"Consistent protection of the avenues is complicated not only because of many myths surrounding them, but also because the awareness of the road administration of the location and health state of the trees in the avenues is very deficient. We want to help the road workers and also the drivers, tourists and the nature by developing a procedure how to map the avenues in collaboration with university specialists. Students then can help us locate the avenues in the countryside and evaluate their health states. Tourists and people who set off for trips to the Czech countryside can help for example by taking pictures of the avenues during their stroll and then they will nominate it for The Avenue of the Year," says Martin Skalský of Arnika, the head of the project.
At this moment, the proceedings on the participation of scientists and students for example of Ostrava University have already begun, the meetings with the road workers, conservationists and Nature Conservation Agency workers are in progress, too. The project will also help particular avenues in the countryside; the non-governmental organization along with its partners choose those avenues, which need to be treated or need to have their gaps filled where there are missing trees, perhaps even such a place, where it would be appropriate to plant out a wholly new avenue.
"Not only people from the Zlín Region can appeal to Zlín advisory centre, but also people from neighbouring regions will have the opportunity. It will specialize in helping people who will appeal to the centre, when they find out the intention of the tree felling or felling in progress and they will want to save the trees. For man and nature every tree is important, whether it stands alone or in an avenue, and our goal is to protect them," Vendula Záhumenská, the collaborator of Arnika who will coordinate the operation of the centre, adds.
Arnika is also looking for partners for following years of the traditional The Avenue of the Year inquiry, PhDr. Přemek Podlaha, a host, PhDr. Marie Hrušková, a writer or RNDr. Václav Větvička, a populariser of science and the former director of the Prague Botanic Garden, belong to the patrons of the project.
Arnika has been monitoring the threat to the avenues for several years. It initiated the "Let's Save the Trees" petition, which demanded a better law protection of the avenues and trees in the countryside and in towns. The petition has been supported by more than 32,000 people. Thanks to them the amendment of the act was enforced and the exception which enabled the road workers to fell the trees without any permission was cancelled. Arnika also created the first nationwide statistic and pointed out that during last few years more than 100,000 trees disappeared from the roads in the Czech Republic. In collaboration with Palacký University in Olomouc, Arnika created the first regional database of avenues, which is also available as a tourist map. Due to dozens of volunteers, Arnika has provided hundreds of trees with reflective paint stripes in several avenues to increase the drivers' safety.
Supported by the Swiss Contribution Programme