European Tree of the Year celebrates ten years

From Irish rocks to the Russian steppe.
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When the Czech nature conservationists organized the first year of the Tree of the Year contest in 2000, few could imagine that two decades later, hundreds of thousands of people would be spreading their idea across Europe. The idea of searching for and celebrating trees with the most interesting stories has crossed national borders in just the past ten years. Nevertheless, more than 3.3 million people have become involved in the search for the European Tree of the Year since then, from Ireland to the Russian Federation. Moreover, no less than 1,100 trees and the communities around them have been involved with the national competitions. The search for a wooden charmer of the year has even transcended the oceans to Canada and Australia. The anniversary of the idea that conquers the world is now commemorated by the website www.treeoftheyear.org/anniversary.


The idea of organizing the competition for the most attractive tree was born in Brno, Czech Republic, in 2000. The poll reanimates an elder idea of the beautification associations in the former Czechoslovakia. Due to the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation, the contest quickly gains popularity and becomes a nationwide event. The first national winner of 2002 – The Ash from Popovice – and the most recent of 2019 – Chudonín Pine – are symbolically linked with the stories of two villages that disappeared. The former was lost due to the German displacement in Czechoslovakia, followed by the other a few years later due to the construction of the dam.

The popularity of the contest is growing at such a pace that in 2010, five Central European states organized their own Tree of the Year competition for the first time. The Romanian lime tree in Leliceni became the first European winner. In the years to come, the idea of competing trees gradually attracted the organizers of Quebec, Canada, Australia, Victoria and the states of Asia.

Now the European Tree of the Year, with sixteen countries onboard, remains the largest and most visible celebration of the beauty and importance of trees as well as the stories linked to them. Right now, European residents can pick the winner of the tenth annual year at www.treeoftheyear.org. Voting is open until the end of February. The jubilee title will be handed over to the winning tree on March 17 at the European Parliament in Brussels, where the national organizers come together to celebrate trees once again.

Standings in the European Tree of the Year contest will become secret as the vote enters its final phase — from 23rd to 29th February. This way, fans and supporters will not know the winner until the final announcement is made. Winners will be honored at the Award Ceremony hosted by MEPs Luděk Niedermayer and Michal Wiezik at the European Parliament in Brussels on March 17th.

Media Contacts:
Josef Jary, Communication officer josef.jary@nap.cz — (+32) 493 84 35 01
Andrea Krupova, Contest coordinator: andrea.krupova@nap.cz — (+420) 515 903 13
 
PR on 10th ETY Anniversary attached below the article
 
 
The Environmental Partnership Association (EPA) is a leading environmental organization established for almost 30 years in Central and Eastern Europe. With a team of 80 employees, the EPA operates in 6 countries via its 6-member foundations in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The EPA boasts 30-years of experience in project coordination and carrying out activities oriented to changing people’s mind-sets in order to protect and improve the environment.
www.environmentalpartnership.org
 
The European Landowners' Organization (ELO), created in 1972, is a unique federation of national associations from the 28 EU Member States and beyond, which represents the interests of landowners, land managers and rural entrepreneurs at the European political level. Independent and non-profit making, the ELO is the only organization able to stand for all rural entrepreneurs. The ELO promotes a prosperous countryside through private property dynamism. Its Secretariat is based in Brussels
www.europeanlandowners.org
 
The European Tree of the Year is a contest that highlights the significance of trees in the natural and cultural heritage of Europe and the importance of the ecosystem services trees provide. The contest is not looking for the most beautiful tree, but for a tree with a story, a tree rooted in the lives and work of the people and the community that surrounds it.
www.treeoftheyear.org

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