Children plant oaks so Bristol Rotary can get dug in for the next 100 years

December 20 2016

Members of Bristol’s Rotary Club were joined by pupils from St John’s Primary School to plant trees on the Downs to celebrate their centenary.

one tree

Members of Bristol’s Rotary Club were joined by pupils from St John’s Primary School to plant trees on the Downs to celebrate their centenary.

As part of Bristol’s One Tree Per Child programme, the Rotarians and the children met up at the south arm of Parry’s Lane on a cold morning in December to plant six Hungarian oak trees to commemorate 100 years of charity fund raising and working with the community in the South West. 

Martina Peattie, secretary of Bristol Rotary Club explained: “We’ve planting oak trees all along the road here because they are a nice long-living tree. We hope they are going to be here for the next 100 years because we are going to be celebrating the 100th anniversary of our Rotary club, which was founded in 1917.”

St John’s Primary School met with John Atkinson from Bristol’s One Tree Per Child scheme last year when he paid a visit to the school to educate them about the benefit of trees. As a result of that meeting lots of children chose to take home parent apple trees. 

One Tree Per Child Bristol has been teaching children across the city and during the first phase of  the project, the team planted more than 39,000 trees across the city, surpassing the initial target of 36,000 – one for every primary school child in the city. Over the next four years the team aim to plant 6,000 trees per year, working with reception aged children starting at school.

Alice Potter, Year 5 and 6 teacher at St John’s explained that as a result of this scheme the pupils can go back to school and do lots of additional learning about trees.

The children who took part were enjoying the morning out on the Downs and putting their best efforts into the scheme. One Year 5 pupil said: “I liked putting all the soil in. It’s definitely a bit muddy and I thought it was going to be easier!”

Another added: “It’s been really fun planting the trees and it’s for a good cause. Digging all the dirt out is the best bit.”

The children helped to plant purple crocuses around each of the oak trees as part of Rotary’s Purple 4 Polio campaign. For over 30 years, Rotarians have been committed to fighting to eradicate polio across the world. In that time the amount of polio-endemic countries has dropped from 125 to just two - Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Over 2.5 billion children have received vaccinations thanks to the help of Rotary.

With eradication of polio now closer than ever, Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland’s latest campaign, Purple 4 Polio, is designed to unite communities to engage in activities as part of the final push to eradicate polio for good.

Bristol Rotary Club’s President Leigh Mitchell said: “This is going to be a very exciting year for us as we look back at all the service our club has given over the last 100 years and look forward to the contribution we can make in the future.  We wanted something that would be lasting to mark the anniversary and hopefully our six oak trees will still be standing when the bi-centenary is celebrated!”

Bristol Rotary club’s latest Bristol-based special centenary project is located in east Bristol helping to rejuvenate and expand a building in Meadowvale to become a much-needed café and community centre for the local community.