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What’s Your Story – #PlantTrees

SI Jamestown Centennial

Tree Planting restores Cherry Grove

On September 29, 2021 Soroptimist International of Jamestown undertook to plant one hundred cherry trees at St. Nicholas Abbey. This National Trust site is situated in the rural parish of St. James in an area known as Cherry Tree Hill. Sadly, over time the vegetation bears no resemble to the name. St. Nicholas Abbey is a historic plantation house that is now a museum and rum distillery. A train track is part of this tourist attraction. The trees were planted in an area now called Cherry Grove. The grove is in clear view of passengers on the train.

S.I Jamestown engaged several persons and organizations to assist in the planting. They were joined by the owners of St Nicholas Abbey, parliamentary representatives, the CEO of the National Botanical Garden, members of the Barbados Defence Force, Head of the Christian Counsel, members of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and local Brownies and all were put to work to plant the cherry trees.

SI Northern Ireland clubs rise to the challenge!

The Centennial year of Soroptimist International.

Our region was asked by then President Theresa Nixon to accept her challenge and plant one tree for every Club member in our Centenary Year. This would have been c260 trees. With close, and most helpful co-operation from Michelle McCaughtry of the Woodland Trust, Clubs set about creative ways to respond.

Several factors combined to make the completion of the challenge more difficult than expected. Brexit meant that small trees or ‘whips’ could not be imported into Northern Ireland. The planting season was confined from November until March, and non-native trees were not allowed. After initial issues were resolved, it became apparent that the effects of covid-19 were going to be disruptive to any such activity whether indoor or outdoors. Several publicity events were arranged then cancelled to our disappointment. However, when you read below, you will be struck by the originality, ingenuity, persistence, and optimism which marks this initiative as a most successful model of collaboration. Past President Theresa, as she now is, has been gratified by the fulsome response made by all eleven clubs and our Centenary year has been marked by this initiative which will hopefully continue beyond the limits of this year.


Four members have in recent times lost close family members and trees are being planted in their memory. Advice on tree types was sought from the Broughshane Improvement Committee. Ballymena Club is providing the trees.


Twenty-five trees were planted on 12 March by Conservation Volunteers on behalf of the Club. The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens presented S.I. Ballymoney with a Centenary Gift from the Council. S.I. Ballymoney members have committed to maintain the trees for three years, a commitment which involves clearing the grass from around the trees. Fiona Murdock has co-ordinated this community   project. A flower bed was also created to mark the Soroptimist Centenary.


The 75th Anniversary of the Charter establishing the Club in 1946, was celebrated in 2021-22. The planting of 800 trees marked a significant contribution to the celebrations. It met the Centennial SIGBI obligation and, thanks to a grant from Ards and North Down Borough Council for the purchase of saplings, allowed a large swathe of land beside the Aurora Leisure complex and Walled Garden to be planted.

Community participation in the planting of 800 trees over two weekends in November 2021, enabled community involvement by local students, P.S.N.I., Fire and Rescue services, local solicitors, parents, friends, Brownies and Guides and of course members.


Collaboration between S.I. Belfast and a number of organisations has enabled the planting of ‘A Reflection Cherry Tree’ in February 2021 in the grounds of Sullivan Prep School, Holywood, as a memorial for those friends of the school who passed away during 2020.  A plaque will be erected and a bench placed nearby. S.I. Belfast have also collaborated with the Sleepy Hollow Group and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to plant a Maple Tree in Crumlin Glen near the TACT wildlife centre which was founded by their late member Patricia Nevines. It will be a memorial to Mrs Nevines and a commemorative plaque will be erected. Further plans have been made to collaborate with Belfast City Council in planting trees in a local park. This is part of  Belfast City Council’s planting initiative.


The members liaised with the Woodland Trust to investigate an area of planting in the town of Saintfield. They await further assistance to realise their plans.


S.I. Dungannon members are liaising with the Council to plant three trees in Dungannon Park in memory of Anne Greenaway. A small plaque will be erected to her memory. Members were photographed while engaged in this activity and certainly looked happy in sturdy outdoor wear.


Soroptimist Kathleen Murphy organised for  a large number of members to  gather in Tully Castle grounds where they planted an array of apple trees. The photographs were taken in glorious sunshine!


Regional President Elect Barbara Carlisle and Joan Moss have collaborated with Joe Boylan, woodland officer for the Belfast Hills Partnership, and plan to plant 35 trees – one for each member. As S.I.N.I. representative at the Billy Neill Sports Grounds, Dundonald,  Barbara took part in the Regional photoshoot, accompanied by a number of Lisburn Soroptimists, and logged the planting of 200 trees of varying types.


Many months of planning came to fruition on 5th March 2022 when 700 trees were planted in the First World War Centenary Wood at Brackfield near Claudy. A wide variety of species will be planted with help from Club members, families and friends including Robert from Woodland Trust and Dave Scott who oversees the Centennial Wood. Here trees have, and will be planted, paying tribute to those who lost their lives across the island of Ireland during World War 1. This site lies beside the new approach road to Derry. Jane Hendrick and Pearl Woodburn have met many challenges in their programme but they have come through with flying colours.


Two Bramley apple trees, potted in barrels, were presented to “ Knitted Knockers” on 1st July 2021 to be placed in The Courtyard of Brownlow House.


S.I. Portadown also presented two Bramley apple trees on the same day. These trees recognise the work of Past Regional President Joanne Harris.

Portadown President Jacqui McLoughlin has undertaken the planting of 6350 trees under the aegis of DAERA’s forest expansion project. Jacqui moved three years ago to a site near Glarryford, just north of Ballymena where she has built a home. The launch of the DAERA project appealed to her and she has plans to plant a wide range of native species although they will not mature for many years. She is assisted in this venture by a local company. The wood will be open to visitors on request and sister Soroptimists will always be welcome. Catherine Milhench has suggested benches be installed.

The Woodland Trust organised a tree planting event on 7th November 2021 in the grounds of Billy Neill’s Soccer grounds near Dundonald. Primarily designed as a photoshoot, it was a great occasion to meet sisters from across Northern Ireland. Over 800 tiny trees or ‘whips’, were planted and the event was a showcase for Soroptimists in our Centenary Year.  Past President Theresa Nixon certainly set a challenge and every Club rose to the occasion. Thanks go to all those members whose huge contribution to the success of the Challenge is celebrated in this report. 

SI Southern England

Help bring a new lease of life to the South Downs

As the warmth of spring sunshine bathes the South Downs, thousands of new life-giving trees are sprouting up from the soil.  Now the inspiring initiative, called “Trees for The Downs”, is putting out the call for new applications for even more tree planting in 2022. SI Southern England was successful in fulfilling one of those applications by donating £900 to plant 100 trees at Longmoor Military Training Estate, near Liss for the SI centenary.

SISE President Julie Blackwell and SI Salisbury member Liz Batten went along to the planting.

The tree planting is restoring those lost to pests and diseases, including Ash Dieback and Dutch Elm Disease, as well as creating new habitat for wildlife and amenity value for local communities. The trees will be a mixture of disease-resistant elm trees and native species, such as oak and black poplar. Sites include schools, farms, recreation grounds and historic parks.

Sonia Lorenzo-Martin, Woodlands Lead for the National Park Authority, said: “Trees are amazing and such an important part of the South Downs landscape, which has more woodland by area than any other National Park in England and Wales. They give us clean air to breathe and are the life support for so many animals and other plants.

And Sonia added: “Trees for the Downs is also an important strand of the National Park’s long-term ‘ReNature’ initiative, fighting biodiversity loss and also helping to tackle climate change and creating a more resilient ecosystem in the future.”

Andy Player, who helps to manage woodland at Longmoor for the MoD, said: “The trees are not only increasing the number of trees, but also the species diversity, providing habitat for the endangered white letter hairstreak butterfly. These trees are also mitigating the effects of climate change and enhancing the amenity value of the treescape of the camp and training area for the benefit of visiting troops and the public.

