Rotary clubs plant trees along with community A group of South Side Rotarians, city employees and students from an Interact club planted 75 trees with saplings donated by Forest ReLeaf, a community-assisted tree nursery in St Louis.

Both the Southside and Eastside Rotary Clubs in St Joseph, Missouri, are contributing to a worldwide tree planting initiative, where they plant one for each member of their club. Photo: Nathan Ellgren / News-Press Now
Both the South Side and East Side Rotary Clubs in St Joseph, Missouri, are contributing to a worldwide tree planting initiative, where they plant one for each member of their club. Photo: Nathan Ellgren

Ian Riseley, Rotary’s International President, recently challenged all 35,533 Rotary clubs around the world to plant one tree for every club member, which would amount to 1,236,554 new trees.

And both the South Side and East Side Rotary clubs (Missouri, US — District 6040) in St Joseph are contributing to the worldwide tree planting initiative.

On October 10, a group of South Side Rotarians, city employees and students with Benton High School’s Interact Club, planted 75 trees along the Southwest Parkway between Hyde Park and the REC Centre.

Funding for the project came from a grant awarded by the Rotary District office, and Dr Beery Johnson, the principal at Benton and a Rotarian for five years, said they planted a variety of oaks, maples, poplar and tulips trees.

All 75 saplings were donated by Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, a nonprofit community-assisted tree nursery in St Louis.

Its mission is to restore and sustain urban forests around the state.

“I remember from my childhood, planting a tree with my grandfather,” Johnson said.

“I live at that house now, and almost 50 years later it’s a huge tree now. So what a great experience it was for our students here at Benton to be able to interact with our Rotarians, and do a service project like this in our community.”

“They can look back 20, 30, 40 years down the road, and say, ‘Hey, I helped plant that tree and look at it now,’” he said.

Joyce Edwards, a South Side Rotary Club member since 1995, said the 75 holes were predug by local prisoners, and their job was to properly position the trees in the holes and cover them with fertiliser, soil and mulch to ensure that the saplings stay sturdy and healthy.

“We learned that trees in our area need to be planted facing Southwest because we have prevailing northeast winds,” Edwards said.

“As we know, ice storms can be pretty serious in this part of the country,” she added.

“Years ago, I lost several trees on my property. It’s heartbreaking because we depend on our trees and so we want these trees to be able to stay here and serve the people in our community because Rotary’s mission is service above self.”

Molly Zawadny-Walkep, a freshman at Benton High School, said the Interact club has a lot of new members this year and investing time in Rotary projects is worthwhile and has great benefits.

“My sister actually got a scholarship from Rotary to go to college here at Missouri Western,” she said.

“It was a very nice amount of money and she worked really hard for that. It’s giving your time to something that you may not think is that big but you get a lot in return. You get service hours, you can get money for college and you just get the good feeling of helping your community.”

The remaining grant money from the tree project will be used to purchase several memorial park benches through the St Joseph Parks, Recreation and Civic Facilities Department that will have plaques with the names of South Side Rotarians who have passed away.

The East Side Rotary Club has also planted 72 trees at Bartlett Park, Parkway A and at the Northeast Park near the YMCA.

Source: News-Press Now

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