An Update on Tree Planting in District 5495 
As we have travelled the state, DG Nancy and I have been thrilled to see so many Rotarians and Clubs excited about, planning and taking action on the Tree Planting Challenge. From north to south and east to west, D5495 Rotary Clubs have embraced this call to action. As I write, there are 120 days until Earth Day April 22, 2018, and depending on where you reside, a relatively narrow window for optimal tree planting! 
The following club projects will hopefully get you thinking about how your club might develop and carry out a tree-planting project.
  • The Sun City Rotary Club, the Sun City Satellite Club, and the Sun City Del Sol Club completed their project last fall. They had partnered with the Sun City PRIDES, a local community organization, to replace ageing citrus trees with deciduous trees on the major street medians. Clubs’ and District Grants funds were used to undertake this effort.
  • The Camelback Crossroads Club, (satellite of the Rio Salado Rotary Club) harnessed the energy, resources and labor from all Tempe Rotary Clubs and planted over 100 trees in Svob Park. They focused on areas of the park that needed additional shade for the enjoyment of the local community. Numerous partners were engaged to support, guide and fund this particular project. (More on this from Tara Haviland, project leader, in the February Newsletter.)
  • The Rotary Club of the Grand Canyon has plans in the works to partner with the town of Tusayan to plant trees near roadways in the town to enhance the look and feel of the business district and the entrance to the National Park.
  • Members of the Sun Lakes Club noticed that the campus of the recently completed local high school, Casteel High School, lacked trees. They teamed with their Interact Club and the school administration and planted trees to make the landscaping match this otherwise beautiful campus.
  • In Lake Havasu City, Rotary Clubs are partnering with a local school for special needs children to enhance the landscaping on the school campus and community garden. They are planting sustainable trees and plants that will stand up to the searing summer temperatures in their area.
  • The Rotary Club of Litchfield Park has committed to planting two trees for every member and is working with the town, schools and their Interact Club, to make this happen.
Some clubs may choose to provide much needed support to our Arizona forests and forests throughout the U.S. Forest restoration projects support local ecosystems, but have a “downstream” impact improving environmental conditions throughout the state.  The following link will take you to an interesting article that describes the forest restoration process that started near Flagstaff after the Schultz Fire in 2010.
The National Forest Foundation has a number of tree planting opportunities. The NFF has a small business program that starts with a $100 membership donation. After the initial fee the National Forest Foundation will plant a seedling in a national forest for every additional dollar donated. This is a cost-effective way for individuals and businesses to support the Tree Planting Challenge and make a difference in our national forests.
At the Rotary International level, the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group has created a wonderful website at The link will open your eyes to inspiring tree planting projects happening worldwide such as the Hiroshima Peace Exhibition that can be found on Facebook at heiwa: rotary hiroshima survivor trees. The esrag website listed above includes a Tree Counter to enter, track and report out at Rotary International all trees planted by April 22. How cool is that?
Please email me at and share your Club’s story, along with pictures, or send articles and photos to our District Newsletter Editor through the email address on this newsletter.
Best Wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
Tom Hutchinson