SI Medway and Maidstone

Right Trees in the Right Place in Maidstone for Soroptimist Centenary

Sharon Forghani was our project lead on SI Medway and Maidstone’s Soroptimist Centenary Tree Planting campaign as part of our commitment to climate change. The UK needs millions more trees to reach its 2050 carbon net-zero target. To be effective in tackling climate change it is important the right trees are planted in the right place.

The Woodland Trust were offering free trees to schools and community groups funded by Sainsburys, Lloyds Bank, Ovo Energy, DFS, Players of Peoples Postcode Lottery, Joules, Bank of Scotland and Sofology.

Prior to applying to the Woodland Trust, Sharon contacted Andy Jesson, Parks Officer, Maidstone Borough Council enquiring about any suitable sites for the tree planting. He identified two potential sites and the one chosen was Hudson’s Quarry, Bridge Mill Way Recreation Ground in Tovil. This is a former landfill site Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) wanted to beautify and re-wild in line with their Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan.

In June, Sharon successfully applied to the Woodland Trust for the large Wildlife pack that consisted of 420 tree saplings. The pack was made up of 6 varieties that included hawthorn, rowan, blackthorn, silver birch, hazel, and common oak. In addition, sufficient canes, and spiral protectors with clear instructions on how to plant. We were satisfied these would be the right trees for the site to provide food and shelter for wildlife.

The tree saplings were due for delivery in November, initially being told it would be between 1 and 12 November. Plans were put in place for the Mayor of Maidstone and Regional President Yvonne to join us and break the ground to start the tree planting on 27 November. However, these plans had to be put on hold due to national transport shortages and the Woodland Trust notifying us they could not give a confirmed delivery date for the tree saplings.

The tree saplings eventually arrived on 29 November and were delivered to Nellie Adjaye’s house into the nursing care of Nellie and her neighbour Jackie, (who looked after the saplings when she was away), covering them with a fleece each night it was frosty. Thanks to Nellie and Jackie we had healthy tree saplings to plant, some already beginning to form buds.

A new date in January was arranged for the tree planting that turned out to be a very foggy morning. Carol Infanti and Sharon collected the tree saplings and took them to the site where they were joined by 8 other club members, 2 ‘Soroptimisters’ and Andy, Parks Officer.

The Mayor of Maidstone Councillor Fay Gooch broke the ground to start the planting of the 420 tree saplings. Regional President Yvonne Freeman presented the Mayor with a small gift in appreciation of her support of the event. Having come well prepared, Yvonne got down to tree planting after receiving instructions from the Parks Officer .

Derek Mortimer, Deputy Mayor who is the local councillor for Tovil came along to offer his support. He was delighted with the support Medway and Maidstone Soroptimists were giving for the local community and he also got dug in.

It was a busy morning but with all the hard work and efforts of everyone, we successfully planted all 420 of the tree saplings in an area equivalent to the size of a football pitch by lunchtime.

A big thank you to Sharon, volunteers and our partners for a job well done and hopefully a lasting legacy for the future.


Soroptimist International Cork mark SIGBI 100 years celebration

Every club in Ireland was given a young oak tree to celebrate SIGBI Centenary.   SI Cork wanted to make a difference with their tree, to ensure it meant something into the future

SI Cork planted their Oak Tree on Wed 9th Feb 2022, in Cork’s newest Park, Marina Park, Ballintemple.   The tree was planted along with a plaque which was unveiled by the Lord Mayor Cllr. Colm Kelleher, National President Miriam Murphy Wood, President S.I. Cork Tess Hogan and members of the Clifford family.  The planting was in memory of Ruth & Juliana Clifford Mc Court who died tragically 21 years ago, in the 9/11 tragedy in New York.  Ruth & Juliana were passengers on the plane which struck the North Tower.  Ruth grew up in Ballintemple & would have known the area very well. Her mother was also a Soroptimist. The planting was covered by a National newspaper.

S.I. Cork would like the people of Cork to enjoy the tree for many years and to remember Ruth & Juliana as they strolled in the park.


President Tess Hogan, SI Cork, Lord Mayor Colm Kelleher & National President Miriam Murphy Wood planting the tree

Commemorative plaque in situ

SI Cork members;  Rowena Murphy, President Tess Hogan, National President Miriam Murphy Wood, Sandra Walsh & Lavinia Anderson attending the tree planting

Soroptimist International Great Yarmouth sponsor school club

SI Great Yarmouth have sponsored a school club at East Norfolk Sixth Form College to plant around 20 trees on the college site and will be planting another 25 as part of the College 40th birthday celebration and SI Great Yarmouth’s 45th birthday!

SI Solihull and District


100 years ago when our organisation was founded one of the first projects the founding club in Oakland California chose to work on was the huge number of Redwood Trees being felled by the major Lumber Companies.

This was a huge project to take on board.  It was in the days before COP26 and summits on Climate Change, but even then those founding ladies knew they needed to take action and reduce the huge numbers being felled.   After putting forward their argument and recommendation to the Lumber Companies and the government, an agreed plan of the number of trees felled was agreed.  This agreement is still in place today.  What a fantastic testament to these remarkable ladies.

To mark the Centenary of our organisation, clubs in our Federation and around the world were asked to look at planting trees.   Our theme … Plant trees for a brilliant future

To date over 67,000 trees have been planted in our Federation alone.  With more, like ours, to be confirmed and planted.  Planting season for trees is November to March.

100 years on we now understand even more the importance of trees for our planet and our climate.  When the Centenary Group met we discussed the different suggestions put forward by members, and all agreed planting trees was important to us as a Club.  I agreed to take on this project.

At the sametime, Solihull Council also launched their plans to plant 250,000 trees in the Borough in the next 10 years as part of their project ………

Planting our Future

Speaking to Councillor Ian Courts I asked if we could work together on both our projects, and look at planting a 100 tree woodland in the Borough to not only mark our Centenary, but to also mark the work of Soroptimists in the Borough – past, present and future.  And so began our discussions – all be it via email due to lockdown restrictions etc.

After various suggestions, Dorridge Park was agreed. Isobel and I met with Councillor Courts and a representative from the Council to look at the possible site, and talk more about the proposed woodland.

After presenting this suggested plan to club, the Council then contacted local groups and local Councillors to advise them of the plans, and to hopefully get their support.  Groups included the Friends of Dorridge Park.  I am delighted to say that this support was given by all.

The next stage was to agree the trees to be planted.  I asked if Blossom Trees could also be included in the planting, as I had also seen that the Council were eager to plant more Blossom Trees in the Borough, and this too was agreed. The trees to be planted will be 80% native and 20% non native. Dawny Birch

So what about the maintenance of the wood….

We were asked if we could provide Tree Wardens who would regularly check on the trees to ensure they were still alive and thriving.  I am delighted to say that we have 8 members who all very kindly agreed to take on this role, on a rota basis.

Reports of any trees dieing or being damaged will be reported to the Council, who will then look to replace or restake.  In the early days of planting the Council will also ensure the trees are watered to survive.

So what about the future of our wood…..

The Council have also said we can plant daffodils and bluebells in the wood if we so wish…  all the bulbs provided by the Council.  I personally think that would be lovely.  The blue and yellow colours acknowledging the brand colours of Soroptimist International.  We can also look to fundraise and have a bench or benches installed in the wood so visitors/residents can sit and enjoy the wood all through the year.

Thank you to Solihull Council, and in particular Councillor Ian Courts for supporting our wish to plant a 100 tree woodland.

SI Northwich & District

Contribute to our 70,000-tree count

Following on from their successful partnership with the Friends of Anderton and Marbury (FoAM) to support a local Elm Tree Project, where they planted 2 Elm trees and supported the fundraising and work to plant a total of 20 mature Elms (scroll down page to see their story), SI Northwich and District decided they wanted to contribute more, but in a different way.

Having seen the project of the National Trust the club thought it met all the criteria, with the added advantage of making the name of Soroptimist International known to the National Trust.

