Final conference of the project “For everyone saved a tree” (FOREST)

On March 19, 2021, the Final Conference of the project “For everyone saved a tree” (FOREST) was held, which unites non-governmental and scientific organizations from Bulgaria and Serbia in the cause of engaging young people in activities related to forest protection. The project leading partner is the Bulgarian non-governmental organization “Youth Movement for Development of rural areas in Bulgaria” (YMDRAB). The other partners are the Center for Social Innovation in Nis (NIIT) and the Forest Research Institute – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (FRI-BAS)
The project is funded by the Cross-Border Cooperation Program Interreg Bulgaria – Serbia. It started on May 16, 2019, but due to the pandemic of COVID-19 it was extended by several months and despite many difficulties, all planned activities were successfully completed.

The FOREST project is based on the concept of involving youth volunteers in solving problems related to the conservation of forest habitats in the cross-border region. With the methodological support of experts from the FRI-BAS and the joint participation of young people from the municipalities of Botevgrad and Nis, a number of activities are implemented to enhance the knowledge and skills of young people regarding the assessment of the health status of forests, methods of habitat conservation and restoration and promoting such initiatives among the public.

More than 400 young people from the cross-border area took part in the project. In addition to the positive role that the project plays in the non-formal learning of young people, many of the main results were presented in detail at the final conference:
• Real-time Joint Electronic Database on Forest Species and Ecosystems in the Cross-Border Area
• Strategy for participation of young people in activities related to nature protection;
• Herbarium exibition of plant species from cross-border areas, developed by Serbian and Bulgarian project participants;
• Assessment of the health condition of representative forest plantations on the basis of classical entomological and phytopathological studies;
Implementation of remote sensing methods for monitoring and analysis of the state of forest ecosystems using images from satellites and unmanned aerial systems equipped with multispectral cameras.
Тhe project contributes not only to the fuller development of young people interested in the state of forests, but also builds their active citizen position and participation in the field of nature protection.