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Celebrate Earth Day with the Rotary Club of Fonthill

Mark April 20 on your calendars for the Great Lakes Watershed Cleanup and the Pelham Tree Planting Initiative

A fantastic way to build community, strengthen your connections with others and give back close to home is to join your local Rotary Club.

Humanitarian service and fellowship, both locally and internationally, are just some of the benefits of joining a service club like this one.

The Rotary Club of Fonthill, a non-profit charitable organization, is part of the worldwide Rotary International organization. It belongs to Rotary District 7090 specifically—an international district known as the Best of Friends.

It’s a warm and welcoming group of businesswomen and men who meet weekly in Pelham to help improve the lives of others. Currently there are 23 active and 6 honorary members; they range in age from the early 30s to the 2 honorary members who are in their early 80s. The only expectation? That each member contributes what they are able in terms of volunteer time and attending meetings.

“We raise funds to help support local non-profits that provide services that benefit our community,” says Dave Schulz, Public Image Director and Executive Secretary. The group receives frequent requests for financial support from other community organizations.

People join Rotary for a variety of reasons, he says. “The most important thing for any new member is to find their passion within Rotary. From literacy and peace to water and health, we are always working to better our world. It offers everyone a place to focus and build their passion to better their local community and, beyond that, to better our world.  All of this is reinforced by the fellowship and family that we share together.”

Membership in Rotary provided him with the opportunity to refocus in a positive way following retirement, says Schulz, who joined in January 2019. It has given him a professional family in which he can grow and contribute to his community. 

Those who join during their working years have the opportunity to make connections and focus their skills while giving back. Younger people can participate too, through Interact (high school) and Rotaract (post-secondary education, trades and starting their careers).

Earth Day 2024

The group’s most recent project involves organizing their annual Great Lakes Watershed Cleanup on Earth Day, as well as a new event that involves planting 400 trees in Pelham.

The Pelham Tree Planting Initiative

Join the Rotary Club of Fonthill on Saturday, April 20 at the Meridian Community Centre from 9 am to 12 pm where they will be combining efforts with other community groups to plant native tree species.

The trees are being provided at cost by Willowbrook Nurseries and mulch for each tree will be supplied free of charge courtesy of Safe Tree.

“Together with the district, we are purchasing 400 trees. 300 will be provided as part of this Earth Day event and 100 are being reserved for a Rotary Forest,” explains Schulz.

More trees, of course, means more natural habitat, expanding wildlife corridors and increasing both tree canopy coverage and carbon capture.

Sharon Pfeifer is the Earth Day organizer who is managing the Tree Planting Initiative. The restorative forest will be planted on Pelham Cares’ property on Highway 20 at Rice Road; the area is at the headwaters of Twelve Mile Creek, the region’s only remaining habitat for native coldwater trout.

The trees that will be specially selected for the Rotary Forest will be compatible with this unique location. The planning is being done by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Foundation, where Pfeifer works.

“The Rotary Club is dedicated to supporting environmental preservation and to ‘greening Pelham’ to support the overall health and well-being of the community,” she says. “Rotary clubs are known for creating accessible recreational spaces and parks; this forest has at its root a desire to care for a threatened ecosystem and support biodiversity, to support the greater good of the community.”

Pfeifer is a newer member of the group. “Rotary does such important and thoughtful work in communities across Niagara, and around the world. I grew up near a Rotary Forest in an otherwise urban area of Winnipeg and now being part of creating one here feels so right,” she says.

“People so often take nature for granted—being part of an organization that truly cares about making a difference for the environment is amazing (Rotary, and NPCF where I work).”

The Great Lakes Watershed Cleanup

Frank Adamson is a former club President and past District Governor for Rotary District 7090. He was instrumental in starting the Great Lakes Watershed Cleanup during his term as District Governor, which has grown from one to 16 districts and includes the participation of many like-minded organizations. (Adamson also happens to be the one who spearheaded the successful District Grant application that is matching funds contributed by the club to purchase the trees.)

Adamson is skilled at creating partnerships and bringing others with similar interests on board. Key connections made in recent years include John Langendoen, the owner of Willowbrook Nurseries, Sharon Pfeifer, Pelham Advocates for Trees and Habitat, Safe Tree, and Pelham Cares.

“This project demonstrates Rotary’s commitment to the environment in a time of worldwide crisis with global warming. It is as important to eliminate plastic production as it is to clean it up. It is one of many initiatives we can all take to lessen the effects of global warming,” he says.

About The Rotary Club of Fonthill

This year the group will be celebrating 33 years as a humanitarian service club for professional men and women of Niagara, located in the Town of Pelham. It was established on June 11, 1991.

“As a long-time Rotarian, I’m always amazed at the wonderful initiatives we continue to introduce in the name of community service. Not only are our members and their families and friends volunteering their time for cleanup on April 20, but our native species tree giveaway that day will also enable the town to grow the Pelham tree canopy in residential, rural and natural habitat areas alike,” says Carolyn Mullin, current club President, 2023-24. “This one-day initiative will provide an environmental legacy for years to come.”

You too can help create hope in the world. If you’re interested in getting involved and supporting Rotary’s community outreach efforts, fill out this form to become a member or send an email to [email protected]. Learn more about the organization at the Rotary Linktree.

Rotary members, friends and volunteers who are interested in helping out on April 20 are asked to register online.

To pre-order your own tree for planting in Pelham, please complete this form.

For more information, visit the Rotary Club of Fonthill. Keep up with the latest events by following the group on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter/X, Instagram and Threads.

Weekly meeting address

  • Wednesdays at 7:30 am
  • Meridian Community Centre, 2nd Floor
  • 100 Wellspring Way
  • Fonthill, ON
  • L0S 1E6


The Rotary Club of Fonthill: