2019 marks a historic moment in the partnership between the Mihai Eminescu Trust and AccorHotels-Orbis: 10 years of planting operations. It has been a decade in which we have forested Romania together, year by year, parcel by parcel, with the numbers to show it. There have been 2,135,575 saplings planted on land belonging to rural communities in the 8 beneficiary counties of Brasov, Covasna, Harghita, Mures, Bistrita Nasaud, Bihor, Satu Mare, and Sibiu. These operations involved 8,502 students and 1,515 volunteers, who helped reforest 483 hectare and build 6 school gardens for fruit bearing trees. Making this possible was the participation of 103 forest owners, 38 forest bypass organizations, and 97 partner schools. The president of the Mihai Eminescu Trust, Caroline Fernolend, commented on the organizations’ success: “The most important thing we have managed to do together was to bring consciousness and instill care within those who helped bring about the implementation of this project in Romania, and especially Transylvania. This includes youth members of communities, schools, forest bypass organizations, and composesorate proprietors who now realize the importance of keeping our forests alive and healthy. On the other side, the trust of our partners AccorHotels-Orbis and Pur Project, was absolutely admirable. Our decade old partnership is based on this trust and the concrete results we have managed to bring about. For me, the project “Livada Scolara” is a project for the soul, because it is a purely MET initiative. We convinced our partners to finance it and this way we were able to organize, alongside other activities, recycling, seeding, and grafting workshops. Through this, everyone involved is educated with the right care and responsibility towards improving and maintaining our natural heritage and its
values.”

The project, “Planting for the future,” has been recognized by three prizes: First Place in the Environment Impact sections of the Civic Society 2014 Gala, and Third Place in the Environment Section in 2010. Planting for the Future is without doubt one of the most important and durable projects of the Foundation. Together, we have had a solid collaboration and a strong partnership which has had a long lasting impact in our communities. With AccorHotels-Orbis and Pur Project, which has been the technical implementation, coordination, and promotion partner in our group, we created a long haul strategy which takes care of over 2 million planted trees to rebuild degraded natural ecosystems and at the same time to bring attention towards notable environment issues around us.

AccorHotels-Orbis has proposed an objective of planting 10 million trees by 2021. Over 2 million have been planted already through out project which has been developed and implemented by the Mihai Eminescu Trust. One of the changes implemented was simple: convince part of their clients and hotel guests to use their towels more than once and therefore save water and limit the use of detergent. From these economical savings, half went towards a reforestation project.

Plant for the Planet is taking place today throughout five continents, with the help of 40 different project. It is based on a tight collaboration between hotel guests and employees of the hotel group, but also based on a partnership with local communities. Everyone has a key role and their attitude matters in the accomplishment of projects. Plant for the Planet started in Romania in 2009, under the name “A forest for each school.” Initially, the project’s objective was to control soil erosion and help it renew naturally.

With time, the project grew to new dimensions and started including areas which have been adversely affected by deforestation under the title Planting for the Future. Throughout its implementation, a traditional soil conservation component was added with the implication of youth and planting school gardens. Planting for the Future has two distinct components. The first focuses on reforestation, the second on ecological education. MET has managed to instill a responsibility in students to take care of forests in order to benefit their surrounding ecosystem and environment, and also to conserve traditional soils. The students were joined by other members of the community, volunteers, and silviculture specialists in the actual planting. Their enthusiasm, passion, and initiative managed to draw regional and national attention to their project. All participants collaborated and melded well throughout the planting activities despite diversity in age and social categories.

Strait Gheorghe, an engineer with Forest Authorities RPLOS Fagaras Forest, emphasizes the positive impact this project has had on everyone involved: “From our perspective, everything went according to plan. We now have a long partnership that has a collaboration history of four years. The project is a good activity from which everyone benefits: we have reforested the area after which trees had been torn down from a storm, the students leave for home with new knowledge and information, and the school has received an equipped lab to conduct this in the future.” The project’s long term impact can be seen in how it will generate new income sources for local communities through the cost of wood and other activities in which one uses forest generated products, such as berries. Some examples include window and glass production, along with dried forest berries commercialization.

We are extremely happy to breathe such fresh, Transylvanian air. Along with cultural moments, traditional customs, historical monuments, and artisan goods, air quality is a precious element with a well deserved part in local heritage. MET has understood how necessary its protection is, and for the past ten years, along with AccorHotels-Orbis, has been making Transylvania a greener place.