The National Trust message – ‘We’re on a mission to replenish woodland across the UK – for wildlife, for people and for the planet. Your support is helping to make that goal a reality’, seemed very fitting.

As a result, the club partnered with the National Trust to plant 5 more trees to commemorate the 100 year anniversary.



A teak tree planted for the SI family worldwide and lovely pictures tell the story of their day!

SI club of Dhaka launched their “Plant Trees for a Brilliant Future” program as an adventurous journey with the group of students of our two Literacy Centers for under privileged students. For those tiny tots it was a joyous event to plant a tree far from home. SI club of Dhaka’s PAO, Yasmin Rahman and Member, Syeda Anika Ara arranged the program at Denm Poultry complex, Kapasia, Gazipur.

The group boarded the vehicles along with three teachers, one guardian and two employees from two schools at 8a.m. They were excited & thrilled as well. On their journey students were talking about different trees standing on the road. They were helping each other to guess the name of the trees. The group reached the destination before noon, disembarking the vehicles they ran into the playground of the complex, were playing, singing, chanting, reciting rhymes, dancing like butterflies – full of fun.

Please click on images to enlarge

SI club of Dhaka’s PAO, Yasmin Rahman arranged lunch for everyone.

After lunch the moment came to plant the tree.

With a big surprise, Syeda Anika Ara brought a cake to celebrate her birthday with the students, they were very happy and were chanting Happy Birthday to Anika!

At the end Yasmin Rahman and Syeda Anika Ara gave a speech about the benefit of tree planting and ‘story-telling’ to the students about Soroptimist International.

SI Grange-over-Sands 

SI Grange-over-Sands go native to celebrate the Centenary

SI Grange-over-Sands decided to plant a Paul’s scarlet hawthorn tree (Crataegus laevigate) in the garden of the public library in the centre of the town to celebrate the Centenary.  The native species has a Royal Horticultural Society award, and grows to around 8m tall x 6m spread in 20 years.  They chose this species for its colour and because it is one of the best trees for capturing carbon from the atmosphere, good for pollinators, and its haws provide fruit for the birds.

They have also donated £100 to the Woodland Trust, a not-for-profit charity that looks after 1000s of woods across the UK which are managed to provide habitats for wildlife and for people to visit and enjoy.  In 2007 a one-acre site in the south of Scotland was planted with trees from SI on the occasion of the international conference in the Scottish Exhibition and Conference centre.

SI Colombo Sri Lanka

SI Colombo do their bit to Plant Trees for a Brilliant Future

Avocado and Butterfruit Trees planted in Nelun’s and Tara’s back gardens to provide shade and greenery as well as benefit to family and friends in the neighbourhood

Tree planting conducted by Lanka Alzheimer’s Foundation (LAF) by Beverley, the Director of LAF who is also a member of SI Colombo.  The trees planted were Lime, Guava and June Plum, and will greatly benefit visitors to the LAF Daycare Centre.

SI Portadown and SI Lurgan

Plant ahead for Health and Well-being centre.

SI Portadown and SI Lurgan decided to try and partner to plant trees for the centenary – celebrating the 100 years of Soroptimist International. They had no luck until they heard that a local organisation called Knitted Knockers were setting up a Health and Well-being centre for Women with Breast Cancer.

SI Portadown President Jacqui McLoughlin and SI Lurgan President Maimie Wilson presented four Bramley Apple trees to Joanne Harris, Founder of Knitted Knockers and member of SI Lurgan, in the grounds of Brownlow House, Lurgan.  Brownlow House is the Head Quarters of Knitted Knockers and location of the new Health and Well-being Centre.

Joanne Harris founder of Knitted Knockers – stated at the planting:

Soroptimist International Lurgan and Soroptimist International Portadown to commemorate their 100th anniversary kindly donated 4 beautiful Bramley apple trees for our kitchen garden, they are a most welcome addition as they will help sustain our teaching kitchen but also provide a calm beautiful shelter in our sunny garden and create a most welcome area for ladies to be able to rest and chill – thank you so much ladies for thinking of us, we will cherish these trees for ever.

We were delighted to be joined by Soroptimist International Lurgan President Mamie Wilson and Soroptimist International Portadown President Jacqui McLoughlin as well as Soroptimist International President Elect Maureen Maguire We were so honoured that these inspirational ladies could join with us at our Garden Party.

SI Madurai

SI Madurai celebrate – ‘A tribute to the father of our nation and showing pride as responsible citizens’

SI Madurai had the inauguration of their centenary tree planting plaque by the Madurai district collector at the historic landmark-GANDHI MUSEUM.

The plaque allowed them to celebrate their work and formally thank their friendship links SI Aalst of Belgium and SI Dallas of USA for their support.

The museum is frequented by students for their school field trips and tourists so the planting will be enjoyed by many. They hope to label the trees with their names and valuable uses after they grow a bit so as to let the visitors familiarise themselves with the native trees.

Indigenous species are usually disease resistant, need less nurturing, helps the soil and water table and this project has helped revive disappearing habitat in the heart of their city.


SI Enniskillen take advantage of the sunshine to #PlantTrees

Members of S I ENNISKILLEN planting apple trees at Tully outside ENNISKILLEN as part of a Programme Action  environmental initiative.
The club worked with the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership.

SI Barbados: 100 Trees for 100 Years Climate-Smart Project

SI Barbados:

100 Trees for 100 Years Climate-Smart Project

 keeping with the ongoing climate action focus for the centennial of the Soroptimist ‘Plant Trees for a Brilliant Future” and as part of the worldwide observance of the Soroptimist Day of Action, Soroptimist International of Barbados embarked on a climate-smart beautification exercise at St. Andrew’s Parish Church on July 17, 2021.

SI Barbados has chosen this year, in celebration of 100 years of Soroptimist in the world, to plant 100 trees for the 100 years as part of our centenary celebrations.  In total, 118 trees and plants, including pomegranate, guava, sugar apple and cherry trees were installed, along with some aloe plants, lemon and khus khus grasses, herbs, and medicinal plants. In the future, the church is planning to add some benches to help further beautify the surroundings, for those visiting for church services, weddings, and funerals.


SI Barbados recognizes that climate action is important to help to reduce eco-poverty, which has caused so many problems, particularly for small island developing states where we suffer through the devastating hurricanes and earthquakes and volcano eruptions because of the rising temperatures of the earth’s surface.

 Our tree planting was showcased on the social media pages of major media houses as well as in Newspaper articles of the two National Newspapers.  News features were also carried by the TV station CBC TV8 on their Evening News of July 17 and their Morning Barbados broadcast of July 19, 2021

 We will continue to promote climate action activities throughout the centennial celebrations and beyond.

SI Esperance Address Climate Change

Soroptimist International Esperance donated over 3,000 seedlings to organisations and individuals.

SI Esperance launched its “Planting Trees—Hope for the Future” project in response to the SIGBI clarion call to ‘Plant Trees for a Brilliant Future’ to celebrate the Centenary of the organisation. This call, married with the 2021 UN Environmental Day theme of “Ecosystem Restoration” and made the club challenge itself to plant at least 100 trees in southwest Trinidad, tackling the issues of community beautification, environmental sustainability, food security and climate change.

The two-fold objectives of food security (United Nations SDG2) and environmental sustainability (UN SDG 15 and 13) were addressed in one project, by planting trees that absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen, helping to clean the air. The Club partnered with the Division of Forestry at the Ministry of Agriculture which advised on the selection of trees based on the soils and topography of the area. Five community organizations were selected to assist with planting and maintenance. The partnerships with key stakeholders offered a greater guarantee of success.

A major stakeholder in the tree planting exercise was the Palmiste Historical Society.  Ornamental trees were planted as part of establishing an Arboretum at the Palmiste National Park. The project included GIS mapping of the area and scanning the QR code for information on each tree.  Additionally, the Club purchased 50 food producing trees (i.e. breadfruit, coffee, chataigne, pomegranate, soursop, & carambola) for distribution, thus tackling both food security and environmental sustainability. The Club identified the communities where women and girls were most at risk for experiencing food insecurity and either planted the trees or donated them for planting.

