“Be My Water” Brings Hope to Croatian Forests
Croatian Scouts are more ready than ever to save their forests and help wildlife regenerate.
In the past two years, more than 6.200 Scouts and volunteers planted over 65.000 trees across the country with the help of Croatian Forests in Dalmatia region, the most affected part by the devastating wildfires. Their initiative has been an international success, receiving European recognition for their reforestation efforts.
Global warming brings with it long drought periods and reduced rainfall during the year, creating a major obstacle to the survival of planted trees. The Croatian Scouts developed the Boranka project as a way to tackle the negative effects of climate change that has been causing weather extremes, but also a general increase in temperatures.
Now, they are kicking off another chapter with the “Be My Water” initiative. By bringing this new campaign into the spotlight, the Croatian Scouts aim to raise awareness about the alarming climate and to ensure that the efforts put into Boranka would not go to waste. According to official data, only 20-30% of planted trees can survive without water. Through the new campaign, the Scouts plan to periodically water the planted trees, especially in the dry season when it is needed the most.
Since most of the volunteers are non-Scouts, it is a great opportunity to connect them to Scouts and the Scouting experience. There are specific activities (workshops, games etc) within the project which are organised by Scouts for other non-Scout participants. As for the community and the environment, the project is expected to bring a great impact as new forests, helped by the watering actions, would cover the black burned areas and bring the trees back to life.
“I was a volunteer in Boranka planting activities so this is for me a logical next step. It means a lot to be able to volunteer for full two weeks in Split instead of only weekend voluntary activities.” Said Dario, one of the project volunteers in an interview.
“I think youth is the most important actor in saving the planet. Most of the big and successful changes in the world have been started by young people because they can think and act outside of the box.” he added.
“Nowadays when we have good marketing and great activities with large visibility, it is much easier to involve peers. In fact, many young people are willing to help and participate in different activities but they don't know how and where so when they see us Scouts how we do things, they are usually very interested in joining us. Especially, with this project, it is great that they can spend two weeks in another city, on the seaside and be useful at the same time.” He concluded.
“After seeing the tremendous devastation caused by wildfires, and because I am a big nature fan, I decided to participate in the Boranka campaign. For me this is a follow up of a great and a very useful project.”- Said Matea, volunteer in the both projects.
“Young generations should become more aware of nature protection and should be more motivated in protecting nature, for the general benefit of our planet, our society and individuals. We are used to involve non-Scouts in our activities which is always great for them since they often get to love the Scouting experience and the things we do.” She added.
Project made possible through the European Solidarity Corps Programme
The project was approved for co-financing through the European Solidarity Corps programme as part of the European Erasmus funds. The aim of the European Solidarity Corps 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 solidarity projects across the European Union.
The approved European funds will enable the Scout and Guide Association of Croatia to secure the arrival of a total of a hundred volunteers who will water the seedlings in the vicinity of Split and Solin for a period of two weeks. Altogether, three groups of volunteers will participate in this project during a total of 6 weeks. In addition to volunteer watering actions, volunteers will participate in numerous other educational activities on the topics of environmental protection and nature conservation.
The environmental actions are carried out in cooperation with Croatian Forests, a national company in charge of forest preservation, 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 adequate equipment. The protection and health of volunteers comes first, especially now in the age of coronavirus. Therefore, all precautions are taken to reduce the risks of infection.