Rotary Club of New Braunfels Helps Plant Trees in Mexican Town | Community Alert

The Rotary Club of New Braunfels’ latest international humanitarian project took club members to Zacoalco de Torres, Mexico, where, with the help of the Rotary Club of Zacoalco, they planted 7,000 trees.

The club distributed fruit trees, shade trees and forest trees over several weeks to households, schools and even a recreation park and planted them in hopes of protecting the soil which tends to wash away. by the lack of an adequate drainage system in the city. .

Although planting trees does not bring immediate benefits, in the future the city will be able to use the resources provided by trees, such as wood, which is a staple food for Zacoalco de Torres, the old primary industry – furniture, said Alex Ozuna, a project liaison for the Rotary Club of New Braunfels.

“This particular project has become of particular interest because Rotary has been very involved over the past two years in protecting the environment,” Ozuna said. “When the club in Mexico, Zacoalco (de Torres), the Rotary club there said they wanted to do a reforestation project, we thought it would be a great project to do.”

Even before his time with the Rotary Club of New Braunfels, Ozuna had dedicated his time to projects that benefit the community of Zacoalco de Torres. He has worked closely with the city for 15 years and over that time has established a relationship with the locals and his Rotary club.

“We’ve had this fellowship, this partnership with the Rotary Clubs of Zacoalco de Torres for many years now,” Ozuna said. “When I moved here from California six years ago, I presented this project to the club and they accepted it and it grew.”

Ozuna’s past trips, which usually take place during the fall months, have taken members of the Rotary Club of New Braunfels to Zacoalco de Torres where they have distributed wheelchairs and worked on water fountain projects with the schools.

This time around, the group considered the city’s rainy season when planning the project and decided to schedule the project for May and June so the newly planted trees could thrive without being constantly watered, said Ozuna.

In addition to the planting, city volunteers, including children, and members of the two Rotary clubs created the Rotary Park, which is shaped like a rotating wheel. The team completed some of the early stages of realizing the design by planting grass and trees around the park’s recreation center.

Each year the Rotary Club of New Braunfels dedicates time to international projects and given the relationship between the New Braunfels club and the Zacoalco de Torres club, the Charitable Giving Committee has provided funding for the project.

When the projects began, Ozuna struggled to find volunteers for the projects, but as the projects progressed from year to year, Rotarians volunteered by the dozens, so much so that Ozuna had to reduce the list for the last project.

A committed and enthusiastic Rotarian made some of the planned trips and participated in this year’s projects in Zacoalco de Torres.

“Every time (Ozuna) says we’re making plans, I’m like, set me up,” said Joyce Yannuzzi, a longtime member of the Rotary Club of New Braunfels and chair of current programs. “I love going there, it’s a great opportunity to help out, and it makes you realize how lucky we are as Americans and living with the luxuries we have when you go to a country. who has none.”

Another Rotarian who participated in the project was Norma Blackwell, who, as an immigrant from Mexico and a native Spanish speaker, was able to translate for the people of Zacoalco de Torres. For Blackwell, the experience was powerful and brought back tons of memories of growing up in Mexico.

“We didn’t have opportunities (like these) back then,” Blackwell said. “So I think giving them back the experience that I didn’t have at the time helps me. I would like them to experience that.”