Posted by Philip Sprague
Rotary’s history of planting trees in Watertown goes back to 1976. As a gift to the North Country in honor of our Nation’s Bicentennial Birthday, our Club raised money to fund our first planting and also established a permanent fund at the NNYCF to help pay for future tree planting initiatives.
This fine tradition has now been maintained for 44 years. Multiple generations of Rotarians, their families and friends, and many civic minded community members have logged thousands of hours improving the environmental health and beauty of the city.
This spring concerns about COVID 19 caused us to modify our Annual Spring Tree Planting. We diverted our normal NNYCF funds to a City initiative to protect Ash Trees in key locations throughout the city from the Emerald Ash Borer. Many of these now protected were planted by Rotarians.
At the time, we also discussed a potential fall planting. I am very pleased to share with you that on November 7th, 2020, Rotary, Tree Watertown, Friends of Thompson Park, The DEC, The City of Watertown, and the NNYCF will join together in a grand collaborative effort. We will be planting over 50 trees throughout our beloved Thompson Park.
Mayor Tom Walker was one of the founding fathers of tree planting in Watertown. He has been an ardent supporter throughout his life. He has organized tree planting, researched and supported the development and disbursement of a survivable American Chestnut Tree, has dug holes, wrestled heavy B&B trees into these holes, has taken many afternoons to prune and trim trees,  and he has encouraged me and countless others to be involved in tree planting. Tom and his family continue to provide financial support for our various tree initiatives.
This fall, our tree planting endeavor will be in honor of Tom.