Vancouver honors its volunteers with tree planting

An event to recognize this year’s recipients will occur when public gatherings are allowed

VANCOUVER – The city of Vancouver recently added nine trees to its Volunteer Grove at Centerpointe Park (N.E. Fourth Plain Boulevard at Pacific Way) to honor civically-minded residents and groups who have donated at least 50 hours of volunteer service to the community.

Vancouver Urban Forestry intern Matt McLean plants one of this year's trees at the Volunteer Grove. Photo courtesy of Vancouver Parks and Recreation
Vancouver Urban Forestry intern Matt McLean plants one of this year’s trees at the Volunteer Grove. Photo courtesy of Vancouver Parks and Recreation

Now in its third year, the Volunteer Grove tree planting is usually accompanied by an award ceremony to celebrate the honorees, but the in-person event was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. An event to recognize this year’s recipients will occur when public gatherings are allowed.

“Each year we plant trees to symbolize the commitment of our volunteers,” said Hailey Heath, volunteer coordinator for the city of Vancouver. “The Volunteer Grove reminds us of the legacy created by these citizens who choose to donate their time to strengthen their community. At a time when keeping our community safe requires that we avoid physical contact with one another, it is especially important to remember and celebrate the vital connections that are created through service to others. In the future, we hope that people will sit in the shade of these trees and enjoy the many benefits they provide to our community, it will bring to mind the work of these volunteers.”

The 2020 honorees are:

  • John Caton, Vancouver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member
  • Trip planners and drivers from the 50 and Better Travel Program
  • Members of the Heights District Plan Community Advisory Committee
  • Gillian Johnson, Cemetery Steward, VolunTOUR and V.I.N.E. Squad volunteer
  • Melissa Johnston, Urban Forestry volunteer
  • Haley Miller, V.I.N.E. Squad volunteer
  • Georgina Reyes-Garcia, V.I.N.E. Squad volunteer
  • Billie Shank,  50 and Better program and Meals on Wheels People volunteer
  • Paul Stasz, Urban Forestry volunteer

The 2020 trees added to the Volunteer Grove were Douglas fir, giant sequoia, Hogan cedar, ponderosa pine, Alaskan yellow cedar and coast redwood. Urban Forestry interns and city AmeriCorps members planted the trees in March using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention physical distancing guidelines.

Nominations for the Volunteer Grove are accepted year-round and submitted on behalf of individuals, organizations and businesses that have made a significant and positive impact in the Vancouver community and have donated at least 50 hours of volunteer service to the community.

To learn more about the Volunteer Grove and this year’s recipients, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/volunteertreegrove.

Information provided by city of Vancouver.

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