Although trees are a major part of many ecosystems, there are other aspects of Nature to be considered. For example, wildlife, flowers for beautification & better pollination.
A good example of a Rotary club environmental project is Ponteland Rotary [D1030] programme. The fact that this includes much tree-planting is not surprising as the climatic climax vegetation in most humid regions of the world is woodland, and trees typically make up some 80% of the biomass there. However, this is only part of the Pontenviroland project: there is also action to protect red squirrels and hedgehogs. There is even a litter clean up! Another strong feature of this project is that it is long-term, lasting at least 5 years. It is important for rotarians to realise that changing the environment for the better takes much longer than many humanitarian projects, and programmes lasting years are generally far more effective than single year on-off activities. Click here for details
Another example of a local project is Rugby Rotary’s Centenary project to improve part of an old railway line. It is interesting to note that an important task here has been the removal of trees, mainly young sycamore saplings, for the greater benefit of other flora and fauna. Click here for details It is worth remembering that the majority of the GB & I population live in urban settings or in areas peripheral to major towns, so most Rotary clubs will have similar possibilities nearby
A different situation occurs in the more sparsely populated areas of GB & I. Here there are often opportunities for more emphasis on rewilding and increased biodiversity which can be accompanied by judicious tree-planting/forest restoration. A good example of this, supported by the local Rotary club and rotarians from elsewhere in the Scottish Borders, would be the Langholm Moor Initiative where desolate moorland is being developed through tree-planting of native species, felling of a coniferous plantation, rewilding, restoration of extensive moorland peat and the creation of the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve. This is a biodiversity project, which it is hoped will promote ecotourism in this part of the Scottish Borders. Click here for details
An important way to connect with Nature is to encourage bees and other pollinators. The Rotary project Operation Pollination is a good way to get involved in this activity. See https://operationpollination.net/ Here is an example of a club resolution concerning pollinators –
Rotary Club of Kirriemuir Pollinator Resolution
- The members of the Rotary Club of Kirriemuir recognise the importance of pollinator habitat being created, restored and maintained.
- Working with community organisations and individuals we hope to create, restore and maintain areas of pollinator habitat to stabilize and increase the pollinator population in and around the town of Kirriemuir.
- We recognise that pollinators including butterflies, bees, bats, some birds and other insects play a crucial role in plant reproduction. Given the severity of global pollinator loss we wish to think globally and act locally to increase local pollinator activity.
- The Rotary Club of Kirriemuir resolves to take a lead in encouraging voluntary and collaborative community engagement and co-operation in creating pollinator areas in gardens and open spaces in and around the town of Kirriemuir
Connect with Nature projects can often be facilitated by collaboration across several clubs. A good example of this would be the 3 Scottish Districts who are working with the NGO Keep Scotland Beautiful. Browse keepscotlandbeautiful.org for details. The basis of this collaboration is projects concerned with . . . .
Most ESRAG biodiversity projects are within the British Isles, but there are also some which are based in Africa. The main one is the Kipsaina WASH+ project which includes conservation of a wetland area and the protection of endangered species [e.g. the sitatunga] in the wetland. Details are given elsewhere under Featured Projects. Another example would be the restoration of the Ngarasero Forest near Usa River in Tanzania where rich birdlife is one of the attractions at the local ecotourist lodge. See Tropical Tree-Planting & Conservation project for further details.