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The pine tree will be cut down next week, Source: City of Opatija

Opatija gives century-old pine tree a second life

Opatija gives century-old pine tree a second life

Elementary school children will transform the tree into homes for birds, insects, and bats

For around a century, a pine tree has brought joy to Opatija’s residents, birds, and insects. Recently, experts from the Faculty of Forestry in Zagreb have determined that the century-old tree in Slatina will have to be cut down. Being unable to save the tree, the Croatian municipality will now follow the example of other European cities and give it a second life.

Darija Žmak Kunić and Sanjin Kunić, professors from the Academy of Applied Arts of the University of Rijeka, proposed the idea of transforming the 100-year-old pine tree into houses for animals such as birds, insects, and bats. Now, children from the Opatija Elementary School “RK Jeretov” will work alongside students and professors from Rijeka and the Natural History Museum to make this proposal a reality.

In a press release, Kunić explained that the close attachment to the heritage and beauty of green urban areas inspired the idea. Moreover, the professors further sought inspiration from the good practice of other countries. Taking a case in point, Prague recently transformed its 2020 Christmas tree into furniture for an elderly home.

A new tree will be planted

The tree will reportedly be cut down at the beginning of next week. Park employees will then transport and dry the timber in the Mrkopalj Sawmill (Drvenjača Fužine dd). Following this, students will use the materials to build homes for the animals. The wooden homes will be placed in various locations around the city to improve the lives of organisms in urban areas. What is more, the city will plant a new pine tree in the same location.

Commenting on the upcoming project, Mayor of Opatija Fernando Kirigin shared: “Since the citizens of Opatija are rightly very sensitive to any demolition and reduction of green areas in our city, we want to return the century-old pine tree to the citizens in this way and create creative useful objects from its wood.”

According to the principal of the elementary school, this project will help students grow into responsible adults who respect nature and protect their environment.  

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