Category:Friendship Trees

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Friendship Trees

Orlando, FL, USA Friendship Tree planting by PRIP Paul Harris and little boy Paul Harris of Apopka, FL, USA

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.


First Friendship Tree 1931 (PRIP Sydney Pascall) The Story of the Trees Survivors of Conflict
Comely Bank (1st Tree by PRIP Paul Harris) Photos from the Harris Study


Africa Asia Australia & New Zealand
Europe Latin America North America
Rotary Peace & Friendship Monuments Friendship Gardens

"Giant Trees from Little Acorns Grow." Paul Harris, 1933, radio address from Boston

Page of Rotarian April 2007.

The fact is that Sydney Pascall, RI president in 1931, was the first president to plant a tree during a presidential visit. In 'The Rotarian' in July 1932, Sydney Pascall wrote: "Before I left London for my round of world club visitations, Paul Harris, revered founder of Rotary, suggested that a most appropriate way of symbolizing the Rotary idea would be the planting of trees.

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, 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.’"

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 (reprint from the April 2007 issue of The Rotarian, upper left). 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.

"Upon several occasions, Boards of Rotary International have extended to us invitations to visit the Rotary clubs of other counties; such invitations we have, as a rule, accepted and we have tried to make ourselves ambassadors of goodwill. With the cooperation of Rotarians and local governments, I have planted friendship trees in the parks and playgrounds on all the five continents of the world and even on some of the major islands of the seas. Our trees stood as symbols of international understanding and good-will. National and municipal governments have participated in the ceremonies incident to such plantings and monuments bearing bronze plates with appropriate inscriptions, have, in several instances, been erected. Our tree plantings are merely gestures of good-will but they are intelligible to all the citizens of the various countries whatever language they speak. (Paul P. Harris "Comely Bank" page 275 "My Road To Rotary" copyright Rotary International)*

Among the cities in which Paul Harris planted friendship trees during his travel are Berlin, Germany; Tallin, Latvia; Helsingfors, Finland; Gothenburg and Stockholm, Sweden,; Bergen, Norway; Shanghai, China; Tokyo, Japan; Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington, New Zealand; Mexico City, Mexico; Panama City; Bogotá, Colombia; Lima, Peru, Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil. (source "My Road To Rotary) Callao, Peru (Peregrinations 3 page 87)

Also, but not listed in Paul's writings, Bendigo, and Parramatta Australia; Gothenburg, Sweden; Lakeland, Florida; Long Beach, and Cathedral City California; Rumford, Maine; Charlotte, North Carolina and Aberdeen, and Mississippi.

Paul Harris in The Rotarian.... ....October 1936 on his travels and trees 1 Oct 1936 Rotarian 2 Oct 1936 Rotarian

Credit for the The Rotarian scans - Wolfgang Ziegler

Paul's Thoughts

Paul and Jean Harris

"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

"It is well that there is nothing in Rotary so sacred that it cannot be set aside in favor of things better. This is an experimental age in a changing world, and all things which are worth while and progressive are the cumulative effects of preceding successes and failures. The trees planted in Valparaiso and other cities we visited during the course of our trip presumably will stand for generations as living expressions of international peace and good will. Thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of people will rest in their grateful shade, and the eyes of most of them will be directed to the tablets bearing the message of good will.'

If we are not above indulging in flights of imagination, we may perchance find our usually staid and unemotional selves raised to a sense of exaltation as we contemplate the coming of the day when the genius of men will all be directed to constructive undertakings and the roar of cannons heard no more. merely a gesture to be sure, but dire have been the consequences of gestures of ill will and there have been an abundance of them. It is high time that there be more gestures of good will, and what better or more appropriate than the planting of trees, the living, growing hope of the realization of the highest concept known to man -- universal peace?"'

From Peregrinations, Volume III "Our Neighbors on the South" by Paul P. Harris, copyright 1937, Jean T. Harris, courtesy of the Rotary International Archives

The RGHF "Friendship Tree" Gavel.

Gavel Made from a Friendship Tree

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