More than 300 people came together on 7 April in PyeongChang to celebrate Arbour Day by planting tree seedlings as part of PyeongChang’s environment and sustainability efforts. The event took place at the Alpensia Sliding Centre, which will host the luge, skeleton and bobsleigh events at next year’s Olympic Winter Games.
Arbour Day is observed annually worldwide to inspire people to plant and care for trees, as well as educating people about their importance. Known as Sikmogil (literally ‘tree planting day’) in Korean, it has been celebrated in the Republic of Korea since 1949.
The Gangwon Provincial Office organises local events each year to commemorate Arbour Day. This year the event took place in PyeongChang in order to promote and support the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
A variety of flowering maple and fir trees, which are prolific in the region, were amongst the tree seedlings planted by the participants. 546 seedlings were planted in total - the number is of particular significance, as it represents the total number of gold, silver and bronze medals which will be awarded at next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Participants included local residents and schoolchildren, while representatives from the Gangwon Provincial Office and the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) were also present. Local dignitaries from Gangwon Province were invited to the Arbour Day celebrations, including PyeongChang mayor Sim Jae-Kook.
Mr Taechul Rhyu, Director General of the Environment at POCOG, was appreciative of the efforts of all involved. “I am delighted to be a part of Arbour Day in PyeongChang today. It is great to have the support of the local community by helping plant these 546 trees as a symbol of the Games but also as part of our environmental efforts. PyeongChang is committed to acting on our vision of new Horizons for Sustainability and conserving the local environment is an important factor in that.”PyeongChang is committed to acting on our vision of new Horizons for Sustainability and conserving the local environment is an important factor in that.Taechul Rhyu PyeongChang Director General of the Environment
At the commencement of the event a local children’s choir gave a special performance called ‘PyeongChang Snow’ before tree planting got underway. The volunteers then rolled up their sleeves and got to work planting the seedlings. The Republic of Korea is a heavily forested country; woodland covers approximately 80% of Gangwon Province so the event is of particular significance to PyeongChang’s environmental strategy.
Creating a sustainable legacy for Gangwon Province and the Republic of Korea is one of the key objectives for POCOG. PyeongChang is aiming to be a low carbon green Olympics and POCOG have put strategies in place in order to ensure that next year’s Olympic Winter Games is environmentally sustainable and promotes green growth.
Arbour Day is just one part of POCOG’s ongoing commitment to the environment and stewardship of nature. “POCOG is very passionate about delivering a sustainable Games,” said Rhyu.