Seedlings can be planted even by the very young.

#CovidComfort ~ Growing Food for Hope has been a long-term project which began with the aim of enabling vulnerable women to grow their own food, lowering their food cost, encouraging healthier lifestyles through better food choices, and easing their financial situation by selling the excess produce. The club partnered with CARDI (Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute) and the Sure Foundation whose aims are to decarbonize Trinidad and Tobago and to support sustainable agriculture. Trays of seedlings were given to LARMS (La Romaine Migrant Support Group); Lady Hochoy Home and The Halfway House and individual women were also given smaller quantities of seedlings with their food hampers. Club members were involved with acquiring, repacking and delivering the seedings.

SI Esperance aims to educate, enable and empower, and their video Trash to Treasure was designed to trigger thoughts on the issue of climate change in the young and not so young. This video created by the multi-talented Hope Pollonais was shown in classes locally and viewed around the world, generating 18K views. The club’s Facebook page is continuing a campaign to encourage readers to reduce, reuse and recycle and to green our planet in order to mitigate against climate change. SI Esperance challenges you to think of what you can do personally to change your trash to treasure, and in the words of the UN initiative, ‘ActNow!’


Please click on the Images for more information

SI Liverpool build on their Planet Award winning work!

Club members partnered with the ‘Friends of Princes Park’ (FoPP), a small registered charity, to plant 100 trees and shrubs in celebration of 100 years of Soroptimism and 95 years of SI Liverpool. This was also a continuation of SI Liverpool’s Planet Award winning work with Nature Based Solutions under the Urban GreenUp 2020.

This particular Park is a recently upgraded (2009) English Heritage Grade II* Historic Park (2009). It is a fabulous inner City Green space, located in Toxteth, one of the most deprived wards in Liverpool. However, before its upgrade, it had become rundown and neglected by its owners, Liverpool City Council in the 1970s-90s. The FoPP commenced, in 2004 with the aim of working towards improving the park for all its users and to improve its environment, providing the green lungs of Liverpool 8. Its planting has been supported by Liverpool City Council, The Mersey Forest and the Woodland Trust. It started the re-birth of the Park.  Our Club considered that FoPP aims and ours were well matched and we proceeded to work together.

The expertise of the Friends, identified a suitable site in the Park and recommended the type of trees to plant. Members collected our order, 2 Eucryphia, 30 Scots pine, and 10 European Larch from Daresbury. The area was coppiced so among the site were many smaller trees and bushes that will help to protect the larger trees. The total trees or shrubs planted was 100. On the day of planting, April 11th 2021, Soroptimists and FoPP members turned out in force in a socially distanced manner, to plant the trees.

As our interest in tree planting has grown, some of our members have become Friends of Princes Park, or Friends of other parks, open spaces and woodlands in Liverpool. Public interest in green spaces and parks has been re-ignited due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. It has been of particular interest to discover that the original creators of the Park, in their day, were aligned to SI core values. The Park is in a very diverse area of Liverpool and is well-used by groups from very different communities and of varying ages. We have sizeable Somali and Yemeni communities, including refugees, who use the park regularly. The Founder, Richard Yates, had himself contributed generously and regularly to all of the principal charities of Liverpool taking special interest in education of the poor.

SI Northwich and District plant trees and contribute to butterfly conservation

 Elm Tree Project Sponsorship

Listening to a radio programme from the Chelsea Flower Show in 2019 inspired Joanne Redley, member of SI Northwich and District, to initiate the Elm Tree Project with the Friends of Anderton and Marbury (FoAM), of which Joanne is also a member. FoAM is a voluntary group of local people interested in supporting the work of the Ranger in the Northwich Woodlands, which includes Marbury Country Park and Anderton Nature Park.

In the radio programme, Dame Judy Dench talked about the development of Ulmus New Horizon, a disease resistant elm tree. The project was for FoAM to plant 20 of these disease-free elm trees to mark the Friends’ Group 20th Anniversary.

So why are mature elm trees so important?

Mature elm trees are the food and breeding plant for the white-letter hairstreak butterfly. Since the 1970’s the population of white-letter hairstreak butterflies in England and Wales has declined by 93% and Butterfly Conservation have given it a high priority conservation status.  With the reduction of its food plants, the butterfly is threatened in the Northwich Woodlands.

An article in The Times also noted a possible comeback of the large tortoiseshell butterfly which disappeared in the 1960’s, partly because its caterpillars feed primarily on elm trees.

Ulmus ‘New Horizon’ is a variety of elm completely resistant to Dutch Elm Disease and breeding white-letter hairstreaks have been monitored by Butterfly Conservation on a stand of the trees in Vauxhall Spring Gardens, London.

Elm Tree Project – The Planting

The trees cost around £100 each and within a very short time sufficient donations were pledged from various organisations and individuals to meet the total project cost of £2,400 to plant 20 trees. SI Northwich pledged to sponsor two of the elm trees.

Much work was needed to clear the space selected for the avenue of trees alongside the edge of the wildflower field in Marbury Lane. This work was undertaken on several Volunteer Days by the regular volunteers at Marbury Country Park. The planting also needed several days as the trees arrived in substantial pots and required significantly wider and deeper holes than if the trees were bare rooted.



On one of the last days of volunteering at Marbury before coronavirus stopped volunteers working was spent removing the fencing alongside the new elm tree avenue to give a better view of the planted area.

A panel is proposed to describe the Project and will include a list of sponsors.

Joann says “It is really encouraging to see our 20 elm trees bursting into leaf and we will be looking out for the first appearance of a white letter hairstreak butterfly!

The elm trees in February 2020 and the elm trees in leaf in May 2021


SI Stockton -on-Tees plant trees in Tanzania

As part of SI Stockton-on-Tees on-going support to the Meserani Project, in December 2019 funds were donated for the purchase of some 150 trees.

The Meserani project is a charity founded by a Teesside school to provide educational support to young people in an area of Tanzania where such opportunities are not accessible to them. The trees were planted in January 2020 in the Meserani district at a variety of locations: Losingira and Meserani Chin Primary Schools, Moita Boys and Kipok Girls Secondary Boarding School.

SI San Fernando plant over 100 trees!

SI San Fernando, in Trinidad and Tobago, have had to wait a long time to realise their objective of planting 100 trees to celebrate the centennial.  Schools have been closed for many months preventing the project from going ahead but despite continued lockdown they are forging ahead and have already passed their tree planting objective, planting 128 trees!

They are working with an NGO, RSC (Restore a Sense of Can), founded by Raj Ramdass a former pupil of Sandra Dieffernthaller, SITT National Association President 20/21.  RSC have established technology clubs in schools and the aim of the project is to involve the Tech club students’ from across Trinidad and Tobago and other islands in planting trees.  Schools are closed right now due to a further lockdown, but once open the students will tag the trees they plant to create an electronic map that will show where each tree is located.

SI San Fernando have liaised with the Ministry of Agriculture to source trees and organise distribution.  As you can see from the pictures the project has achieved so much despite really challenging times!

New Forest For Nottinghamshire

Over the last two glorious weekends, and with help from volunteers from Nottinghamshire Tree Planters, Nottingham Soroptimists planted over 400 trees kindly donated by TCV – Tree conservation Volunteers/ I-Dig Trees.  This was the culmination of several weeks hard work by David Rose, the owner of FarmEco at Screveton where our Micro Miyawaki Forest was planted, and Rachel Richards our designer and consultant. (Pictured here).


The essential principle of the Miyawaki method is to plant woodland using species of trees that would occur naturally in that area and that work together to create a diverse, multi-layered forest community.Dense planting is required in this method, so that trees support each other and a lot of trees grow in a small area.


