Today was our 2nd annual Tu B'Shvat community tree planting project. Our synagogue has teamed up with the City of Modesto to help plant trees to make our community a better place. The City chooses parks that are in need of trees and then we help to purchase the trees to plant in the parks. The city then helps by loosening up the dirt for us to dig the holes, they tell us about the trees that will be planted, give us helpful planting tips and then when we finish planting the trees, they tie the trees to support stakes and water the trees.
Last year, the park we planted in was in serious need of trees - there were none to start with! This year, it was exactly the opposite. We went to Beard Brook Park, one of the oldest parks in town. One kid, upon his arrival at the park said "Why are we here? This park already has trees!" The city told us that there were many trees in the park but they were mostly along the perimeter of the park or on the edge of the river. We were there to plant trees in areas where people would gather to play, eat and have fun in the summer. The trees were for new shady areas. Several years ago, we had a big flood. Many of the shade trees that the park had were destroyed in the flood.
Today's outing in the park was wonderful. After opening statements from our activity director and a City official, we all gathered to plant the first tree together and say the Schehecheyanu. We then spread out and planted 18 other trees. When we were done, we gathered again for a light lunch and the kids got to play in the park.
I love this event. Everyone comes out to this event, young and old. It is great fun. it's a mitzvah and a wonderful way to work towards Tikkun Olam.
Click here to find out more about Tu B'Shvat, the New Year of Trees.