SKOPJE Thousands of Macedonians took to the hills and forests on Wednesday to plant six million trees in a single day as part of a mass reforestation drive in the Balkan country.
The main aim of the campaign was to replant Macedonia's forests after extensive wild fires over the past two summers, and organizers trumpeted the scheme's environmental benefits at a time of global warming.
"Our goal is to make Macedonia "greener" and make people more aware of the needs of this planet," said Macedonian opera singer Boris Trajanov, who initiated the project.
Thousands of people were bused to the planting sites, including more than 1,000 soldiers who planted some 200,000 seedlings at 14 sites.
"Just as we take care of our homes, we should take care of our planet," said Silvana, boarding a bus with her two children. "We have no other place to live, that's why I'm going."
Trajanov told Reuters he hoped to spread the campaign across the whole Balkan region next year.
"If Macedonia, a country of two million people, can plant six million trees, we can only imagine how many trees can be planted in other, bigger countries," he said.
(Reporting by Kole Casule, editing by Tim Pearce)