By awarding the Avenue of the Year prize the BUND looks to point out the issue of tree-lined roads. It is not only an issue in Germany but also in the Czech Republic. Avenues are not only cultural monuments. They also filter pollutants from air, are a biotope and also function as a sanctuary for endangered animal species. As such they significantly aid the environmental preservation effort. Tree-lined roads are a typical element of the Czech and Central European landscape and they have a spectrum of other functions.
First place belongs to North Rhine-Westphalia
The winning photograph taken by Thomas Ulrich shows a linden avenue. Most of the trees are around 150 years old. The avenue was photographed in August in the town Schlangen-Oesterholz am Teutoburger Wald in North Rhine-Westphalia. It is an example of the significance of old roads for biodiversity. The avenue gives flowers shade and functions as a sanctuary of various species of bats, birds and insects. The avenue leads along the paved road through a military training area, which should not be a reason for its destruction. The area should become a part of the Senne-Egge national park once the limits of the training area are changed.
Second place belongs to Thuringia: An avenue in Kefferhausen
Edgar Weidemann of Heiligenstadt came second with his photograph of a well-preserved rowan avenue near Kefferhausen in Thuringia. The overall harmonic look of the photograph of the more than a 100 year old avenue convinced the jury. The thriving underbrush offers a sanctuary to the local insects, amphibians, small mammals and endangered plants in the surrounding agricultural landscape.
Third place belongs to Saxony: Avenue in Chemnitz
Avenue in the town of Chemnitz took third place. The author is Elinor Matschewsky. The plane-tree avenue is endangered by the construction of a tram corridor. They are approximately 40 year old trees and as such could be improving the local surroundings for at least 100 more years. For this reason there is a debate to alter the course of the tram corridor. A local organisation is doing its best to protect the avenue.
Supported by a grant from Switzerland through the Swiss Contribution to the enlarged European Union and the German Federal Environmental Foundation. www.swisscontribution.admin.ch