Members of the Tri-Village and Upper Arlington Rotary clubs were at Burbank Early Childhood School with shovels in hand last week to plant 10 trees as part of a legacy project marking Upper Arlington's centennial.

The two clubs have teamed to raise more than $16,000 to plant 100 trees in all -- 10 in 10 different groves around local schools.

"We funded this, and we got a matching grant from our district," said Dave Dewey, Upper Arlington Rotary Club president. "Rotary International wanted to plant one tree for every Rotarian in the world -- about 1.2 million of them.

"We want to partner with the city where they have gaps. They want to be a Tree City USA, and we found a need. There's gaps in (the city's) funding and this parallels the international project."

At Burbank, students got an up-close look of the new trees being planted around their playground during an April 27 Arbor Day event.

Steve Cothrel, Upper Arlington's parks and forestry superintendent, said they'll add to a variety of trees the city has planted in the grove each Arbor Day over past decades.

"We partnered with all the local schools that were considered 'safe' as massive reconstruction occurs over the next few years," Cothrel said. "Planting at schools helps educate students about the importance of sustainability and planning for the future.

"Arbor Day is a holiday that looks to the future while reminding us that today we enjoy a verdant community gifted to us by those who came before us."

Upper Arlington City Councilwoman Michele Hoyle hailed the tree project as a true community partnership among the two Rotary clubs, the city and the schools.

"In Arlington, we're good at sharing resources, doing things together," she said. "This is a great project."

While the Rotary clubs provided the funding, schools throughout the Upper Arlington district, along with St. Agatha and St. Andrew schools, allowed for trees to be planted on their properties.

The city used its resources to make the purchases and provide employees to work alongside Rotarians to plant the trees.

"We were the logistics," Cothrel said. "We met with all the schools and figured out what they wanted and where they wanted them."

Dewey said the project helps the Rotary clubs carry out its missions of "Service Above Self," as well as "doing good in the world."

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