Ro­tary helps pub­lic tree nurs­ery take root

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE - By Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @PottstownNews on Twit­ter

POTTSTOWN » The lat­est chap­ter in this story may end up be­hind Pottstown High School, but it started about a year ago in Aus­tralia.

Aus­tralia is where Ian H.S. Rise­ley is a mem­ber of his local Ro­tary Club — San­dring­ham, Vic­to­ria, Aus­tralia to be spe­cific.

But last year, Risely was also the pres­i­dent-elect of Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional and, as is the club’s tra­di­tion, he set a global theme for the year.

It was an ap­pro­pri­ately global goal.

The pres­i­dent-elect chal­lenged ev­ery Ro­tary Club in the world to make a dif­fer­ence by plant­ing a tree for each of its mem­bers.

En­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion and global cli­mate change “are hav­ing a dis­pro­por­tion­ate im­pact on those who are most vul­ner­a­ble, those to whom Ro­tary has the great­est re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Risely ” said last year at Ro­tary’s In­ter­na­tional Assem­bly in San Diego, ac­cord­ing to a post in the club’s web site.

“Yet en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues rarely reg­is­ter on the Ro­tary agenda,” he said. “The time is long past when en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity can be dis­missed as not Ro­tary’s con­cern. It is, and must be, every­one’s con­cern,” he said.

Trees re­move car­bon diox­ide and other green­house gases from the air, which slows global cli­mate change.

The shade trees pro­vide also lower tem­per­a­tures and thus elec­tric­ity use, and en­ergy bills.

They also in­crease the value of res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, stud­ies have shown.

“It is my hope that the re­sult of that ef­fort will be far greater than the en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fit that those 1.2 mil­lion new trees will bring,” Rise­ley said. “I be­lieve the greater re­sult will be a Ro­tary that rec­og­nizes our re­spon­si­bil­ity not only to the peo­ple on our planet, but to the planet it­self.”

Mike Bright was the pres­i­dent of the Pottstown Ro­tary Club when that chal­lenge was is­sued and he took it to heart.

The fact that 2018 is also the 100th an­niver­sary of the Pottstown Ro­tary Club gave him a pretty good idea of how to meet that chal­lenge, he said be­tween dig­ging tree pits July 14.

“We de­cided to plant 100 trees,” he said, although he ac­knowl­edged the club doesn’t have 100 mem­bers — “yet.”

“We were just go­ing to plant

them around town, in parks and the like, and then Tom Hyl­ton came to us and said ‘why didn’t we plant them in a sus­tain­able way in a way that helps the town the most?’ and we agreed that was a great idea,” said Bright.

“Now, when Pottstown needs a tree, they can just come here, dig one up and plant it where it’s needed,” he said.

Ro­tary pur­chased the trees and Hyl­ton ob­tained per­mis­sion from the school board to use the plot of land be­hind the school along North Adams Street.

An ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem was in­stalled by local plumber Aram Ecker.

Then came the day of plant­ing and it was dis­cov­ered that the dirt that had been dumped on the site to raise it up enough for the roots to be be healthy had set­tled a bit.

Shov­els were not go­ing to get the job done. Luck­ily, the bril­liant idea of rent­ing an auger was floated and soon enough, 100 tree pits had been dig into the loos­ened soil.

The new nurs­ery will be home to:

• 20 pin oaks

• 20 red maples

• 15 Kwan­son cherry trees

• 15 red oak

• 10 Val­ley Forge elms

• 20 Lon­don plane trees and

• 3 sun­burst maple trees. Bright said he hopes that the high school’s In­ter­act Club, sever mem­bers of which were on hand to help with the plant­ing, can help with main­te­nance through­out the school year.

Ro­tary spon­sors the In­ter­act Club in the high school.

The day after the trees were planted, a pow­er­ful storm blew through the area and knocked over sev­eral of the newly planted trees.

But they were righted later July 15 and bam­boo stakes are be­ing used to en­sure that does not hap­pen again.

The part­ner­ship be­tween the school district, the Ro­tary Club and com­mu­nity ac­tivists serves as an­other ex­am­ple of the ad­van­tages of col­lec­tive ac­tion and team­work, said John Ar­mato, the district’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity re­la­tions and a Pottstown School Board mem­ber.

“Just an­other ex­am­ple of peo­ple com­ing to­gether to make Pottstown a bet­ter place to live,” said Ar­mato, adding, as he is of­ten known to do. “One town, one team, one goal.”

EVAN BRANDT — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

From left, Peggy Whit­taker, Spring-Ford High School sopho­more Ge­off Bright, Pottstown High School Se­nior Giankirk Kim­mell, David Sut­ton, Pottstown High School se­nior Destiny Moyer and Hank Say­lor all worked July 14 to plant 100 trees in a new nurs­ery...

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