Nonprofit offers free tree planting for those who get COVID-19 vaccine

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Posted at 10:39 AM, Feb 16, 2021

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A retired San Diego physician is introducing a unique way to promote the COVID-19 vaccine. He and a group of philanthropists are pledging to plant a tree in honor of anyone who gets vaccinated.

For his entire career, Dr. Sol Lizerbram has worked in the health care industry. First, he was a family physician, and now he is the founder of a software company that helps medical offices with coding.

"I took an oath when I became a physician to promote health care," Dr. Lizerbram said.

So, when the COVID-19 vaccines became available, he got an idea.

"If you get your vaccine, we want to reward you with a beautiful certificate of a tree that is planted in Israel," Dr. Lizerbram said.

Dr. Lizerbram is also the president of the Jewish National Fund. The nonprofit organization has a long-running tree planting program. Most people pay to get a tree planted to honor a loved one or for special occasions like a bar mitzvah. But now, he and a group of philanthropists are extending the program to anyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine, free of charge.

"A tree is a great symbol of life," Dr. Lizerbram said. "We know that trees promote health, they cleanse the air, they provide oxygen, they filter pollutants. So, it ties together the promotion of health and the environment."

The process is simple. Head to the Jewish National Fund website. Scroll down to the "Plant Trees" icon. In the drop-down menu, select "If you've been vaccinated," and enter your information.

Over the years, Jewish National Fund has planted 240 million trees worldwide, many here in San Diego. Dr. Lizerbram says you do not have to be Jewish to participate. He hopes this encourages more people to get the vaccine and achieve herd immunity.

"As a community, it doesn't matter what religion you are, or any other demographic," Dr. Lizerbram said. "This is a way of getting your vaccine, is a way of promoting health. Planting trees is a way of community involvement and also promoting health."

This story was originally published by Rina Nakano at KGTV.