The winner of the European Tree of the Year 2014 was announced yesterday, 19 March at the European Parliament in Brussels at a ceremony organized under the patronage of Mr Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, and Mr Pavel Poc, Member of the European Parliament.
Unlike other contests, the focus of this award was on the stories of the trees and their link with communities living around them rather than their age, beauty or height. Ten trees from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, and Wales were in the running for first place, but it was The Old Elm tree from Bulgaria that managed to gain the most votes (77526 votes in total) and win the first prize. Second place went to The Giant Wild Pear of Gödöllő (Hungary), and the Wybicki Oak at Będomin (Poland) came in third.
IUCN Director-General Julia Marton-Lefèvre was at the ceremony to hand over the second place award. In her speech to the audience she emphasized IUCN’s support for the annual European Tree contest and the importance of protecting trees not only in Europe, but all over the world.
Luc Bas, Director of IUCN European Union Representative Office, who also attended the event, stated that “Contests like the European Tree of the Year play an important role in highlighting the natural and historical legacy of trees that deserves more attention and better protection. Raising awareness of these kinds of issues is an important part of our mission to influence and encourage society to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature”.
For more information and pictures about the European Tree of the Year contest visit the official website or contact Andrea Krůpová, European Tree of the Year coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org, T + 420 515 903 131.