A Rotary success story

Graeme Houston - TfS Chairman

A Rotary Club initiative, the Trees for Survival programme has now been active for 22 years. Over the years it has been developed and refined to the model seen today. More recent Rotarians have not necessarily been familiar with TfS and Rotary’s close involvement with a programme that educates students in how to grow and look after plants raised from seedlings, frequently in PGUs; then to plant and look after the trees on a variety of at-risk land.

At the recent two-day training for incoming Presidents (SPPETS), at Waipuna Lodge in Auckland, the TfS team exhibited a working plant growing unit (PGU) to assist the new Rotary Presidents to become familiar with the programme. The active display enabled TfS personnel to demonstrate the work of this unique programme and discuss the philosophy behind it.

Presidents Elect of many Rotary Clubs expressed interest or even made a commitment on behalf of their Clubs to make Trees for Survival a club project. There is enormous scope for Rotary to assist in adding many new schools to the 140 nationwide already sponsored by Rotary Clubs and businesses; and TfS has an ever-growing list of new schools awaiting sponsorship so they can join the programme

Over the past 22 years, Rotary Clubs, businesses and the school children have been responsible for planting well over 1 million native trees on erosion prone land and degraded waterways. Before and after photos on some plantings can be seen at www.tfsnz.org.nz.

Working with TfS, older generations have an opportunity to exercise their responsibility to ensure the younger generation is equipped with the skills to look after, maintain and improve the environment.

For the students to be enthused the programme needs to be led with enthusiasm and this is willingly supplied by a team of Field Officers, regional council personnel and critically the Teacher Advocate in every school. It is the passion shown by these people that has ensured the TfS programme continues to flourish.

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