Rotary Projects Around the Globe
While jogging on Memorial Day weekend in 2020, Patrick Shairs discovered a holiday-appropriate spot for a break: the old City Cemetery in his hometown of Franklin, Tennessee. Shairs, a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Franklin, was dismayed by the multitude of badly stained and unreadable headstones. That fall, the club started a project to restore several historic cemeteries in the area. About a year later, 127 volunteers, including members from other area Rotary clubs and students from local schools, had cleaned 560 headstones and footstones and 140 plot pillars, using brushes and spray bottles filled with a biological solution recommended by a preservation organization. They identified 81 people buried in one cemetery who were not listed in the town’s official burial register, something that would have gone undiscovered if not for their efforts.
Island Park in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, has been a meeting place for more than 100 years. In 2019, the Rotary Club of Portage La Prairie outlined a strategy for a phased, $150,000 effort to revitalize an area within the popular lakefront park, where the club also sponsored a disc golf course. “The club felt that we could rejuvenate the duck pond to its old glory as well as add new features,” says club member Preston Meier. Since 2020, the club has redesigned and rebuilt a waterfall, added fencing and lighting, and constructed a deck with a pergola for special events. “We wanted a project that we could get our hands dirty in and have our fingerprints on — a little blood, sweat, and tears in addition to the fundraising,” Meier says.
of the planet’s wetlands are in Canada
dragon boat racers in Europe
After a pandemic-induced hiatus, an annual dragon boat race sponsored by the Rotary Club of Skipton lured more than 150 enthusiastic paddlers in September. Thirteen teams — with sobriquets such as the Komodo Dragons, Craven Ravens, and Rainbow Rockets — collected pledges and raised about $17,000 for the competitors’ chosen charities. Club member Andrew Gold noted that the competitions in 2018 and 2019 had raised a combined $30,000. The event was conceived by 2017-18 Club President Mark Ludlam as a tribute to his late father, Brian, a past club president who had arranged a dragon boat race. About half of the club’s 40 members helped steward the 200-meter race.
More than 250 youths from schools and Interact clubs across several Indian states put paint and crayons to paper in a poster competition sponsored by the all-female Rotary Club of Ahmednagar Priyadarshini. The Freedom from Polio art contest stressed the “importance of taking polio drops to help our world get freedom from polio forever,” says Bindu Shirsath, a club member who was among the five judges. The club recruited district PolioPlus committee chairs and tapped Facebook and WhatsApp groups to publicize the inaugural project. “Since it was an online competition, the club did not incur costs except for making the e-certificate for winners and publicizing the results in local newspapers,” Shirsath adds, resulting in an affordable way to conjure creativity with a message.
Indian children immunized over three days in January 2021
of Philippine provinces feature mangroves
Mangroves form an integral part of the coastal ecosystem of the Philippines. They serve as a source of medicines, alcohol, and timber; a haven for coral reef fish; and a buffer against typhoons. In a two-pronged effort to shore up the maritime trees and buttress a fishing village’s ecotourism drive, in November the Rotary Club of Bacolod-Marapara teamed with the Rotary Club of Victorias, the Rotaract Club of Marapara, the Pasil Fisherfolks Association, and other local organizations. They planted some 1,000 mangrove seedlings and provided the fishers with bamboo to construct two cottages in the native style for rental to tourists. “Around the world, mangroves are threatened, but they are important,” says Rolando Corona, president of the Bacolod-Marapara club. “Their protection and restoration should be a high priority.”
This story originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of Rotary magazine.