Hoyt Arboretum Friends (HAF) is a member-supported, nonprofit organization working in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation to provide leadership, advocacy and sustainable resources to Hoyt Arboretum. HAF is dedicated to supporting Hoyt Arboretum’s plant collection and to providing education about plant ecosystems, gardening and conservation. The group coordinates volunteer efforts and provides critical financial support for Hoyt Arboretum operations, maintenance and capital improvements.
In the 1980s, some of Hoyt Arboretum’s land was viewed as “empty” which led to the siting of the beautiful Vietnam Veterans' Memorial on Hoyt Arboretum’s south slope. This in turn led a group of citizen volunteers to band together to begin advocating on behalf of the arboretum. By 1986, this group realized that the arboretum needed leadership, sustainable funding and advocacy on an ongoing basis and formed Hoyt Arboretum Friends as a non-profit organization.
Since 1986, HAF has built the Visitor Center, created the garden which surrounds it and which enchants visitors with surprises and beauty, rebuilt and greatly expanded the picnic shelter which is now the Stevens Pavilion, added the 90+ species holly collection, and added interpretive signs to major collections. These are the permanent changes.
In 2009, over 45,000 people used free maps and educational brochures provided by HAF, while many more used the website to download a map and information. People from every state and over 20 countries dropped by the Visitor Center for information and help. And since a garden is always a work in progress, much of HAF’s contributions are to supplement the daily work that trees and plants outside their native habitat require. Twenty-five years later, Hoyt Arboretum Friends is an integral part of the day-to-day operations at Hoyt Arboretum and long-term planning for the future.
HAF, however, is only a conduit for the volunteers, donors and supporters who care about the Arboretum and are collectively nurturing and sustaining this special place. With its partner, Portland Parks & Recreation, HAF is providing the stewardship that a museum of living trees requires.