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Celebrating 100 Years of Volunteer Service with the Lions Club

By Jason Sullivan-Halpern

March 26, 2017

When Dolores and Perry Diaz of the Maharlika Lions Club approached us in January to discuss planning a celebratory tree planting for the Lions Club’s 100th anniversary, we were more than happy to help. The Lions Club has a long history of protecting our environment in addition to their other humanitarian projects. The Lions Club International District 4-C5 even received SacTree’s Austin B. Carrol Tree Hero Award in 2012 for their commitment to tree planting, care, and stewardship efforts as well as effective education and public awareness.

The Maharlika Lions Club’s goal was simple: plant a tree for each year of the Lions Club’s volunteer service to our community and region. Since they wanted to plant 100+ trees, we decided that Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge would be the perfect place for them to do so. The federally-protected 17,640-acre refuge, composed of reclaimed agricultural lands, was developed in the 1990s to offset increased development in the Elk Grove area and is home to thousands of species of native wildlife. SacTree has planted thousands of trees there over the last several years in order to increase the amount of habitat for wildlife there, but was still plenty of work left to be done.

On March 25, volunteers from the Lions Club International District 4-C5, AmeriCorps NCCC, and the general public gathered on the North end of the refuge to plant 300 more native oak acorns across a large open area bordering a boat launch. All the trees, tools, training, and snacks were provided by SacTree. The Lions Club’s International District 4-C5’s District Governor, Kumar, was in attendance to plant the first acorn and say a few words about the importance of this historic achievement for the Lions Club as our volunteers finished their snacks and grabbed their tools.

All 300 of the acorns were planted in record time. We finished an hour early! Each acorn was not only planted, but mulched with hay and covered with a tree tube to retain moisture and protect the tree from wildlife that might eat or trample it. The absolute best part of the experience was how much fun everyone had though! SacTree hosts a lot of plantings, but this was one of the most enjoyable thanks to the natural beauty of the planting site, the highly-motivated volunteers, and the delicious lunch that the Lions Club provided afterwards.

Following the planting, the Marhalika Lions Club stated: “We all felt accomplished and ready to plant more trees in the future and invite all 52 local Lions Clubs in the district to participate. We pledged to return and help maintain the Lions Centennial Grove at the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Thanks to our partner, Sacramento Tree Foundation and to the support of the Friends of the Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, by all means, this was not the end of the project but the start of a lasting environmental partnership.”

All of us here at SacTree are looking forward to growing and protecting our urban forest with the Lions Club again soon. In the meantime, we wish you all the best of luck with your next 100 years of volunteer service.

Do you want to host a special group volunteer opportunity for your company, school, church, or service group? Call or email me at 916-974-4310 or volunteer@sactree.com. We’re always interested in planting and caring for more trees!