German Avenue of the Year won the trees in North Rhine-Westphalia, Thuringia and Saxony
GERMANY/CZECH REPUBLIC - 17 December 2013
The Avenue of the Year competition (www.alejroku.cz) project is not only popular in the Czech Republic. It was modelled after a competition that was started five years ago in neighbouring Germany. This year like the previous, the local organisation BUND (Union for the environment and nature conservation Germany) searched for the tree-lined path or road. This year it was titled “Avenue – A Living Space”. The jury selected three winners for the year 2013 from more than 160 entries.
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