Poland: They planted, planted and planted…. 280 thousand trees!
Last Saturday, the final of the 'Do planting' campaign initiated by Torus in 2019 took place. In the 8-hectare area of the Lipusz Forest District affected by the storm in 2017, the participants planted 80,000 young trees, which will grow into a beautiful forest. In total, over 280,000 seedlings were planted in all editions of the campaign. The strategic partner of the event was the Regional Directorate of State Forests in Gdańsk.
"Each edition of this action was unique, it released incredible energy in people and was accompanied by a lot of positive emotions. The action of 'Do planting' ends in its forest dimension, but we now want to try to transfer this idea, in a slightly different form, to the urban landscape. Micro city forests, new park spaces, more greenery in the place where we live every day - this is certainly something worth working on and, as in this case, involving business," said Sławomir Gajewski, president of Torus.
Over 800 people - employees of companies from the Tri-City, friends and even families with young children - decided to spend their Saturday day planting trees, recreating the forest, which will only show its full charm in several dozen years. After short speeches and instructing the foresters, the crowds moved to the sectors that had been prepared for them in advance. The staffs moved, one opening after the other - at the right distance, of course, seedling after seedling. "People from the city" once again surprised the foresters with the efficiency of their work, because in just a few hours they afforested an area of 8 hectares, using 80 thousand. seedlings.
"The weather was phenomenal for us. Being here together in the forest, supporting the foresters in making the trees and forests grow upwards, is the most important thing. In 2017, I was in the epicenter of this storm in Żelewiec near Lipusz. For me, each tree planted in this area now has a special dimension - it is a taste of life and joy. At this point, special tribute should be paid to the people of these areas, both local residents and foresters, because it was mainly on their shoulders to clean and restore the forests in this area. There is a lot of talk now about children and young people staying outside, more contact with nature, and I think that this action responds well to this need. We all have to make sure that future generations can grow up in an even more beautiful world," said Michał Szczepański, Coordinator of Natural Sciences at the Gdańsk Educational Publishing House.
"Our responsibility largely applies to activities related to the care for the natural environment and education in the field of counteracting climate change. Active participation in the 'Do planting' event fits perfectly into our strategy. We cannot forget about people without whom such initiatives would not have an important added value - that is, a committed and sensitive community among employees. Responsible companies are those in which employees want to co-create and develop on many levels," said Mario Zamarripa, Director of Sustainable Development at Ergo Hestia.
In total, about 3,150 people from over 50 companies participated in all editions of the 'Do planting' campaign. A total of 280,000 trees were planted, afforestation of a post-hurricane area of nearly 30 ha.
"We like to get involved in such actions. We have just published another annual report on the activities of our company and we care about such ecological activities, thanks to which we can really support the natural environment. This is a strong motivation, but the whole event is also a nice, friendly family happening, and we, as a family business, suit this solution very much," said Katarzyna Rachwalska-Groning, Employer Branding Specialist at LPP.
For the State Forests, the action brought a double benefit - support in forest restoration, but also broad awareness and education of the society in the field of foresters' work and the functioning of nature in its natural surroundings.
"It is a great privilege that we can host so many people on our territory. For us, for foresters, the educational and social dimension of this action is extremely valuable. The State Forests carry out their statutory activity, but the renewal carried out in cooperation with companies is a very important element - in this way we make people aware of the importance of caring for nature, for forests, which are, after all, for all of us," said Jan Kowalke, Forest Service Specialist, Lipusz Forest District.
Not only local Tri-City companies, but also entities from other parts of the country joined the action.
"We came here for the third time with a strong team of developers from all over Poland to plant trees together. There is power, there is strength and I am convinced that in a few dozen years a beautiful forest will grow in this place, because we want to jointly create green places where it is pleasant to live," said Ewa Andrzejewska, who is the general director of the Polish Association of Developers.
One of the most important distinguishing features of young trees is the fact that they absorb and store carbon, which is being talked about more and more often in the context of the climate problems of our planet. Young trees, in the phase of intensive growth, accumulate the most of it by incorporating it into their tissues, and scientific research shows that it is up to 33% of all carbon bound by forests. Older stands or those growing in densities, which have a limited possibility of growth, absorb much less of it. In addition to storing coal, a young forest is also a refuge for animals or a way to protect the soil against matter being blown away (this phenomenon was very intense after the storm in the Lipusz Forest District), and by shading the soil, it is also a way to store water. In this context, it is worth noting that the pruning of adult trees, 20-30 years old, made by the State Forests, is thinning.
The 'Do nasadzenia' campaign not only involved the business community, but also inspired other companies.
"In this edition, we planted trees on a difficult, hilly terrain, but we did not lack motivation. I am glad that we got such a positive response from many companies and people. For some of them, joining such an action was something natural, we created an additional field for CSR activities, but there were also entities that clearly managed to inspire more activity in this field - companies from even other parts of the country are calling and asking about our experiences because they would also like to get involved, do something useful. This wonderful story will therefore be continued," sums up Monika Brzozowska, acting marketing director at Torus.