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Rotary Club of Oberlin accepts tree-planting challenge

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    Kate Pilacky, of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, carries an oak tree to be planted Saturday morning at Oberlin Great South Woods.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Pam Nielseon, of Amherst, and Barbara Kantola, of Amherst Township, push a wheel barrel filled with top soil through the field at Oberlin Great South Woods on Saturday morning, Oct. 21.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Rotary Club of Oberlin member Liz Schultz, of Oberlin, and Western Reservation Land Conservancy Firelands Chapter Vice Chair Ray Stewart, of Amherst, cut fencing for newly planted trees at Oberlin Great South Woods.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    David DiTullio, of Oberlin, pushes a wheel barrel filled with top soil for the newly planted tress as the Oberlin Great South Woods property on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 21.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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    Part-time Lorain County Metro Parks employee Dan Buttler, of Avon, shows a group of volunteers from Nordson and the Rotary Club of Oberlin how to properly plant trees at the Oberlin Great South Woods property on Saturday morning, Oct. 21.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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OBERLIN — The local Rotary Club chapter is helping the international organization with its goal to plant a tree for every member of the group.

Members of the Rotary Club of Oberlin and Nordson Corp. worked with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to plant 30 trees Saturday, funded by the Rotary, at the Oberlin Great South Woods property.

The 63-acre site was acquired by the conservancy in 2015 and has been the focus of conservation efforts for more than a decade. The property includes forests, wetlands, a sedge meadow and 30 acres of previously farmed land that is being transformed into prairie land.

The conservancy worked with Oberlin College students and community volunteers earlier this year to plant native wildflower and prairie seeds at Great South Woods.

“These trees will complement our prairie restoration work on the site and provide critical habitat for a diversity of wildlife,” said Kate Pilacky, Firelands associate field director for the conservancy.

Heidi Freas, president of the local Rotary Club chapter, said the Oberlin group has about 50 members and is looking at planting trees at Martin Luther King Jr. Park and also funding the planting of fruit trees in Africa to meet the goal of having one tree per member.

Rotary International President Ian Riseley issued the challenge to all local chapters, making the planting even more special, Freas said.

The fruit trees in Africa will be to provide women who are ostracized from their families a means of having a job and food for their children, Freas said, which is in line with the Rotary’s mission.

Freas said the money for the trees was raised through the local chapter’s annual silent auction and pancake breakfast.

“Any money that we raise, we grant both locally, statewide and internationally,” Freas said. “We had a program speaker come to Rotary to talk about their plans for the land, which is how we even found out about it. It just sort of fell in perfectly.”

Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or jweinberger@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Jodi_Weinberger.

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