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Macedonia seeds hope in 5 million new trees

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SKOPJE, Macedonia – Campaign season has arrived in Macedonia, with presidential and municipal elections next Sunday. Nevertheless, the locals made time for the third installment of the "Day of the Tree" initiative that began last March to help reforest this small Balkan country and raise ecological awareness.

On that first showing a year ago, more than 150,000 Macedonians planted 2 million trees in one day (symbolically, one for each citizen). Six million more were planted in November. Saturday's event saw a combined 5 million trees planted nationwide by a diverse network of volunteers.

The Tree Day’s leader is Boris Trajanov, a world-renowned opera singer. “Our primary goal with this initiative is to create a greener Macedonia and to help our planet,” he said, while heading to the planting site of Ajvatinovski Rid, a dramatic ridgeline in the northeast. Along the way, schoolchildren giggled and waved and asked for more Tree Day buttons and flags.

“The kids are crazy for this!” beamed Mr. Trajanov, a father-of-three. “I love to see this side of it also – the people really enjoy being out in the fresh air, and having fun planting trees.”

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