Bright and early, one Saturday morning, SSIO members of the Beaverton Sai Center joined the Friends of Trees organization in celebrating the Jewish festival, Tu B'Shevat (pronounced TOO-BISH-VAT) by planting trees in Cook Park in the city of Tigard. 

The day began with an informative talk about Native American traditions by Portland State University Professor of Indigenous Studies, Judy Bloom. The talk was immediately followed by a beautiful Jewish faith prayer expressing gratitude for the precious element of water. And then SSIO members were off to the planting grounds of Cook Park!

It was a beautiful day with clear skies, and the sun shone brightly as SSIO members met with volunteers from the Friends of Trees. The volunteers instructed SSIO members on how to plant the Indian plum tree, a native tree that was important to the indigenous Kalapuya Tribe. SSIO members worked in pairs as they tackled the task before them. Working steadily over the course of four hours, they ended up planting about 250 trees! By the end of the day, they were dirty and exhausted but felt immensely gratified that they had done their part to save the planet.

The cultivation of social consciousness is very important. Man cannot live in isolation like a drop of oil in water. He is a product of society. He has to live in it, grow with it and work for it. One must join others in common tasks and contribute one's strength and skill to the common pool. A single thin string cannot bind even an ant, but hundreds of them twisted into a rope can hold back an elephant. This is the effect of united effort. It is a desirable trait to work for a common cause with others in co-operation.

Sathya Sai Baba