Bulgaria's Forest Week 2024 Begins with Nationwide Special Events

Society » ENVIRONMENT | Author: Diana Kavardzhikova |April 1, 2024, Monday // 11:09
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Forest Week 2024 Begins with Nationwide Special Events

In a tradition dating back over a century, the Forestry College's "Forest Week" commences once again, this time under the inspiring motto:  "Forest is life and ... common responsibility!". From April 1 to 7, enthusiasts, experts, and families alike will gather to celebrate and honor the vital role of forests in our lives and the collective responsibility we share in their preservation.

The prestigious municipality of Sliven proudly hosts this year's national opening ceremony on April 1, at the "Sliven" hall, commencing at 11 a.m. The event promises to be a grand affair, with representatives from the Forestry Executive Agency spearheading the festivities.

Exciting and educational activities await young nature lovers, with a lineup of games led by experts from the Directorate of the Blue Stones Nature Park, the Regional Directorate of Forestry - Sliven, and the State Forestry - Sliven. A tent, stationed for three days in front of the Sliven Regional Administration from April 30 to May 1, will serve as the hub of engagement.

As a gesture of goodwill, 2,500 saplings of various tree species including sycamore, mahalebka, black pine, and red oak will be distributed free of charge to guests and residents of Sliven, courtesy of the forestry employees of the Southeast State Enterprise and State Forestry - Sliven.

For the youngest nature enthusiasts and their families, the North Central State Enterprise's educational van invites participation in engaging games from March 30 to April 1. Positioned at the "Dobri Zhelyazkov" square in front of the NTS shopping center, the mobile van promises a blend of fun and learning.

The Municipality of Sliven will orchestrate a heartwarming concert on April 1, featuring children from the region performing on an open stage in front of the Municipal building.

Throughout Forest Week, a plethora of events will be organized by forest structures in collaboration with partners, industry players, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, volunteers, and journalists across various regions. The complete program can be accessed on the official website of the Forestry Executive Agency and individual sites of the six state forest enterprises.

History of the holiday

The efforts towards restoring, managing, and safeguarding Bulgarian forests commenced shortly after the country's Liberation in 1878. Initially, security units consisting of foot and mounted forest guards were established by the newly formed state, under local administrations. A significant change occurred on July 5, 1879, with the establishment of the independent "Forest Supervision" within the Department for State Properties and Minerals at the Ministry of Finance, marking the inception of state forestry services in Bulgaria.

In 1883, the Ministry of Education issued directives to all schools nationwide to establish nurseries. Responding promptly to this call, Nikola Vasilev, a teacher from Lovech, opened the first nursery in the "Kuklata" area above the town. Here, children were taught sapling production, which culminated in the reforestation of the Stratesh area in 1898. This initiative inspired other notable educators, including Neiko Azmanov and Ivan Jartazanov from Koprivshtitsa, who alongside their students, planted the first conifer saplings around their school in 1901, subsequently reforesting barren plains in the city three years later.

In 1905, active and purposeful efforts began to control torrential rivers and ravines and to reforest the millions of acres of bare and eroded terrain existing in every settlement.

On April 12, 1925, the Ministry of Public Education and the Ministry of Agriculture and State Estates jointly sanctioned a Reforestation Holiday, which later evolved into "Forest Week." This significant day saw a prayer service held at the temple monument "St. Alexander Nevsky," followed by the reforestation of 420,000 forest saplings and 20 kg of seeds in Sofia's parks and outskirts. The Forestry Act of the same year formalized the afforestation holiday, emphasizing the annual allocation of at least two days for afforestation and forest crop work. Additionally, it mandated the organization of a Reforestation Festival each spring, engaging students, teachers, the army, and laborers.

The proposal to extend the Reforestation Holiday to a week-long celebration was first put forth in the pages of the magazine "Forest Review" in 1934 and subsequently implemented from April 15th to 22nd of the same year, as reminded by the Executive Forest Agency.

Since 1937, the Reforestation Holiday (April 4-11) has been commemorated according to a program endorsed by the Minister of Agriculture and State Properties, incorporating various forms of advocacy for the preservation and sustainable use of Bulgarian forests. Despite interruptions in the holiday's observance during the Second World War, its significance endured.

In 1956, Forest Week was reinstated by a Council of Ministers decision on February 4th, mandating its annual observance during the first full week of April.

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Tags: week, conservation, celebration, forestry

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