More than 100 desert-adapted and low water-use trees are now casting shade on the Marana Veterans Memorial, courtesy of the local Rotary club and 92 volunteers. 

“It was such an honor to participate in and give back for the sacrifices that our veterans made,” said Stacey Fox, assistant district governor for Rotary.

Fox has been a proud member of the Rotary for seven years. She works with the Oro Valley rotary club, and has served in many different positions throughout her time there.

“I was really drawn into the passions the Rotarians have with community outreach and service,” Fox said. “It’s a great benefit to the community and the service-above-self mentality really sticks with me.”

That community-giving ethos was expounded upon by the recently elected Rotary International President, Ian Riseley. Very passionate about global initiatives, he launched a new, worldwide goal for Rotary: plant over 1.2 million trees around the world, one per every Rotary member. 

“We’re not only taking care of people all over the planet,” Fox said. “We’re taking care of the planet itself. We’re reminded that you need to think globally as well as in your community.”

In an environmentally-minded bid, Riseley announced the goal to plant trees from the start of the Rotary year to Earth Day, July 1, 2017 to April 22, 2018. 

“The time is long past when environmental sustainability can be dismissed as not Rotary’s concern,” Riseley said. “It is, and must be, everyone’s concern.”

With the relatively new Marana Veterans Cemetery still in the process of being perfected, it seemed an obvious place for Rotary to plant its trees.

“It was a win/win,” Fox said. “What better way to honor our amazing veterans?”

In addition to the Region 6 Rotarians, the 92 volunteers came from throughout Marana, Oro Valley and Saddlebrooke, and represented organizations such as the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, Trees for Tucson, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and a fraternity from the University of Arizona. There were even Unites States veterans among the volunteers.

With such a passionate and dedicated team planting, it took around only an hour and a half to plant all 107 trees. That’s about one tree each minute.

“Trees for Tucson told us that we might actually hold the record tree planting in Tucson now,” Fox said. 

As for the worldwide tree-per-member goal, here in Tucson, it’s getting along well. 

“Rotary is all over Tucson planting trees,” Fox said. “All of the clubs are on their way to complete the goal.”

And even across the nation, from California to Florida, Rotary clubs are planting hundreds of trees in each of their respective home town.

“This project was a year-and-a-half in the making,” Fox said. “And I’m glad it turned out so well.”

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