“Tree Day” for the first time in Bielsko

October 10 has been celebrated as Tree Day for several years and not only in Poland but throughout the world. It is organized by schools and ecological associations. This year the Bielsko forest inspectorate has joined this tree-planting campaign for the first time. Bielsko started a few days earlier, on October 3, and will plant about 15,000 trees.

About 10,000 plants were provided by Gaja Club, which has been carrying out tree plantings in Poland since 2003. Tree Day is based on local activity, primarily by youth, as well as representatives of various institutions, local communities, local government, business, and non-government organizations. “It happened for the first time that plants were donated directly by a few companies whose activities are harmful for the environment and especially forests,” forest ranger Hubert Kobarski told Radio Katowice. This year the Tree Day project involves 3,500 schools from throughout Poland.

It is not only an ecological campaign that encourages the preservation of trees and forests. Its main message is peace and its slogan – “Let’s plant a tree for peace” – already has reached 35 countries. They include Poland, Czech Republic, Colombia, Pakistan, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Japan, Great Britain, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and India. “Peace is one of the most precious of human values,” the Gaja Club said. “We hear each day of the misfortunes that befall people because of wars and acts of terrorism. Sometimes we think that we cannot do anything about it, but our lives depend upon the attitude we adopt.

That is why it is important that we are able to preserve our natural resources and environment for future generations.” One may ask: How can planting trees contribute to peace in the world? Well, say Gaja ecologists, “if we are able to encourage kids from other countries and continents to join the campaign of Tree Day, this holiday will gain not only ecological but pacific character as well. If kids all over the world do the same thing, which means planting trees, they won’t feel either better or worse, either rich or poor, black or white, Christian or Muslim. By ingraining this way of thinking, maybe we will preclude the future option of wars and conflicts.”

The 2007 edition of Tree Day has been organized in cooperation with the UNEP (UN Environment Program) “Plant for the Planet: Bln Tree Campaign.” Apart from planting trees, Tree Day also includes numerous projects for the protection of the natural environment and educational activities.

There are films, meetings and talks for students. Students learn how to recognize native species of trees by analyzing the leaves, bark or buds. This year trees have been planted in the forests of the Bielsko inspectorate near Chybie and Zarzecze. “As forests in the Silesian Voivodship (province) have been ailing, we decided to focus on that area,” Gaja Club chief Jacek Bozek told the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. They inspectorate wanted to rejuvenate standing timber to make it healthy and enduring. So it has planted pine trees, oaks, sycamores, beech and larch.

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