Prague - There are millions of trees growing in the Czech Republic, yet only twelve of them made it to the shortlist for the annual "Tree of the Year" contest, held by Nadace Partnerství (Partnership Foundation).
"With our contest we want to draw attention to the value of trees for the environment. We want to make people interested in the environment they live in and last, but not least, we want to support planting new trees," competition organizer Pavlína Binková said.
People can choose their own Tree of the Year 2008 by voting via SMS or email until October 10. Last year, more than 60,000 people voted in the contest.
Independently of the contest, Aktuálně.cz has prepared its own The Tree of the Year contest for its readers.
Some of the twelve trees that have been shortlisted have a remarkable history.
Jan Žižka's oak tree proudly standing in Vysočina Region in south-east part of the country is believed to be the tree under which the famous 15th century general and leader of the Hussite movement rested in 1422 when hiding from King Sigismund´s troops.
Žižka was involved in warfare with King Sigismund, king of Germany and Hungary, who invaded Bohemia and claimed the crown of Bohemia. Today, Žižka´s oak tree is 13 meters high.
The lime-tree of Jesuit priest Jan Gurre in a village of Římov in south Bohemia is 680 years old and was planted at the time of King of Bohemia Charles IV. After the tree was struck by lightning, some of its branches died but miraculously, it managed to survive.
The lime-tree under the Ticholovec hill near the town of Pilsen in west Bohemia witnessed the killing of French troops that were on their way home in 1742 by hussars. The locals buried the French, erected a cross and planted the Ticholovec lime-tree.
Another tree - Sorbus domestica - in a small town of Josefov in south Moravia, was supposed to be cut down together with hundreds of other trees as part of the land reallotment scheme that took place in the 1950s.
A local farmer Štěpán Lekavý is said to have protested against the brutal tree logging and tied himself to the tree. This tree is the only one that survived the 1950s massive logging.
The money collected in the vote (1 SMS is for CZK 30) will be used for planting new trees.
Last year´s contest earned CZK 220,000. "Thanks to the contest last year, 550 new trees were planted in the spring this year," Binková told Aktuálně.cz.
Translation of the Czech instructions:
zvětšit = enlarge
uchopte myší = click and hold mouse button
stav ankety = contest results
hlasovat = vote
autor: Pavel Baroch and Naďa Straková