Interesting and sometimes even touching – stories of the tree finalists of the European Tree of the Year contest 2012 show the connection between people and trees. People from all over the world can they take part in the online voting from the 1st February. Trees from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia can be supported till the 29th February on www.treeoftheyear.org. The winning tree will be awarded on a ceremony in Brussels by the organizer of the contest – Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation.
A class room, precious treasure, honorary “freeman” and a symbol of the town, silent witness of historical events, member of a family as well as a magician who can make your wishes come true – trees can mean all that to people. Stories of the finalists of the European Tree of the Year organized for the second time show the bond between the tree and a person, family, school or a whole town. A thousand year old pistacia from Corsica was saved by her owner Élise. When the neighbourhood was engulfed in flames, she asked the firemen to save the rare tree instead of her house. Hungarian lime tree is protecting the forest around as well as the Bánó family who still maintain the tradition of introducing new family members to the tree.
“We are trying to make Europeans interested in the trees around through the stories of the finalists and their connection to local history. At them same time we want to draw attention to protection of old trees and biodiversity” said the contest coordinator Hana Rambousková of the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation. People can also get to know the story of Polish Oak “Grot” which can make secret dreams come true if you put left hand on its trunk and whisper them. 700 – year old Bulgarian elm tree is also a wish tree – the legend has it that it healed a blind daughter of a local miller Dobril. The story of the Czech alley shows that trees can be a valued aid in education. The history of Slovakian lime and Romanian elm tree shows how a life of a town can be connected to the one of a tree – important agreements were made under the lime tree and the elm is the last witness of a village burning down during the revolution in 19th Century.
The competition in the European contest will be really strong, all the trees won the national contests in their countries. “Online voting will start on the 1st February and it will last till the end of the month. The voting will be secret during the last weeks so that the watchful waiting for the results is crowned with a surprise,” says Hana Rambousková. The results of the online voting will be announced on the 1st March. The award ceremony will take place in Brussels and the winner will receive a trophy by a renowned Czech artist Martin Patřičný.
The contest was organized under the patronage of Mr Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment with the financial support of the State Environmental Fund and the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic.
European Tree of the Year coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org, 00420 515 903 131, 00420 775 856 359