SPLIT, 15 July 2020 – Volunteers over the next six weeks from various parts of Croatia will water tens of thousands of seedlings planted in the vicinity of Split as part of the campaign Boranka – the largest afforestation volunteer action.
In the past two years, scouts and other volunteers of the Boranka campaign, more than 6,200 of them, have planted more than 65,000 trees in seedlings, seeds and acorns with the help of Croatian Forests in areas in Dalmatia damaged by devastating fires. Boranka thus became the largest volunteer action of afforestation because of fires, not only in Croatia but in the whole of Europe.
Long dry periods and reduced rainfall during the year are a major obstacle to the survival of planted seedlings. Climate change is causing increasing weather extremes, but also a general increase in temperature, which in itself reduces the likelihood of seedlings being successful. According to the profession, without watering, a total of 20-30% of planted seedlings will survive only. Periodic watering, especially in dry periods, the probability of seedling survival rises to as much as 70-80%.
Precisely for this reason, and in order for the results of planting in the Boranka campaign to be much more effective, the Croatian Scout Association launched the project “Be my water”, as a kind of upgrade of the Boranka campaign. The project was approved for co-financing through the European Solidarity Force program through the Agency for Mobility and EU programs. The aim of the European Solidarity Force is to enable more young people to take part in a wide range of activities through volunteering or internships and employment, in order to contribute to resolving difficult situations across the European Union, with a view to strengthening solidarity.
Approved European funds will enable the arrival of a total of about a hundred volunteers from various parts of Croatia who will water the seedlings in the vicinity of Split and Solin for two-week periods. In addition to volunteer watering actions, volunteers will participate in numerous other educational activities on the topic of environmental protection and nature conservation.
The first group of volunteers, consisting of scouts and other young volunteers from Slavonia, Zagreb and Split, have already arrived in Split and started watering the seedlings. Watering actions are carried out in cooperation with Croatian Forests, whose experts educate volunteers, help with transport, procurement of irrigation equipment, delivery of water for irrigation and supervision of the activities themselves.
In addition to Croatian Forests, the project is being carried out in cooperation with the Directorate of Civil Protection, which has provided protective and other equipment. As noted by the Croatian Scout Association, the protection and health of volunteers come first, especially now in the age of coronavirus. Therefore, all precautions are taken to reduce the risks of infection.
Raiffeisen Bank employees, which is one of the sponsors of the “Be My Water” project and the main sponsor of the Boranka campaign, have joined and will be involved in the watering of seedlings.
“We continue to water this project! Last year we rolled up our sleeves, put up with cramps in our hands and started planting different seedlings to contribute to the afforestation action. With this, we want to show that Boranka is an important and sustainable project for us in which we can preserve nature through concrete actions and return to it what she gave us,” said Sara Foršek, Sustainability Officer at Raiffeisen Bank.
After the completion of watering actions, which will last until the end of August, a new season of the Boranka campaign and new actions of afforestation of fires in the vicinity of Split will start in the fall. According to the Croatian Scout Association, they are looking forward to the continuation of activities and can hardly wait to see the new forests that will be cover the fire-damaged areas.