Rotarians worldwide have been charged this year with planting a tree for every member. When that is completed, there will be 1.2 million new trees planted across the globe. Rotary Club of Lawrenceville chose April 6, 2018, as the day to plant trees. Let’s look at some of the ways this helps our community.
For this event to happen Rotarians had to enlist the support of the community. For instance, Jackson EMC sent equipment and manpower to dig holes with their auger so that our Rotarians did not have to dig each hole by hand. Creative Enterprises, a nonprofit agency for people with disabilities, provided the land and committed time and resources to help with the project. Gwinnett County assisted with technical assistance. The Gwinnett Citizen was willing to publish this article so that the community could learn about the project. Since Rotarians are employed by all of the organizations mentioned, they were able to work together in order to assemble everything to make the project successful. Even though Rotarians actually put the trees in the ground, the project would have been much more difficult without the help of everyone involved. It was truly a community effort, and it was a fun project because everyone was thinking of the Rotary motto of “service above self.” At the end of the day, 60+ trees were planted thanks to our community. We know that the very air we all breathe, and share comes from plants. In a community where we see rapid development, new trees will take unhealthy carbon dioxide out of the air and convert it to the healthy oxygen we need. This is similar to Rotarians going into troubled areas of the community and working to improve those areas to benefit everyone. The clean-up on Old Norcross Rd. on March 24, 2018, is a good example of this.
Those of us fortunate enough to have access to a great, climbing tree as children learned valuable lessons from trees. We discovered that the shade from a massive tree cooled us down 10- 20 degrees in the summer. The leaves shaded us from the sun and emitted moisture that helped to cool us too. The thick branches provided space to sit or lie down and protected us from potential predators below, like an angry bull attempting to expel us from their pasture. While sitting in those branches, we discovered a whole world of nature that we do not usually see. There could be bird nests with mother birds bringing food to their baby chicks. There would be ants and other insects crawling up and down the tree. Sometimes we discovered the hard shell of a cicada attached to the tree bark when it was no longer needed. The sap from some trees could be chewed as a substitution for gum.
All of these amazing things happening in the same space reminds us of our communities now where so many lives are lived simultaneously. We are connected and have choices to make. If we choose to accept the fact that the things we do affect each other, it makes sense to help our neighbors because it ultimately helps us in the process. The beautiful areas stay beautiful because the community works together. Rundown communities happen when people stop working together and focus on themselves. Trees have roots that grow deeper and extend farther over time. We can choose to be citizens with deep roots so that others can count on us when needed. Trees come in all shapes, sizes, and types just like people and we can appreciate their differences just like we can appreciate the difference in an apple or peach tree. Trees are resilient like people and grow and change over time. If each person in Gwinnett committed to planting a tree this year, we would increase the number of trees in our community by almost a million, and it would certainly increase our air quality so that we would all benefit. If you choose to plant a tree, leave a comment on our Facebook page at Rotary Club of Lawrenceville or our website at lawrencevillerotary.org. We would love to hear from you.
Leigh is a proud Rotarian and CEO of Creative Enterprises, Inc., a not for profit, training, and employment, community rehabilitation program for adults with disabilities. A lifelong resident of Gwinnett County, Leigh divides her time between advocating for people with disabilities, enjoying her children, grandchildren, and friends, helping her doTerra essential oil customers, traveling, and focusing on her spiritual journey to appreciate how we are all connected.