Nottingham Soroptimists are celebrating 100 years of the founding of world-wide Soroptimism and the 85th Anniversary of the formation of a club in Nottingham.  Soroptimists in Nottingham and world-wide have done much work supporting work to help disadvantaged and vulnerable women and girls. However, supporting environmental issues has always been important, after the first project of the founders was to ensure the safety of the giant redwoods in California


Their efforts were crowned by the Mayor Sue Mallender of Rushcliffe Borough Council, who unveiled the plaque celebrating 100 years of Soroptimism, to which this micro forest was dedicated on Friday 23 April.


If you have a Facebook account click on this link for a short video of the project



SI Widnes rally support to plant 100 trees

Friends, members and members in the making of SI Widnes planted 100 wild wood saplings at St. Michael’s Eco Park, Widnes. The saplings were donated by The Woodland Trust and the planting was ably supported by Alister Harman, ranger with Halton Borough Council.

The site was formerly a land-fill site and then a golf course until it was closed in 2004 on advice from the Health Protection Agency after deadly arsenic was found in the ground. A major clean-up operation was undertaken and finally completed in 2013. The local council is working to return the site back to nature and were delighted with our involvement in organising and planting the saplings. The site is not yet open to the general public but Alister has promised to keep us updated on the progress of the saplings and will also enter SI Widnes as a contributor in the council records.

Lincoln and District Spring into Leaf!

Despite it being challenging for members to engage in tree planting Lincoln and District club members have not been deterred. They have focused their efforts on individual planting where possible and raising money for the Tree Aid ‘She Grows’ project.

To mark their planting, Jill Anderson, one of their members is cross stitching a tree and adding leaves for all the trees the club members have planted!  She is also selling the leaves at £10 each, the cost of donating a tree for Tree Aid.  She is using different colours to represent the different trees members have chosen.

Some members are also using Tree App (works in conjunction with the Eden Project) daily to plant a tree and these leaves have been added too. The wonderful tapestry, seen in the accompanying photo, will also give the club a lasting memento of the Centenary year.

SI Pendleside Commemorate Soroptimist Centenary

Maureen Howarth and Val Thomas of SI Pendleside plant a tree at Clitheroe Castle on behalf of their club, to commemorate the Soroptimist centenary and International Women`s Day.

SI Malta add to their planting tally!

I’m excited to report that SI Malta has planted more trees:

In continuation of the club’s 25th Anniversary Project and as part of The Centenary Tree Project, 25 stone fruit trees have been planted in an existing orchard.  The orchard belongs to a convent that is founder and sponsor of the NGO Dar Merhba Bik, a women’s shelter.

A variety of stone fruit tree saplings have been chosen to contribute in future to a healthy food supply for the clients of the shelter, and have been chosen to provide fruit for a prolonged period during the year.

Irrigation of the orchard, which is always of concern on the arid Maltese Islands, is secured through a cistern collecting rain water.

The inauguration will be held later in the year.


In keeping with the SI Centenary Celebrations and Planting Trees Project we at SI Pune Metro East have decided to plant 100 trees as part of our ‘Project Green Turn’.

We started with the Moringa…  Why the Moringa?

One of the many reasons that Moringa is known as “The Miracle Tree” is because of its exceptional social, environmental and economic benefits for rural communities.

Native to Africa and Asia, Moringa, or Moringa oleifera to use its scientific name, is one of nature’s most powerful plants. Its leaves are exceptionally nutrient-dense, its seeds bear oil and can be used to purify water, it is drought-resistant and it can provide a year round source of income for the small producers that grow it.

Planting Moringa trees is a simple way to improve the environment, fight malnutrition and eradicate poverty in rural communities.

Moringa contains a variety of proteins, vitamins, and minerals and has few known side effects and is believed to have many benefits and its uses range from health and beauty to helping prevent and cure diseases.

On the occasion of our Charter Anniversary we conducted an International webinar on ‘The MIRACULOUS MORINGA’ which included The Environmental, Medicinal and Nutritional Benefits of the Moringa .We also released an e-booklet on ten recipes from pan India which use the Moringa leaves, flowers and fruit  as the key ingredient.

So far we have planted 8 Moringa trees at the Eventide Home and at the location of our ‘Sanitary Napkin Advocacy Program Project’ premises at Asu, Pune district.

In addition to the above SI Pune Metro East has also planted 100 saplings which are indigenous to India in the village ASU….Bel/Aegle marmelos 4, Indian rosewood 5, Dhup/Canarium strictum 3, parijat 20, Moringa 5,Amla/Indian gooseberry 20, Avacado 5, wood apple 5, Apta/ Bauhinia racemosa 5, Bhokar/Cordia dichotoma10, red sandalwood 5, sandalwood 5, curry tree/Murraya koenigii 13.

SI Penrith and District Partnership Activity

Soroptimist International Penrith and District applied to the Woodland Trust for 60 free hedging plants which were to be used in a joint project with Sockbridge & Tirril Community Led Footpath Scheme. We were granted the free plants with delivery in Nov 2020. The week before they were due the land owner changed their plans leaving us with no site for the plants.

Fortunately Ullswater Catchment Management, set up after the 2015 floods, came to our rescue. Danny Teasdale of Ullswater CM said “I was laying on old hedge with James Rebanks on his land at Matterdale and used your saplings to fill the gaps, they will make a wonderful thick bushy hedge when they start to grow again, all have been used so no wastage, thank you for  passing them on”.

We had planned to take part in the planting day, put up a plaque and hold a community event to celebrate but none of this was possible due to the Covid 19 restrictions

Some of you may have read “The Shepherds Life” and other books written by James Rebanks,


SI Newcastle upon Tyne have launched their ‘Trees for Life’ Project which in Phase 1 will provide global benefits, and these benefits will be for women.

‘Treesisters’ is a UK based organisation founded by women and now forming a global network of women who donate money to fund a ‘Reforestation Revolution’.  This revolution is to restore our tropical forests by “women seeding change” (  in Brazil, Cameroon, India, Kenya, Nepal, Madagascar and Amazonia, because tropical forests are” the lungs of the world, rain creators, weather stabilisers, air cleansers and the conditioners of the planet”. (  Together this network of empowered women across the globe aim to plant one million to one billion trees a year.  Their current total so far is 2.2 million trees which women have planted and nurtured, and from which they grow more trees to sell or plant for food, materials and medicines.  This puts women in the driving seat of change and makes them economically active.  They are ensuring these trees survive and thrive by engaging with local schools, students and others in their 20yr tree nurture plans.

The Reforestation Revolution is focused on tropical forests and jungles because tropical trees sequester (i.e., store on a long term basis carbon dioxide and other forms of carbon to slow the accumulation of atmospheric and marine greenhouse gases released by the burning of fossil fuels) store three times more carbon than trees in temperate regions.

Through ‘Treesisters’ the trees can be purchased and planted for 33p per sapling!  SI Newcastle upon Tynehave no target – we and our planet need all the trees we can get.   Our ‘Trees for Life’ Clock started counting with the project launch at our Annual Charter Lunch on the 16 November 2019.  Through the generosity of all the Club, our Northern England Region and other Soroptimists together with their family and friends the funds were raised for women across the globe working in partnership with to plant a staggering 1,199 trees across a range of tropical forests.  Now named SI Newcastle upon Tyne’s “WOR FOREST” (a true Geordie name!)  – supporting our planet, women internationally and their communities.

No.1 photograph is at the Charter Lunch in November 2019 when the funds for 1,999 trees through the was raised. Note the ’tree’ table decorations.


Phase 2 of the Project was launched in the UK with the planting of a Silver Birch tree (Betula Snow Queen) in partnership with Dobbies Garden Centre at their Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne premises on International Women’s Day on 8 March 2020.  This was an exciting occasion followed by coffee and cake with plans to partner with a range of Newcastle schools and educational organisations during the year.  Unfortunately, despite having raised a considerable sum of money, thanks to a very successful summer event in 2019 hosted by a Club Member, Phase 2 has been postponed due to the Covid 19 pandemic which began with its first lockdown on the 23 March 2020.

No. 2 photograph is the planting of a Silver Birch at Dobbies Garden Centre on International Women’s Day 2020.

However, SI Newcastle upon Tyne’s ’Trees for Life’ Phase 2 will take place – watch this space!


