65 years of "greening" Barrie

January 12, 2018

 

BREAKING NEWS ( Mar17 2018 ): R.C.O.B. is providing $5,000 to Fruit Share Barrie to purchase, plant & maintain 50 fruit trees at various locations including school yards in Barrie!

 

Serving in the armed forces can make a man think about his mortality and legacy. Upon leaving the Royal Navy and returning home in 1953 Charlie Wilson involved his Rotary Club of Barrie, 30 other veterans and the boy scouts to plant 3600 trees near West Gwillambury by the 400 as his legacy and gift to his community. Today these trees are a forest.

 

The trees weren’t Charlie’s only legacy though. Our club was the first and very few Rotary clubs to form an “Environmental Committee” that would assure the continuation of the yearly tree planting projects as well as facilitating and encouraging other green projects in Barrie. The Rotary Club of Barrie created the “Charlie Wilson Environmental Award”, an annual award given to a person or group within the City of Barrie that demonstrates environmental activism and consciousness.

 

Since that start Charlie Wilson, the Environmental committee and our club have planted about 5,000 trees and shrubs at schools, public spaces, parks, and more around town at a cost of $5,000/year.

 

Seven years ago the tree project went a different direction as locations for tree planting became scarce. The School Tree Planting Project was born. Schools wanted outdoor classrooms shaded by trees on their school yards but didn’t have the budget required to do them. Rotary stepped in bringing $4,000 / year, the people and tools to plant 6 12 foot trees each at 2 schools a year. This project continues today.

The original military roots motivating the greening of Barrie was reflected again when 360 trees were planted to commemorate Canadian Afghanistan veterans whose service cost them their lives.

 

Most recently more than 25 oak trees from the famous world war 1 battlefield “Vimy Ridge” where the Canadian Core suffered 10,602 casualties securing victory over the enemy were planted at the Military Heritage Park on Lakeshore Drive.

 

Spanning 65 years and thousands of trees, the Rotary Club of Barrie’s Environmental Committee also contributes to the greening of Simcoe County with projects from our “Spring Tonic” fundraiser with the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, contributions to the Friends of Fort Willow, 9 Mile Portage, the Royal Victoria Hospital “Healing Bush” and more. And they’re just one of numerous committees in our club whose purpose is to make Barrie ( and the world ) better!

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