The Rotary Club of Flagler Beach is pleased to announce that the club was awarded a $1000 matching grant from Rotary District 6970 to fund a reforestation project in Ecuador, under Rotary’s “Protecting the Environment” area of focus.

“Members of our club have pledged to take care of each other, our community, and our world, especially our most vulnerable neighbors. By planting trees and restoring land in Ecuador we are demonstrating our commitment to the environment. Rotarians are people of action and making this kind of impact locally and abroad is one of our highest priorities,” said Sheila Pillath, President of Rotary Club of Flagler Beach.

The reforestation project, called “Sembrando Generaciones” or “Planting Generations” involved the planting of 470 trees at Hacienda El Porvenir, in the Paramos region outside of Quito where deforestation has taken place. The total project budget was $2000, with half of the funds provided by Rotary Club of Flagler Beach and the other half provided through the matching grant.

Rotary Club of Flagler Beach’s involvement in the project was born from a contact made when Rotaract Quito Nueva Generacion’s current president, Sam Saenz, was a Rotary exchange student living in Flagler Beach and attending Flagler Palm Coast High School in 2012. As current president of her local Rotaract Club, Saenz contacted Rotarians in Flagler Beach for help with the reforestation project. Rotaract is a Rotary-affiliated club for people ages 18-30. Thus, the name of the project has a two-fold meaning regarding Rotary’s new generation and environmental protection for the next generation.

The Paramos region supplies drinking water to Quito, Ecuador, pop. 3 million. Since deforestation affects water yield, planting trees helps counteract the negative impacts of human actions on the natural environment and positively impacts slope stabilization of the nearby Cotopaxi Volcano. The trees also provide natural habitat for the fox, deer, horses and other animals that live in the area.