Newsletter for the Rotary Club of Dalkeith - Issue No.: 307 Issue Date: 19 Apr, 2018

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Back to our Roots

Last summer, Ian H.S. Riseley challenged every Rotarian to plant a tree by Earth Day 2018. On these pages, we trace Rotary’s love of trees from its founder, Paul Harris, to the trees Rotarians are planting today, including the heritage apple tree that members in Germany are cultivating. You will also read about the similarities between Rotarians and trees, President Riseley’s thoughts on the primal power of trees, and the ways we honor – and fail to honor – trees. 

Earth Day is 22 April. Time to get your grove on!

The tree whisperer   By Geoff Johnson

In 1931, Sydney W. Pascall, the first European president of Rotary International, prepared to embark on a world tour with his wife and daughter. Before Pascall left London, Paul Harris proposed an idea that ultimately became a Rotary tradition. As Pascall remembered it, “the revered founder of Rotary . . . suggested that a most appropriate way of symbolizing the Rotary idea would be the planting of trees. I started the observance in the National Botanical Gardens” in Cape Town, South Africa, with the first tree planted by a Rotary president on a presidential trip. Before the tour was over, Pascall had planted more than 30 trees, while his wife, daughter, and “mayors and Rotary leaders” planted 22.

A habitual planter of trees, Harris immediately emulated Pascall’s example. On 17 August 1932, he planted his first tree – a maple – on European soil. Harris thought the site “especially appropriate”: Berlin’s Tempelhofer Feld, a former military parade ground. Fourteen years after the end of World War I, Harris envisioned his maple maturing into a symbol of international peace. “The tree was planted,” he wrote afterward, “with the fervent hope that it would stand for many years as symbolic of the living, growing friendship between the great German people and my own country.” (History, of course, had other plans.)

From Berlin, Harris traveled across Europe, leaving a trail of trees in his wake. Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden; and Bergen, Norway – in a span of about three weeks, each of those cities received a Harris tree. In 1934, he visited South Africa, where Port Elizabeth got a Norfolk pine. The following year, Harris planted trees in Australia, New Zealand, Shanghai, and Japan, including one, in Tokyo, on the grounds of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel.

During Paul and Jean’s 1936 tour of Central and South America, Harris planted more than a dozen trees in seven countries. One occasion stood out: In Valparaiso, Chile, during the first Ibero-American Conference of Rotary clubs, Harris arrived for what must have become an almost commonplace ritual. But a surprise awaited. “The [Rotary] delegates from the various countries each brought with him a sack of soil from his own country,” wrote Harris in his Peregrinations III, “and solemnly emptied it in the hole dug for the tree. Could their sympathy have been better expressed?”

Q: Why tree-planting?

A: Environmental issues have not featured highly on the radar of Rotary International in a corporate sense since 1990-91 when President Paulo Costa’s Preserve Planet Earth program inspired thousands of clubs to carry out environmental projects. I was keen to give Rotarians an incentive – and the opportunity – to show their concern for the environment. It’s important to me and it’s important to many other people. 

Why trees? Because anyone can do it, just about. If you can’t plant one yourself, you can still support tree-planting somewhere that needs it. From everything I’ve heard, people inside and outside Rotary have embraced this idea.

Read the full article here

Find resources to help you plan and publicize your tree-planting project through the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group at esrag.org.

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Tom Langley

Notices

Contact Details ...

President: Craig James OAM

Mob. 0412 489-134

Email:dalkeithrc.secretary@gmail.com

Secretary: Trevor Gorey OAM

Mob. 0417 903-304

Email:dalkeithrc.secretary@gmail.com

Membership: David Ellis

Mob. 0438 800-724  

Email: david@elliscorp.com.au

Speakers: John Hopkins  OAM

Email: jdh1@bigpond.com

Web Master: Tom Langley

Mob. 0418 902-169 

Email:  tom.langley@bigpond.com

Meeting Mondays at Nedlands Golf Club 6.00pm for 6.30pm  Melvista Avenue, Nedlands.

Postal Address:

 PO Box 251,  NEDLANDS,  WA  6909         

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