Tucson Rotary clubs have some wonderful Valentine’s Day plans. They will be planting over a dozen trees in downtown’s newly refurbished Jacome Plaza, alongside Tucson Clean and Beautiful and volunteers from around the city.
“It’s a lot of people and a lot of trees,” said Diane Goodyear, chairman of public image for District 5500. “We’re very excited.”
This event is just the most recent in a series of tree-planting services the Rotary has been engaged in since last summer.
Rotary’s goal is to plant over 1.2 million trees around the world, one per every Rotary member. Newly elected Rotary International President Ian Riseley started this tree-planting project for environmental sustainability as part of his presidential theme, Rotary: Making a Difference. He said protecting the environment and fighting climate change are essential to Rotary’s goal of sustainable service.
Riseley hails from Australia, a country that takes climate change very seriously. On the official ClimateChangeInAustralia.gov.au, the Australian government lists that “since 2001, the number of extreme heat records in Australia has outnumbered extreme cool records by almost 3-to-1 for daytime maximum temperatures, and almost 5-to-1 for night-time minimum temperatures.”
In response to this increase in national and global temperatures, 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.”
Southern Arizona Rotary District 5500 heard this call to action, and have been busily planting trees since.
“We have over 1,500 members in this district,” Goodyear said.
“It’s the first time Rotary’s done something this challenging.”
Rotary District 5500 is working in collaboration with Tucson Clean and Beautiful to plant the trees in neighborhoods and parks throughout Tucson. The District’s first tree planting project was September at the Garden District by the Tucson Botanical Gardens, and their second tree planting project was this last December.
“People from the community even came out to watch us plant,” Goodyear said. “They were so excited.”
This tree-planting project coincides with Tucson Mayor Rothschild’s 10,000 Trees Initiative.
The original goal was to plant thousands of trees by the end of 2014. Not only did that goal succeed, but since then Tucsonans have planted 19,770 trees.
Now, the Rotary goal is just making things better.
“He was very excited when he heard about what we were doing,” Goodyear said. “He wanted to be involved. It’s kind of a win-win. It’s an awesome project that we can all get excited about.”
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