Canopy Update: Shelter at Home Day 3, March 19, 2020

By Canopy Team on March 19, 2020

From the desk of Executive Director Catherine Martineau

headshot of smiling woman standing in front of tree trunk
Catherine Martineau

Dear Friends and Partners,

I hope this update finds you well and healthy on Day 3 of the Shelter at Home order. These are stressful times, and the order further isolates us from each other.

During our remote staff meetings, the questions that keep coming back are “how is each of us doing?” and “how can we help our community?” We talk about our volunteers, our board members and advisors, the kids from our partner schools and youth groups, our colleagues who work for Midpeninsula cities, our sister organizations in the Peninsula Conservation Center and beyond, our consultants and suppliers, and our many supporters and grant makers.

We know each of you is doing your best to adapt and make sense of a surreal situation, while also worrying about the future. We miss your presence, your enthusiasm, and your smiles.

As we wish to know how you are, we want to reassure you that we’re doing well at Canopy. Since my last update, we continue adapting to remote work. Thankfully, our staff is technology-savvy and well-equipped. Everyone’s safely at home, including Maika who flew back to Portland in the nick of time on Monday.

As always, my colleagues are thoughtful, compassionate, resourceful, creative, and hard working. I’ll give a few examples.

  • Supporting teachers: Ever since the schools closed their doors, first to us and then to their students, Natalie and Vanessa have been strategizing on how best to serve the teachers and students we were going to visit this spring. Vanessa created and sent several resources such as this tree-based breathing exercise in lieu of the Wellness Tree Walks we were going to do this week for PALY.
  • Ensuring young tree survival: Elise, Jack, and Maya are reorganizing our tree programs, putting to use the time freed-up by the cancellation of planting and tree care workdays. Although field work has mostly stopped, Jack noticed that the County’s order allows the minimum necessary activities to maintain the value of our business’ inventory. This means he can go out, by himself, to water our young trees and monitor the acorns and seedlings recently planted.
  • Taking our teen program remote: Jack is also re-designing the Teen Urban Forester program for remote operations. Since high schools are closed, we want to stay connected and offer meaningful activities to our TUFs.
  • Offering online inspiration: In the absence of workdays, Katie is staying in touch with our volunteers and preparing posts to offer resources and inspiration to our community. Maika also created a virtual tour of “Rooted: Trees in Contemporary Arts” exhibition at the Palo Alto Art Center. Check it out!
  • Ensuring business continuity: Shannon, Katie, and I are working to implement our business continuity plan. Thankfully, most of our business tools are on the cloud. We’ve been collaborating on Google Suite for Nonprofits for many years and Google Meet is fantastic for keeping in touch visually via remote meetings. Online accounting and banking have been in place for a long time.
  • Shoring up our infrastructure: Maika, Shannon, and I are working on financial projections and preparing for creative ways to resume fundraising when the time comes. We’re grateful that several foundation Program Officers have reached out in the last few days, and that Shannon is able to continue preparing proposals. We’re still working on our database transition to Salesforce. “TreeForce”, as we affectionately call it, is getting better every day.

Thank you, friends, for your continued support. Drop us a note when you have a minute; we’d love to hear how you’re holding up. Stay safe and healthy!

With gratitude,


P.S. Since the County’s directive still allows for outdoor activity, it’s a good opportunity for a self-guided tree walk on this first day of spring, or simply taking a quiet moment to breathe beneath the canopy.

Related: Canopy COVID-19 Update #1: Events cancelled, working remotely

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