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What’s Your Story – #PlantTrees

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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