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Murray Journal

Murray’s Germania Park is getting shadier—thanks to volunteers planting trees

Oct 01, 2022 08:05PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Rotarians from as far away as Mexico descended upon Murray’s Germania Park to help plant dozens of trees along the Jordan River Parkway. The Murray Rotary Club, TreeUtah, and the JKS Foundation collaborated in providing trees and muscle power to plant them in Murray City’s Germania Park (5243 Murray Parkway Ave.) on Sept. 10.

Murray Mayor Brett Hales said, “Murray is proud to be a ‘Tree City USA.’ Trees add so much value and beauty for many years. We are so grateful for the efforts of Murray Rotary Club and TreeUtah and the Sorenson Family for helping us with this effort.”

One of Rotary International’s areas of focus is the environment. Rotary District Governor Jose Velasco encouraged the 45 Rotary Clubs in Utah to plant trees this year. Murray Rotarian Jerry Summerhays applied to the Joe and Kathleen Sorenson (JKS) Legacy Foundation for funds to plant trees and was awarded $100,000 for 24 Utah Rotarian Clubs. Along with the $10,000 from the JKS Legacy Foundation, Murray Rotary contributed $5,000 to Murray’s specific project. Murray Parks Superintendent Bruce Holyoak chose to plant trees along the Jordan River Trail as Murray’s contribution to the Get to the River Festival.

The JKS Legacy Foundation is a nonprofit corporation established by Joseph Sorenson and his wife Kathleen to promote charitable, artistic, religious, educational, literary and scientific endeavors. The foundation aims to help individuals and organizations lift themselves and provide sustainable growth.

This event attracted help all the way from Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. In Rotary, they do Friendship Exchanges. Last winter, 15 Utah Rotarians spent a week in Sonora, Mexico, participating in several service projects. It just happened to be the week Velasco hosted 11 Puerto Peñasco Rotarians who participated in Murray’s project.

“The volunteers split up into groups according to their families and friends,” Summerhays said. “They all were having fun. The ground where each tree was placed varied tremendously. One group of Murray Rotarians had to use a pick to dig the entire hole. But they got it done and placed the tree bag, which Murray City will regularly fill to be sure it flourishes.”

TreeUtah provided the trees and the expertise on how to plant them. In addition, TreeUtah works with students, municipalities, local businesses, community groups and volunteers to plant trees in public spaces throughout the state.

“TreeUtah is grateful to work with partners Murray Rotary Club and Murray City to plant trees with volunteers that will provide cooling shade and other health benefits to the community for generations to come,” said TreeUtah Executive Director Amy May. 

May’s organization plants large trees in public spaces throughout Utah, including city parks and school playgrounds. This program works to build public awareness of the value of urban forests and of the need for maintained, healthy urban forests.

Community groups or businesses can get involved by sponsoring a group tree planting. For areas outside of the urbanized Wasatch Front, TreeUtah has a Tree Planting Grant Program. This grant allows rural communities to beautify the environment around them.

“At a later date, there will be plantings of 10 trees at Murray High, 10 trees at Cottonwood High, and five fruit trees at the Murray Park Church of Christ Food Pantry. Remarkably, due to the generosity of the Joe and Kathleen Sorenson Legacy Foundation, there will be similar tree plantings organized by Rotary Clubs in parks, schoolyards, and community orchards in 22 other cities from Logan to St. George. Again, the expertise of TreeUtah helps us achieve high success rates,” Summerhays said.

Murray Rotary’s motto is “Fun with a Purpose.” More information about the Murray Rotary Club can be found online at TreeUtah can be contacted at Joe and Kathleen Sorenson Legacy Foundation information can be found at