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This blog celebrates the singularities and unexpected revelations of the Balkans. That is on the good days. Other times there is just news from the 'industry' and my opinions on it.

In Macedonia? Help Plant Some Trees

March 25, 2010 • Comments Macedonia

If you happen to be anywhere in Macedonia on Tuesday, 30 March, and would like to make a positive contribution to the country's ecological future, then help out with the mass tree planting organized by the Day of the Tree (Den na Drvoto) non-governmental organization. Visitors are warmly welcome and there are organized transport and saplings for everyone.

2010 marks the third year in which the nationwide planting - aided by thousands of volunteers - ranging from school children to celebrities and politicians - is being held. The first event resulted in the planting of 2 million trees in one day, the second, an even more impressive 6 million in a single day.

Originally the idea of visionary Macedonia opera singer Boris Trajanov, the Tree Day campaign has caught on with the general population and received strong support from the government and foreign ambassadors as well. Along with the ecological benefits of reforestation in a country affected most summers by wildfires, it is a symbolic reminder in an oft-divided country that people of different ethnicities, religions and social strata can indeed get along and cooperate towards the common good.

I have supported the initiative in the past (for example, see this article, from November 2008, or this one, from March of the same year), and plan to get my hands dirty once again this Tuesday. Now that the weather is really starting to warm up, it should be a nice spring day- and a great opportunity to get out of the city, breathe in some good fresh air, and plant some trees.

Apparently, one of the stated goals of the Tree Day organizers from the beginning is starting to be realized. I'm told that ecology sponsors from other neighboring countries, as well as ecologists from elsewhere in the world, are looking to Macedonia as an example and hope to implement such activities in their own countries. In the Balkans, a region historically known more for its conflicts than its accord, such ventures are of course especially helpful.

Mr Trajanov, who revealed the newfound foreign interest to press at an official commemoration party held last week in Skopje, made some interesting comments which I was able to use in the 2009 Lonely Planet guide to the Western Balkans.

Especially important was his goal of creating 'a sustainable common future' within Macedonia and with the countries of the region. As Macedonia is banking on using its lush forests, mountains and lakes as major draws for luring foreign tourists, it is important that civil and industrial development proceed in a cautious manner and that the country's presently existing wildernesses not be lost forever.

And so, even if the Day of the Tree movement does not lead to a sea change in einvironmental policies across the world, it is significant that for at least one day many thousands of people will be made aware of the central issue- and how easy it is for them to make a tangible contribution to sustaining their country's natural beauty and ecological balance.


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The entries in the blogs section are published as received, without any input by the BalkanTravellers editorial team. The posts represent the opinions of their authors and should not be construed to reflect the opinions of the editorial team of Read more about the editorial policy of

Christopher Deliso

Christopher Deliso

Chris is an American travel writer and journalist, author of travel guides on the Balkans for Lonely Planet, and travel articles for Travel Intelligence and Hidden Europe Magazine. He is the director of the Balkan news website