“I work to protect forests around the world but nothing beats my connection with the one in my backyard!” says Lucas Black, Evergreen Circle member of Hoyt Arboretum Friends.
Connecting with the Arboretum
Like many of us, Lucas has a deep connection to Hoyt Arboretum. He and his family love the park as a green refuge, a global collection of tree and plant diversity nestled in a lush forest of native conifers.
The Arboretum is where they take breaks and walk with their yellow lab Atticus. They have favorite trees and treasured memories stashed along the trails, and choose to support the Arboretum on an emotional level.
A Career in Climate Finance
But, Lucas’ drive to support the Arboretum is also intellectual, stemming from his career in climate finance for the World Wildlife Fund. His job is to drive creative funding for nature-based solutions for climate change and loss of nature in tropical forests around the world.
When talking about his job, Lucas admits, “it can be tough to sell investing in climate in places where they may have other, understandable priorities. We are so lucky to have national and local parks systems here in the States.”
As we walk he’s reminded of last year’s April snowstorm, “The amount of damage we saw, it was just so sad, and almost like a reflection of society and the human experience at that time.”
He continued saying he was impressed with how we were able to recover. With the help of volunteer stewardship crews, it took a full 9 months to clear trails of downed trees and remove dead wood hung up in trees. The structural damage that occurred in that storm will take us years to recover from.
Lucas moved to Portland with his wife and teenage daughter about 4 years ago and Hoyt quickly wove itself into their family’s fabric. They love White Pine, Bristlecone, and Redwood Trails, and Lucas is a self-proclaimed “tree nerd”.
While we walked he pointed out the ones that he considers particularly cool, like the Pacific madrone along the stairway up to the top of the Holly Loop. “It just has this incredible, almost human-like shape to it!” he grins.
The bristlecone pines also got a shout out as the somewhat inconspicuous and admittedly scrawny trees that are descendants of the Methusalah tree in Inyo National Forest- a bristlecone pine that is thought to be the world’s oldest living organism clocking in at an ancient 4,800 years!
The Evergreen Circle
Lucas chooses to make his contributions to Hoyt Arboretum Friends on a monthly basis through our Evergreen Circle because he feels his support should mirror the way he interacts with the Arboretum: On a consistent basis.
Before we part ways, Lucas reiterates how much he loves the Arboretum and says “it’s important to my family and many others. It is a gem, and an important public resource.”
Thanks to support from Evergreen Circle members like Lucas Black, Hoyt Arboretum Friends can count on consistent funds to support our youth and adult education programs, volunteer and visitor support, and maintain our tree conservation work year-round.
Become a member of the Evergreen Circle by making a monthly donation of $6 or more.