The Mangrove Mantra -SI South Kolkata

What a beautiful day 6th of January 2021 was! The azure sky and the sparkling blue waters of River Dutta reflected perfect harmony. It was an extremely satisfying and fulfilling day for us. A hundred years ago the first Soroptimist Sisters had taken up cudgels to rebuild the Redwood Forest and they did!

Here were we, a group of Soroptimists, albeit in another part of our dear, precious Mother Earth, trying to rebuild the mangrove forests, absolutely in sync with our SIGBI Centenary Tree Planting Project.

Mangroves, mangroves and more mangroves…that’s what we need. The mangroves protect our shoreline, prevent soil erosion, form the habitat for our rich biodiversity, have fruits that are edible as well as medicinal, provide opportunities for livelihoods…the list could simply go on and on.

After the International Webinar on Ill Effects of Climate Change in My City hosted by SI Madurai, we seriously started thinking about planting mangroves to rebuild our coastline and re-create the ‘Himalayas’ of the south. Just like the Himalayas protect us in the north, the mangroves protect us from severe cyclonic storms, and tidal surges. The super cyclone Amphan last May 2020 had demonstrated the ferocity of the sea.

We shortlisted a few NGOs and we finally decided on Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage (KSCH) as our collaborator at the grassroots level. The founder-director of KSCH is passionate about livelihood generation and environmental issues. Though a computer engineer by profession, working at IBM for seven years, he gave it all up in order to work towards re-building nature and natural resources.

Many zoom meetings later, when our Mangrove fund was sizeable enough to start work, we did so in conjunction with KSCH on 11th of November 2020 and planted 1000 mangrove saplings of two varieties.

Soon other clubs and many individuals joined us: SI Pune Metro East and SI Chennai Downtown had lent us support from Day 1. SI members from all over, friends and relatives have come forward with contributions. The drive for garnering funds is an ongoing one, seeing that a really vast area has become denuded.

The tranquil blue expanse of water welcomed us into the Delta. Whoever could imagine that this calm river could become wild and tumultuous during a storm? A few Soroptimist Sisters of South Kolkata along with a few KSCH members had gone to visit our plantation site in the Sunderbans, West Bengal. The thousand saplings planted earlier were doing well. At low tide we could see the slender whitish stalks gently swaying in the breeze. We planted 400 more: two other varieties of mangroves. We met our workforce, the villagers of two neighbouring villages near the plantation site. We were pleasantly surprised when the melodious sound of conch shells greeted us and two young girls welcomed us with a small bunch of flowers and the traditional tika on the forehead. It was so heart-warming to see their smiles when we distributed blankets and old but durable, good quality clothes. The children loved the biscuits and cakes we had taken for them.

As they waved us goodbye when our boat sailed away, the resounding chorus of “Come again!” still rings in my ears. We must go there again and again and yet again till our work of rebuilding the mangrove is done.

We are determined to raise a wall of mangroves along the Sunderbans in the delta at the head of the Bay of Bengal. The mangroves are our protectors. They alone can arrest the rate of climate change in this area and prevent low lying areas from being washed off into the sea.

Adieu! Wait for us! We’ll come again!

Shukla Chattopadhyay

PAC, SI South Kolkata

SI Croydon & District Peace Garden

On a bright Tuesday in January, a lone Soroptimist started digging 2 holes in the wide border inside the walled garden in Park Hill Park, Croydon. The exact spots had been chosen months ago when the two organic fruit trees to celebrate the centenary of Soroptimist International were chosen – Oullin’s greengage and Herman’s plum. Both are self pollinating, will mature to a medium height (for trees!) and yield delicious fruit in Summer.

The following Friday, two Soroptimists sallied forth with the young trees in hand, raising our voices to greet each other as we stood a long way apart. With careful positioning of the root and a little more digging around the edges of each hole, the trees were held in position, the soil was refilled around them and tamped down. A little watering-in later on and two happy Soroptimists, Susan and Grace, went back home for tea (all our favourite cafés are shut!).

A brass plaque with our club name and the centenary details will be added later in the year, when we can all get together in the garden for a proper celebration. Plaque for trees in walled garden


SI Perthshire ensuring they remain ‘Big Tree Country’

Perthshire is known as Big Tree Country and is packed with high and mighty trees including the tallest hedge in the world at Meikleour and the oldest living yew in Europe at Fortingall.  This yew is estimated between 3,000 and 9,000 years old.

Alongside this striking heritage of ancient trees, new woodlands are being planted. S. I. Crieff members have contributed to the Centenary Plant Trees Project by planting a Prunus Kansan (Flowering Cherry) and a Salix Sepulcralis ‘Chrysocoma’ (Weeping Golden Willow) in partnership with the Crieff Community Trust. We planted them on the Trust’s land in Turretbank Wood.

We are also partnering the Comrie Development Trust and 100 trees will be planted in our name during March 2021. These trees are part of a larger scheme to plant 20,000 trees near Cultabraggan in Comrie.

SI Burton upon Trent and District

Mask up to PlantTrees

Members of SI Burton upon Trent and District, despite all the challenges and restrictions soldiered on with their tree planting plans.  Looking rather like bandits wearing their face coverings and observing strict hygiene rules, club members got together and planted trees at Rosliston Forestry Centre in the National Forest.  They planted 10 trees in total which included Red Cedar, Common Pear and Silver Fir. The trees will be accompanied by a plaque marking the club’s 80th year and Soroptimist International centenary.

SI Nottingham Plants Big

With a tiny forest and much more

The discussions within club to support the #PlantTrees project were very enthusiastic and centred around an Eco-project that they will continue after the Centenary year. They have set up a tree planting committee and used their established contacts and networks to get started.

“I’m friends with a trustee at Nottingham Wildlife Trust and after lots of conversations & some “strategic” planning we are now embarking on our own “Tiny Forest” planted in the Miyawaki style” Lisa Barrett tells us.

They have ordered over 400 trees and some members are setting seeds for ground covering. The tree’s are due to arrive at Home Farm (FarmEco) in Screveton on 31st March and they hope to set up an event to include both family and friends. They will also be joined by Nottingham Tree planters who will lend a hand with the planting.

SI Nottingham have agreement that FarmEco will prepare the ground and the preliminary work (Manure, straw, feed etc).

They are also now in contact with one of the community gardeners at Victoria Park in St Ann’s near Sneinton Market, very close to the city and although they have yet to make firm plans they are thinking of supporting them in their plans to plant fruit trees.

Nottingham Club have also had a zoom meeting with their link clubs (Karlsruhe, Eldoret & Freetown) and as a result are going to set up an International tree planting diary of events so that they can perhaps offer financial support to some clubs or perhaps purchase trees to be planted in our respective clubs’ names in each other’s countries. At the moment this is early days as they have only had one meeting but we will continue updating you.

SI St Austell & District Plant their SI Centenary Trees

SI St Austell & District got together on the 12th December 2020 to plant a copse of 31 saplings of silver birch, rowan and wild cherry in celebration of the SI Centenary.  A plaque is being prepared to mark the tree planting.  The trees were provided free by The Woodland Trust.  They were planted in the grounds of Penrice House Care Home, Porthpean, alongside the driveway so they can be seen and enjoyed by residents and visitors.  The club has had links with Penrice House for many years and the club members have organised and accompanied residents on monthly outings.

Photos –  members of SI St Austell and District – Libby Moore, President Barbara Trenerry, Wendy Leach & Wendy Plaice

SI East Grinstead #PlantTrees

SI East Grinstead Plants Trees and encouraging others to do the same

Trees are essential for people, wildlife and the environment.  We need to seriously reduce our emissions, and find a way of reducing the damage already done. Technology is being explored to remove CO2 – the biggest culprit – from the atmosphere, but it is expensive and complex.

There is a simpler solution – and it’s our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change: trees.

