Welcome to the 2017-2018 Rotary Year!
 
As the beginning of the new Rotary Year starts and our new officers take their places, I wish you all success. May the year ahead be fulfilling for you and impactful for your communities. I have had the pleasure of getting to know many of you and I am eager to get to know those who I haven’t met as of yet.
 
I first want to thank Past District Governor Louis Turpin for his outstanding leadership over the past twelve months.  His passion for Rotary has set a sterling example for all of us to follow.
 
Let's Get Connected!
 
Many of our club presidents and secretaries have begin to get your club's officers and goals online. Those of you who haven't should find it easier, as RI is working to make Rotary Club Central and My Rotary more user friendly. Let's showcase our projects and look for potential partners to carry on the great work we're doing locally and globally.  If you need help in this regard, get in touch with Public Relations Director Carrie Hernandez or Communications Director Sue Doyle and they should be able to help. 
 
Rotary's Main Focus for 2017-2018, The Environment.
 
Rotary International President Ian Riseley has said that Rotarians can no longer stand on the sidelines on this extremely important matter.  It is imperative that we take better care of our planet Earth.  It is our only home and we owe it to each other and future generations to take better care of it.  The quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink is our responsibility. All of our other areas of focus depend on this area.
 
Towards this end, RI President Riseley has asked that each Rotarian plant a tree this coming year. Trees do an amazing job of absorbing carbon dioxide in our air, thus reducing one of the main culprits of global warming and climate change. By planting and nurturing trees, we can cut down the erosion of top soil, filter our water and add oxygen to our atmosphere. Plus, they provide shade and beautify our surroundings. The simple act of planting a tree will reap benefits for years to come.
 
Imagine the good that planting over 1,250,000 trees can do for our planet Earth! 
 
I'd like to see us get out Interactors and Rotoractors involved and multiply our efforts, and as a side benefit, develop environmental literacy among our members and young people.
 
Many of us are familiar with Arbor Day from our school days. Arbor Day was established in 1872.  April 27, 2018 is the next Arbor Day. Let's plan a Rotary Arbor Day Tree Planting event. We have some great resources within our District for speakers and technical assistance, which we will be posting on our District website to help get our members behind this important effort.
 
One last thing before I let you go for this month, Our 7th annual District Fun-Raiser, the Hudson Valley Renegades game, is coming up on August 12th!  We have reserved the right field patio again, so we have a great view of the game and the fireworks afterwards!  More information on how to reserve your tickets can be found here.  I look forward to seeing you and your families at Dutchess Stadium!
 
I would also like to extend my wishes to all of you and your families for a very happy and safe Fourth of July!
 
Here's to a great new year!
 
DG Jim Damiani