Meet Tree of the Year Organizers: Klub Gaja

7/8/2022 | Kateřina Bolečková
Klub Gaja
The European Tree of the Year contest is now in its 12th year. The last edition of our competition involved 15 countries, whose national tree winners were nominated by organizations that prepare the competition with us, are in contact with local communities and it is possible to submit tree proposals to them for participation in the contest. The national organizers are the most important partners for the existence of the competition itself and for this we are very grateful.

We would be happy to introduce all of them in the coming months. We will start the series with the Polish organization Klub Gaja, which nominated Oak Dunin, winner of the European Tree of the Year 2022.
Klub Gaja
Klub Gaja is a modern Polish environmental organization which fosters the Eco21 Generation. The organization was founded in October 1988 by Jacek Bożek as an informal group. Due to restrictions on civil rights enforced by communist regime in Poland at that time the group had to maintain informal structure and to keep working underground. Nonetheless, Klub Gaja realized its first action of nature protection on 15th March 1989 to save trees from cutting. Two poplar trees were saved and they are still standing today. In 1992, the group was incorporated as Ecological Cultural Association Klub Gaja.

The mission of Klub Gaja is to protect and preserve the natural environment for us and the future generations, and also to protect the rights and welfare of animals.
Klub Gaja
For 34 years now the organization have been engaging Polish men and women in practical actions for our natural environment and animal rights. They keep stirring a public debate on what it means to be green. They consistently participate in the building of civil society, in shaping new attitudes that emphasize the importance of day-to-day choices with respect to the natural world and the animal realm.

Through their ideas and activities, they encourage cooperation between diverse social, vocational and cultural milieus, as well as create bridges linking generations of Polish people.
Klub Gaja
They pursue long-term programs and campaigns which bring specific benefits to nature and animals. Results of Klub Gaja actions include i.a.:
  • involvement of nearly 1,260,000 Poles in activities for nature and respect for animal rights (2003-2021),
  • planting over 1,000,000 trees, making nearly 1,800 shelters / nesting boxes for animals and collecting over 5,130 tons of wastepaper as part of the Tree Day programs (2003-2021),
  • participation of nearly 200,000 people and over 1,200 trees from all over Poland took in the Tree of the Year in Poland contest (2011-2021),
  • saving 60 horses that were destined for slaughter, sick or neglected and taking care of them – some through the action "Collect Wastepaper, Save Horses" (2000-2021),
  • local initiatives to adopt and protect 772 rivers and water bodies in over 1,540 locations, launched under the Adopt a River program (2005-2016),
  • provision of over 3,400 instances of citizen advice concerning environmental and animal protection issues (2009-2021),
  • establishment (2010) of Poland's biggest birds reserve “Vistula near Zawichost”,
  • enactment (1997) of an animal protection law (Ustawa o ochronie zwierząt) in Poland,
  • introduction in Poland of the Law on the protection of animals (1997) and the amendment to the Law on the protection of animals, which makes that farmed fish - including carp - are subject to the same protection as all vertebrates (2009).
Klub Gaja
In 2021 Klub Gaja started the project "Tree Day - gardens for the climate", under which an interesting educational garden is being built in Bielsko-Biała on the wasteland of the Jewish cemetery, in cooperation with the City of Bielsko-Biała and the Jewish Religious Community. They invited city residents to prepare a development concept for this place.

During the open design workshops, everyone unanimously decided that this place should be changed as little as possible in order to preserve its uniqueness - wild nature in the middle of the city. The place is not supposed to be an ordinary park like there are many in the city, but it is to be a place of contemplation and observation of the changing nature. The walking path will run along the walls surrounding this area, and the center of the garden will be inaccessible to visitors. The place was called the Secret Garden. We invite you to visit this unique place.
Klub Gaja
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