Rotary Projects Around the Globe
Herring are food for salmon, halibut, lingcod, seabirds, and orcas and other marine mammals, and are a traditional staple of First Nations tribes’ diet. But herring populations are in decline because of overfishing and the degradation of preferred egg-laying surfaces such as kelp fronds and eelgrass. In February, Rotarian “sea foresters” in British Columbia dropped herring curtains into Porpoise Bay, northwest of Vancouver. The curtains — heavy-duty landscape fabric cut to lengths of about 8 feet, floated with foam and nylon rope or PVC pipe, and anchored with rocks — are ideal surfaces for the fish’s eggs. Since 2020, nearly 30 volunteers have installed more than 100 curtains and returned weekly to monitor them through the spawning cycle. Six Rotary clubs are participating in the project, led by the Rotary Club of Sechelt.
Public safety in Cali has improved since the mid-1990s, when drug cartels lorded over the city. The Rotaract Club of Cali-Norte is promoting peace and conflict resolution through its Re-Créate initiative, “a social and psychoeducational intervention project” involving role-playing, discussions, arts and crafts, music, and athletics at a local school, says Diana Rivera, immediate past president of the club. Since 2017, hundreds of children have participated in the program, which covers social topics such as bullying, setting personal boundaries, and team building. “We make two visits per semester on Saturdays,” Rivera says of the initiative. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has sidelined a popular soccer tournament fundraiser, individual donors, raffle proceeds, and other initiatives have filled the gap as the club works to enhance Re-Créate with digital offerings.
Average number of eggs laid by a Pacific herring each year
Cali cartel’s share of the mid-1990s cocaine trade
The Rotary Club of Boston rallied donors from the community and other local Rotary clubs to aid a public-run air ambulance service. With more than $20,000 generated through a crowdfunding site, the club far exceeded its goal of raising $13,500 to install lighting for the grass helipad and a windsock at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston. “The lights are dual-visual and infrared, solar-powered, and can be switched on from the cockpit of a helicopter,” says Geoff Day, the club’s immediate past president, noting that civil aviation regulations prohibited flights to and from the facility during darkness without the upgrade. With the regional major trauma center in Nottingham more than an hour’s drive away, the improvement will save lives, Day says. Extra money that was raised will be used to fund a blood warmer for the helicopter.
Northern Mariana Islands
Blessed with unusually consistent year-round temperatures, Saipan, the most populous island in the Northern Mariana Islands, is hailed as a tropical treasure. But even paradise can use a little sprucing up, figured eco-minded members of the Rotaract Club of Saipan. “We thought about how some of the villages haven’t been cleaned by community service groups,” says Richard Baleares, the club’s president. “So we made it a goal to do a village cleanup before the end of 2021.” Baleares met with Joann Aquino of the Rotary Club of Saipan to pinpoint a worthy recipient: the village of Chalan Kanoa, where on 2 October a mile-long strip of beach was cleaned of litter. “We expected around five people to attend but ended up with a little more than 30 due to the participation of all our [four] amazing Interact clubs and students from the Northern Marianas College,” Baleares says.
Air ambulance flights daily in the UK
Area of Saipan that is forested
Although the island of Buyiga is located in a swamp adjacent to Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa, its nearly 20,000 residents face a shortage of potable water; the island’s one private well regularly served only 10 percent of the population. Enter the Rotary Club of Rubaga Lake View, which teamed with Swedish Rotarians from District 2390 in an adopt-a-village effort. By late 2021, six boreholes had been sunk across Buyiga, providing water to a school and the island’s sole medical facility. Kristian Rankloo of the Rotary Club of Burlöv-Karstorp visited in 2019 through his charity Help at Hand, spurring him to solicit the $30,000 needed for the project from Swedish Rotary members and businesses, says Paul Kagga of the Rubaga Lake View club. “The community provided local materials like sand, bricks, and land. Our club was responsible for the monitoring, implementation, and evaluation,” Kagga says. Now the club is focused on raising $25,000 to expand Buyiga’s schools.
This story originally appeared in the July 2022 issue of Rotary magazine.