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Arizona Sikhs give 550 trees for Phoenix neighborhoods

In this April 9, 2017 photo, Balbir Singh Pahwa, right, of the Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh house of worship, shows respect for the holy scripture by waving a fan above Satinder Kaur, center, as she leads a prayer recital at the temple, in Hicksville, N.Y. The beards and turbans are symbols of equality in a religion that opposes India's caste system. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Posted at 11:36 AM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 13:36:13-05

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Sikh Community has donated 550 trees to low-income Phoenix neighborhoods.

Local Sikh leaders gathered Sunday with Mayor Kate Gallego and other officials for a tree dedication ceremony.

Planting of elm, Arizona ash and other drought resistant trees has already started in some downtown neighborhoods.

The gift worth about $68,000 is part of a worldwide observance of the birth anniversary of Sikh religion founder Guru Nanak, who was born in 1469. There were similar tree-planting campaigns in countries including Germany, Canada and Myanmar earlier this year.

More trees are especially welcome in Phoenix, which suffers from an urban heat island effect that raises already high temperatures in areas covered by heat-retaining asphalt and concrete.

Phoenix has planted thousands of trees in recent years in hopes of offsetting the effects.