By Chris Elliott….
Last week I reported on the meeting of Rotary Clubs of North Cyprus and South Cyprus together with Rotary International President Ian Riseley at the Buyuk Han before they all walked to the Ledra Palace crossing and then into the buffer zone where they planted the first tree as part of President Ian’s “Tree Planting Challenge”
Continuing with this initiative, the individual clubs across the island of Cyprus continued with the planting of trees on Sunday 25th February and this is what Rotarian Deren Firat had to say about the tree planting in the Alsancak Municipality National Park.
“I would like to thank our Club President Gul for giving me the opportunity to speak and give you the background story about this environmental project. Most importantly today’s event is a Cyprus-wide simultaneous project with the participation of all 20 Rotary Clubs that are active in Cyprus.
This is also a very important project for our Club. It all started after a huge Forest fire in the Camlıbel area 2 years ago. We started this project as a small re-planting awareness project. We sold raffle tickets for just 5TL each during our bi-weekly meetings to our members and guests and explained our aim of attracting more people and of raising awareness.
We were planning to use this money for the re-plantation of the Camlıbel area. We visited the Department of Forests and shared our project with the head of the department. During our visits we found out that all the destroyed areas had already been re-planted in January 2017.
After this good news, we continued raising money during our weekly meetings. In October 2017, DDG Elena, AG Caterina and AG Tastan joined one of our weekly meetings and DDG Elena shared some amazing news with us. She introduced a Cyprus-wide plantation project and asked if we are willing to join this project.
That day, we decided to divert our club project into this Cyprus-wide project. It is also Rotary International President Ian Riseley’s wish that each Rotarian should plant a tree and all 20 Cyprus Rotary Clubs have accepted President Ian’s Tree Planting Challenge.
Our President Gul made visits to Alsancak Municipality and shared our project with the Mayor, Fırat Ataser. It turned out there was already a Recreating Centre project which includes cycling and walking paths, a cafeteria, a playground for children and many other activity areas in the Alsancak Municipality National Park. Even though this area is a forest area, some of the trees were affected by disease and also there had been an excavation by the Committee of Missing Persons so that some of the trees were cut down for this purpose.
I would like to thank Mayor, Fırat Ataser on behalf of our Club for allocating this incredible six acre area and trusting us totally with our project.
I should also like to thank the Nature Gardens and their landscaping architect Turgay Duman for the landscaping of this area and their generous discount on the total amount of the purchase of the trees and plants (400 in total).
Finally, I would like to thank all our club members for being a committed and huge part of this project and as Rotary International President Ian Riseley says: “Plant a tree; make a difference.”
Before finishing, I would like to announce that we will continue our ongoing project with the plantation of the area behind Alsancak Primary School. This area has also been provided to us by the Alsancak Municipality.
Thank you for your attention.
Rtn Deren Fırat
Planting Project Manager
RC Kyrenia Cosmopolitan Executive Secretary 2017-2018″