Like planting trees and shrubs? Try counting frog and salamander eggs!

Tree planting is just one way to do hands-on volunteer work in your watershed. Once again this winter, Tree for All partners are training volunteers to count frog and salamander egg masses in local parks and natural areas. Each community scientist will pull on a pair of waders to gather data about where frogs and salamanders lay their eggs, how many eggs are laid, and which species are present. This is a great opportunity to build your skills and get a behind-the-scenes, up-to-your-elbows view of some of the most ecologically exciting areas in our region.

Volunteers typically participate in four separate surveys, totaling approximately 12 - 25 hours in late January - March. New volunteers must attend a training session (January 12, 19 or 26) to participate in the 2019 season.

Volunteers will track four native amphibian species: Pacific chorus frogs, Northwest salamanders, long-toed salamanders and Northern red-legged frogs. Why are we so interested in counting amphibian eggs? They let us know how we’re doing. Monitoring these native species helps indicate the overall wetland health and measure how Tree for All’s restoration efforts are helping wildlife thrive. Amphibians are considered an “indicator species” of wetland health. They require high quality ponds and slow-moving creeks for reproduction, and their larvae are sensitive to pollutants such as pesticides, fungicides, and heavy metals.

Interested in being a community scientist? Attend a training this month! Find full details here


It's Planting Season: Join us for an Upcoming Tree Planting Event!

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Every year, Tree for All partners get more than a million native trees and shrubs in the ground — and it’s easy to do your part. From October through March, there are dozens of opportunities for people of all ages to get involved in landscape-scale restoration by planting trees and removing invasive plants. No experience is necessary, and a good time is virtually guaranteed.

Most events take place on Saturday mornings from about 9 to noon. Host organizations provide tools, training and snacks. Many hosts ask you to register or RSVP ahead of time, and they all ask you to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty.

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Tree for All partners offering volunteer opportunities this Fall, Winter and Spring include Clean Water Services, Friends of Trees, Metro, Tualatin HIlls Park & Recreation District, the Wetlands Conservancy, and the cities of Beaverton, Cornelius, Tigard and Tualatin.

Visit the Tree for All calendar to find an event that works for you.

Walking, Stopping, and Sharing with Paseos Verdes

As the Paseos Verdes health walks enter their second year, the expansion of the program has been at the forefront of our efforts. Paseos Verdes, a part of the Tree for All initiative, is not only connecting underserved community members to the natural areas in their own backyard, but also encouraging the health and wellness of its participants through walking.

To broaden our community connections with Washington County residents, we’ve enlisted the help of local Bilingual Naturalists. These Bilingual Naturalists are county residents who have an interest in encouraging the exploration of natural areas and the pursuit of wellness by members of the Spanish-speaking community in Washington County. Their training has molded them into well equipped leaders, ready to carry out the mission of Paseos Verdes in our community.

On a sunny Saturday, our new Naturalists—along with a few community ecologists—embarked on a full day of training. The group explored Jackson Bottom Wetlands and Fernhill, familiarizing themselves with the regional flora and fauna that they will soon be sharing with our Paseos Verdes walkers. While repeating a helpful chant: “Walk, stop, and share,” the group traveled along the paths in the wetlands—walking, then stopping, and sharing fun facts about the wildlife and water that happened to be within reach of our eyes, ears, and hands.

A day filled with plant identification, bird watching, and lots of walking, ended with exhausted smiles, and excited guides ready to engage with participants and connect with nature. Like our new Naturalists, we too are looking forward to another year of Paseos Verdes.

Learn more about Paseos Verdes

Cascade Education Corps: Students Connecting to Nature, Community, and Self

The motto for Cascade Education Corps is “Connecting to Nature, Community, and Self," and our partnership with Tree for All is an important part of that connection. We are an experiential education program within Tigard-Tualatin School District that aims to provide underserved youth with the knowledge, skills, resources, and confidence to be life-long environmental stewards.

Students in CEC spend three days per week out in the field working on restoration projects sponsored by other Tree for All partners, including Clean Water Services, Friends of Trees, and The Wetlands Conservancy.

We have had many incredible experiences together this school year. Cascade Education Corps is a program driven by its members, so in this photo gallery, I will get out of the way and let each of them share what has been most meaningful to them about the year so far.

-Jason Pankiewicz-Waldram, Program Coordinator/Crew Leader

A Dose of Nature for Mental Health

We intuitively know that taking a walk in the woods or spending a few minutes by a river produces feelings of calm and wellbeing, but now there’s scientific evidence to back that up. Exposure to nature has been shown to significantly decrease stress and boost wellbeing. 

Chronic stress has been associated with an increase in the risk of conditions such as obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, and asthma. The good news is, research shows that time in nature —or even just a view of trees —can significantly relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and support wellbeing.

A 2010 study published in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, for example, found that participants who walked in a forest had lower blood pressure and levels of cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) afterwards than those who walked through a city environment. Luckily, you don’t need to hike in the wilderness to get these stress-busting benefits. Any green space, even a tree-filled neighborhood park, provides good medicine.

Merely having a view of nature from one’s home or office has been linked to improved wellbeing and enhanced focus. High school students in classrooms with views of trees have been shown to learn better and perform higher on tests. In the workplace, employees with a view of nature have been found to be happier, more productive, and take less sick days.

Washington County residents don’t have to look too far to find a vibrant natural area or tree-filled view. Tree for All’s landscape-scale restoration efforts have resulted in an abundance of opportunities throughout the Tualatin River Watershed to connect with nature – and that’s something we can all feel good about. 

 

Caption Sources

Wolf, K.L., S. Krueger, and M.A. Rozance. 2014. Stress, Wellness & Physiology - A Literature Review. In: Green Cities: Good Health (www.greenhealth.washington.edu). College of the Environment, University of Washington.

Tsunetsugu, Y., B.J. Park, and Y. Miyazaki. 2010. Trends in Research Related to “Shinrin-Yoku” (Taking in the Forest Atmosphere or Forest Bathing) in Japan. Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine 15, 1:27-37.

Nedovic, S., Morrissey, A., (2013). Calm, active and focused: Children’s responses to an organic outdoor learning environment. Learning Environments Research, 16(2), 281-295.