And trees do more than just capture carbon. They also fight the cruel effects of a changing climate. They can help:

  • Prevent flooding
  • Reduce city temperature
  • Reduce pollution
  • Keep soil nutrient-rich

By restoring precious habitats and planting new native woodland with UK-grown trees, SI East Grinstead hopes to extend and create havens for wildlife, boosting biodiversity. This goes hand in hand with planting to mitigate climate change. Tackling this crisis now means leaving the world in a liveable state for future generations.

SI East Grinstead want everyone to connect with and recognise the importance of trees and woods in our lives, from distant rainforests to the landscape on our doorstep. By working with schools and local community groups, our Club is empowering people to take the fight against climate change into their own hands.  To this end SI East Grinstead members have been planting trees in Lingfield Nature Reserve alongside conservation volunteers.  A member has also had the opportunity to talk with children from a local school at the Briars Lodge Field Centre.  Children learned how to plant and care for trees and took part in some planting.  The club felt it was important to reach out to children to support their engagement with nature, encourage a respect and love of nature, and understanding of the positivity of trees.

SI Penrith and District Partnership Activity

Soroptimist International Penrith and District recently worked in partnership with Sockbridge and Tirril Community Led Footpath Scheme and Eden Rivers Trust to plant trees. This was part of a much larger scheme being carried out by Sockbridge & Tirril Footpath Scheme.

Three of our members joined with 13 local volunteers, all socially distanced, to plant 230 trees along the “riverside zone” of Lady Beck, Tirril, Cumbria.

SI Middlesbrough #PlantTrees in Public Park

SI Middlesbrough in Northern England region have planted 15 urban trees in Albert Park, an open access, free public park in Middlesbrough on 24th November 2020, to celebrate 75 years of SI Middlesbrough and 100 years of Soroptimist International.

The trees planted – 5 Rowan, 5 Hazel and 5 Crab Apple – are native species purchased from the Woodland Trust.  They have been planted in a central location near the fountain close to the bluebells the Club planted last year.  A plaque is placed nearby to publicise the Centenary and SI Middlesbrough club.  They hope the planting will enhance the environment and increases oxygen levels, and helps towards the problem of climate change.

SI Richmond & Dales plan ahead for Community Woodland

As part of activities to celebrate of Soroptimist International’s Centenary, SI Richmond and Dales are supporting the initiative to “Plant Trees for a Brilliant Future”

In collaboration with one of this year’s Presidents’ charities, Just the Job Environmental Services in Richmond, SI Richmond & Dales applied for 270 saplings from the Woodland Trust which arrived this week.   The saplings have been ‘heeled in’ and will shortly be planted out at the Just the Job garden.  It is hoped these will be then transferred eventually to form part of the charity’s proposed new grounds and venue nearby, blending in to the community woodland planned for Richmond 950 celebrations, also in 2021.

Presidents Jane and Faye went to see the saplings at Just the Job where they will be nurtured and grown on, helping to contribute to a “brilliant future”.


SI Leigh and SI Wigan launch plans during National Tree Week

To commemorate 100 years since the inception of Soroptimist International, Leigh & Wigan clubs are jointly undertaking a Tree Planting project. In partnership with Wigan based Lancashire Wildlife Trust, plans are being made to plant 100 trees in Bickershaw Country Park. The Trust will obtain suitable saplings and the additional resources needed. Nominal costs for the trees and plaque will be funded by the two clubs.

Recent site visits to the Park have identified a suitable area created from the site of a now demolished Pit Colliery. Contact has been made with nearby Bickershaw CE Primary School asking the children to design a logo of birds & trees which will form the basis of a permanent sign for the project.

In addition, the local Ornithological Society have shown interest in this project and have offered both clubs a walk around the Country Park identifying the wide variety of birds in the area and also offered to visit the School to speak to the children.

Launching the project this week during National Tree Week 2020, it is hoped the Soroptimist Centenary banner of ‘Bright Past-Brilliant Future’ will not only highlight the many International, national and local projects undertaken by Soroptimists in the past 100 years.

NASI Project “Plant Trees for Brilliant Future”

National Association of Soroptimist International clubs of India is the Parent body of all of the SI Clubs in India (NASI) and is pleased to announce new National Project “Plant Trees for a Brilliant Future”. All Soroptimist clubs in India have agreed to work on this project.

Anitha Rajarajan APD Planet


Today at the Gandhi Museum, the Iconic heritage place in Madurai,  tree planting was done under the NASI Project “Plant Trees for a Brilliant Future” in partnership  with  SI Dallas of USA and SI Aalst of Belgium. It will be named the “Soroptimist Grove”. Commissioner, Corporation of Madurai and his wife planted the first tree.  A hundred  indigenous rare variety of  trees were planted.

The Gandhi Museum has given 10,000 sqft of land for this grove.

Soroptimist Grace Onions’ – “Sit Down Protest for Trees”

Grace Onions, Regional President, SI South East England, and well-known locally as an environmental activist, was called early one morning recently by her 80-year-old neighbour who was in distress due to felling of much-admired, beautiful mature trees by Croydon Council. Most of the trees were oaks, and some estimated to be at least 100 years old

The trees were on land inside the perimeter of the church school. The protest first began soon after 8am outside the Minster School in Waddon, as council contractors arrived to fell the street trees. It was the first day of the autumn half-term, so the work had obviously been planned by the council for some time, to be outside the summer months and while no children are on the school site. But according to locals, there had been precious little, if any, consultation with residents. “Some residents along Warrington Road received a letter allegedly written by some of the school children, but I live 100 yards from the school on an adjoining road and heard nothing. Until, that is, the sound of chainsaws this morning!”

Grace told Inside Croydon: “I spoke to several of the people carrying out the work and it seems that it was authorised due to subsidence. Some oaks of considerable age have been destroyed – clearly over 100 years old.  “I did not know what to do. I simply sat down.”

Grace was later joined by other protesters but to no avail.  “The trees are gone. Destroyed. And with it, another little piece of our children’s inheritance. They cannot be replaced in the lifetime of those who carried out or authorised the devastation.”

Grace may not have been successful in stopping the destruction but she played an important role in raising awareness locally and holding the Council to account by questioning their decision making, having recently declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Please Click on the Images to Enlarge

Soroptimist International of Leeds “Lets Plant Trees” now 99 and counting!

Past – Commemorate

S I Leeds in 2018 agreed to plant a tree to commemorate each of our club members who had sadly died since 2000 following losing 2 members within a short period of time.  In total we needed to plant 9 trees with The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, who restore native woodlands. Each tree planted is our memorial to the contributions made by our sister  Soroptimists to the club, Yorkshire region and our wider organisation.  Where possible  Certificates of planting and Remembrance Cards provided were sent to the families in recognition of each  commitment, service, and friendship.

Present – Celebrate

February 2020, our club celebrated its 90th Charter Birthday!  Members decided to celebrate  socially with a meal following our AGM in April and to plant 90 more trees to celebrate.  Well, our additional 90 Trees were all planted by September. The COVID19 Pandemic, ensuring lockdown, and current  restrictions may have delayed our celebratory meal for now!

Future – Continuance/Conservation/Climate

SI Leeds plan to continue to plant Trees to commemorate deceased club sisters (we sincerely hope this is not in the extremely near future), to celebrate club achievements and being Soroptimists!

SI Barnstaple and District #PlantTrees despite the weather!

Members of SI Barnstaple and District didn’t let driving rain and biting wind deter them from planting seven trees, one for each of their Friendship Links, Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), Bangor (Northern Ireland), Geelong (Australia), Skipton-in-Craven (Yorkshire), Uelzen (Germany), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Pune (India).

The trees were planted on the edge of an apple orchard that has been in the ownership of the family of one of their members for many years.  The apples growing there are used by a local cider maker who makes cider in the traditional way and the site is immediately adjacent to a village which has conservation status.
They planted two common Holly, two Mountain Ash, one Holm evergreen Oak, one Silver Birch and one small leaved Lime – all of which were sourced to suit the site.  The trees chosen will support a variety of wild life – although rabbit guards were fitted to detract from the nibbling of the bark!

