland-based organization has been planting trees in that city since the early ’90s.
This Saturday’s event will be the first use of bicycles for bringing the trees and tools for planting by the Eugene chapter. The technique has been used in Portland for some time, but it will be a new way of operating down here.
“We’re just going to try it with a couple teams to learn how to do it and then next year try and have our first all-bike planting,” says Burke.
After all the trees are planted, Northwest Natural will be providing barbeque and refreshments for all those involved at Jefferson Park.