The fact is that Sydney Pascall, RI president in 1931 was the
first president to plant a tree during a presidential visit.
An important part of Paul Harris' love of mankind is told, here,
in the "The Friendship Trees of Paul Harris" inspired by
Jim Buffington of RC of Aberdeen, Mississippi, USA.
"Giant Trees from little Acorns Grow"
Paul Harris, 1933,
radio address from Boston
The purpose of this section of our history project is to show the
growth of Rotary from the fellowship and love of one Rotarian to another.
I started this observance in the National Botanical Gardens at Cape Town, and since then I have planted more than 30 trees, while 22 others have been set out by Mrs Pascall, our daughter, and mayors and Rotary leaders. Let us hope that our active pursuit of friendship among the nations may be symbolized by these trees.
We recall the saying; ‘and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. ‘May it be so.”
You’ll read some of Harris’ writing and read of his travels. In the story of the trees is part of the story of the greatness of Rotary itself. Jack M. B. Selway, Founder Rotary Global History
“It is not good that the man should be alone” hence I took Jean with me and her presence shed its customary glow over every picture.”
From Peregrinations, Volume II
“We Become Pacific-Ocean Minded”
by Paul P. Harris, President Emeritus, Rotary International – copyright 1937, Jean T. Harris,
courtesy of the Rotary International Archives
The RGHF “Friendship Tree” Gavel
But, it was Paul and Jean Harris who created a friendship garden at their home, Comely Bank, in Chicago. In the 1930’s they were invited by the board of directors to visit many Rotary conventions and gatherings around the world. In nearly 50 places that the project has been able to find, the Harris’ planted trees. Some even survived wars, some did not, but were replanted.