SI Bristol’s Tree Projects

In a television documentary “The Queen’s Green Planet”, the Queen and David Attenborough invited the public to plant a tree to contribute to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy ( A member of SI Bristol has donated an English Oak tree to contribute to this venture as part of our centenary activities. The tree will be planted in the autumn in the Muller Road Recreational Grounds, a relatively deprived area of Bristol.

We are encouraging members to use Microsoft’s Ecosia search engine, which is similar to Google. Ecosia uses revenue from searches and clicks on adverts (no purchase is necessary) to plant trees where they are most needed (see On average it takes 45 Ecosia searches to plant one tree. By using Ecosia we contribute to reforesting our planet and empowering communities around the projects worldwide.

SI Bristol is investigating sources of free trees and areas where they can be planted.

We are also celebrating SI Bristol’s centenary by raising awareness about the value of trees. On our social platforms, we are posting photographs of 100 trees, taken by Club members (Facebook [Soroptimist Bristol] and Twitter [si_bristol]). There are some unusual and beautiful trees on show!  100 trees for 100 years.


Soroptimist International of Barbados

100th Anniversary Celebrations – Tree Planting

On Saturday July 18th, 2020, Soroptimist International of Barbados installed a Grove of 10 Barbadian “Bajan” Cherry Trees at our Soroptimist Senior Citizens Village & Activity Centre

The bright red fruit of the Barbados Cherry tree is said to contain thirty-two (32) times the amount of Vitamin C that can be found in orange juice.  Apart from being a powerful antioxidant, the cherry has strong anti-fungal and cholesterol lowering capabilities.  When the trees start bearing, the residents at the village can choose to enjoy the fruit straight from the tree, or use them for juices, jams and jellies and other preserves.

Soroptimist International Caribbean Network (SICN) President Sisporansa Stanford (with shovel) joined SI Barbados and also planted a tree.

The event was shared on social media on SI Barbados Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.  The event was featured by local Newspapers the Barbados Advocate and Nation Sunday Sun.  The local television station CBC TV8  also featured it in the Evening News.

What are SI Penrith & District planning to celebrate the Centenary and their 60th Anniversary?

Pixabay photo of a bushA member of SI Penrith & District lives in Sockbridge, Penrith and has been involved in a Community Led Plan (CLP) being undertaken in the villages of Sockbridge & Tirril. One of the projects being undertaken by the CLP is to reinstate some footpaths, repairing fencing, gates etc. and planting trees and hedging along the footpaths.

The Penrith member suggested to the CLP group that Penrith Soroptimists would like to be involved in the project by supplying and planting trees or hedging and also assisting with the publicity and social interaction for the Community. Our suggestion was received well, therefore Penrith Club have made an application for free hedging to the Woodland Trust. If our application is not successful we will as a club raise funds to cover buying the hedging. We wanted to get involved in this project to Celebrate SI Centenary but also with the planting taking place during the club’s 60th Anniversary 2020/21. This is felt to be an appropriate way to commemorate both Anniversaries, and we are planning putting up a plaque to this effect.

SI Madurai plant a ‘Tiny Forest’ in a school backyard

SI Madurai are very committed to making our environment greener and cleaner by planting trees.  Two years ago, working with local school children and the community, the club set out to plant a ‘tiny forest’ using the Miyawaki method, a technique pioneered by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, that helps build dense, native forests. The approach aims to ensure that plant growth is 10 times faster, the resulting plantation is 30 times denser than usual and requires less water to maintain its health. In India tree plantation programs are held just before the onset of the monsoons so that the saplings can get plenty of water to grow. The members of the club took great care to choose the right kinds of trees to plant using native species that suited the local conditions, maximizing ecological resilience for their native environment, and giving the best potential to enhance biodiversity. The trees they selected included Indian Mahogany, Ashoka, Banyan, ​Gulmohar, Curry and ​Peepal Trees. The work started by digging a pit along the school backyard, 10ft wide and 2.5ft deep and filling it with leaf litter and a starter enzyme.  This enzyme helps the leaves to decay quickly providing good nutrients for the young plants, and topsoil was added a few weeks later. The work was a real community event, involving club members, many members of the community, school staff, children and some parents. Saplings were planted close together and haphazardly, not in rows, ensuring the different species were well mixed.  160 trees were planted in total.  The resulting ‘tiny forest’, as you can see, is truly spectacular, creating a wonderful environment for the school children and staff, and a haven for wildlife.

This project won the best practice Award and having learnt a lot through their first project, and fuelled with enthusiasm, SI Madurai have recently planted a second ‘tiny forest’ at a centre for mentally ill patients, and their forest for the Centennial Celebrations will be in full bloom in 2021. They intend to continue planting trees, one for every club in the Federation and are busy encouraging other clubs to get involved!

Download PDF – Miyawaki Method of Growing Forest in your Backyard

SI Croydon & District Peace Garden plans for #PlantTrees

Members have taken care of a small plot within a community section of the traditional Walled Garden in Park Hill Park in Croydon over the last 2 years.

The photo is our club’s plot inside the walled garden – it’s about 12′ x 6′.  The lovely wooden block of a dynamic S was made for the garden by our youngest member Emma. We’ve planted various lovely plants over the last 2 years including some of the Soroptimist tulips. In the background, past the lush grass, you can just see the wall.

Our club has been offered space along the wall to plant a tree and place a plaque in recognition of the SIGBI centenary celebrations. The suggestion to our club members of a fruit tree was well received and it was decided that a damson tree would fit well within the garden as this was a popular fruit in Victorian times, when the garden itself was created.

We are hoping to be able to plant more than one fruit tree, but that will depend on how many other local groups take up the offer, and hopefully 2 or 3 trees in the park itself. Watch this space and we will keep you informed on our progress. 

SI Dewsbury & District #PlantTrees

Last summer we received an email encouraging us to get involved with the Woodland Trust’s free tree offer. We needed a grid reference and finally we were put in touch with Pete Banks, park ranger at Dewsbury Country park.

The area used to be a landfill site and is being transformed into the largest new woodland created in West Yorkshire. Pete got the grid reference and we ordered 400 trees for delivery in November 2019. The pack consisted of Rowan, Silver Birch, Wild Cherry, Common Oak, Field Maple and Grey Willow.

We needed volunteers and the Ansaar Beaver, Cub and Scout group from Heckmondwike came to help as did Soroptimists from SI Dewsbury and SI Wakefield with a few Soroptimisters , also helping was Karen from the Ravensthorpe Resident’s Action Group. The trees arrived and then came the big day. We had good weather and Pete started by explaining the value of planting trees and the effect they have on the environment and climate change. We planted over 800 trees. We had 100 delivered in March 2020 but these have had to wait until they can be planted. It was a fun day with lots of hard work and laughter.

                  SI Malta Plant an Olive Grove

In September 2018, Soroptimist International Malta organised a 3-day Conference with international guests on the occasion of their 25th Anniversary. During Conference, Soroptimist International Malta planted a commemorative tree in the public garden of the Presidential Palace San Anton and 25 olive trees.
The 25th Anniversary Project of Soroptimist International Malta consisted of creating an Olive Grove in the grounds of the women’s shelter Dar Merhba Bik. This project is sustainable in several ways: It involved clearing and regenerating an overgrown field, rebuilding a wall to protect the land from erosion and repairing a well to provide a natural source of water. The residents will eventually harvest the olives, use them in their cooking and sell any surplus to provide much needed funds for the shelter. 
Thanks to the support of the Directorate for Parks, Afforestation and Countryside Restoration, P.A.R.K.S., everything was ready on inauguration day, Saturday morning of the Conference. 
The olive grove was inaugurated by Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta, who also helped SI Malta President Dot Hunter plant the first tree before invited international delegates and various local sponsors planted the additional 24 trees to mark our Club’s 25th Anniversary.
Still in continuation of the 25th Anniversary project, SI Malta is in the process of completing a picnic area with orchard and scented plants that will provide a retreat in nature to help overcome the trauma experienced by the residents.
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