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New activities of «Plant Your Roots in Greece» foundation

Landscaping sectors of Ancient Eleftherna archaeological site in Crete

The new reforestation activity organized on January 16th 2011 by “Friends of Taygetos” environmental association and “Action Group for Taygetos”, was crowned with absolute success, as 3.200 plants were planted in Stavroto Dentri area, located at the 30th km of Kalamata – Sparta highway. The plants were provided by Kalamata’s Forestry Service and the expenses were covered, once more, by “Plant Your Roots in Greece” foundation.

The planting of trees was carried out by Groups, Associations, Regional groups, the residents of Alagonia villages and ordinary citizens; the Greek Mountaineering Club, KETHEA – Kyttaro, Active Citizen’s Network, Greek Rescue Team, Citizen’s Open Assembly, the Cyclists of Kalamata, Group “Kalamatafreespace”, Theatrical Group “Methexi”, the Center of Kalamata Folklore Studies and many volunteers – citizens. The next reforestation attempt in Taygetos region is scheduled to take place on Sunday, 6th of February.

Landscaping activities in the Western Sector of Eleftherna Archaeological Site were also successfully carried out, with 10.000 USD total funding provided by “Plant Your Roots in Greece Foundation on February 2010. The activities were supervised by Archeologist Nicholaos Maragoudakis in collaboration with the Community Chairman and Town Councilor, Nikolaos Petrakakis.

“In this location”, explains Dr. Anagnostis Aggelarakis, Professor of Anthropology at Adelphi University, who took the initiative, “lies the only cemetery in Orthi Petra from the Iron Age, uncovered by Dr. Nicholaos Stampolidis’ excavations. It is a discovery of great importance and landscaping work highlighted the greater area”.

The main effort to highlight the area took place in “Libada”, the area located South and Southwest of the watchtower in the archaeological site of Orthi Petra, explains Dr. Aggelarakis. “This area was previously used as a model farm for the elementary schools of Eleftherna and Ancient Eleftherna”.

It is a triangular plan area (100 × 150 × 100 m), defined from the West and South by parts of the international E4 and East by the watchtower square. It is full of tall trees, such as Cypress, Eucalyptus, Pine and Plane trees, many of which were planted by the old village teacher, E. Nikoloudakis from the 1930s. There is running water in the winter and it is quite cool during the summer season. Unfortunately, the abandonment of model farms for many years turned it into an impenetrable forest with lush vegetation, full of bushes and broken tree branches.

The initial objective of the activities was to clear the area from low vegetation, tree thinning and cleaning, many of which, being saplings, mainly the plane and cypress trees, were successfully transplanted elsewhere.

The activities carried out mainly dealt with forest clearing and thinning, fire protection, the installation of trails made of environment friendly, local materials, fencing the area with a tasteful wooden fence, using available wood for the construction of trails and benches. Hydrophilic, fruit bearing trees were planted, such as chestnut trees, contributing to soil enrichment for growing flowers and parterres with all kinds of Crete’s wild flowers, which are often admired and photographed by tourists. A construction of low level rubble walls will follow in spring, to enable water draining and soil retention in slopes.

At “Pigaidaki”, located at the western hillside of the Ancient Eleftherna Hill, at the west of the ancient fountain, again in an area formerly used as a model farm, 4 rows of citrus fruit trees were planted (lemon, orange, sour orange, citron trees, mandarin and bergamot trees) and the area was also fenced, while it can easily be watered with the fountain’s water, which also runs in the summer season. In addition to those, evergreen plane trees were planted next to the fountain.

Furthermore, for the purpose of enriching tree planting, olive trees, holm-oaks, almond trees, oleander and oak trees, as well as carob trees were planted on the side of Arkadio – Eleftherna road, Eleftherna – Ancient Eleftherna road, Ancient Eleftherna – Kinigiana road.

The foundation currently endeavors to organize tree planting activities in Cyprus and establish communication with the new Local Authority leaders in Greece. It is already in communication with the Association “Friends of Green” for the continuation of tree planting activities in archaeological sites in Macedonia, as well as the Municipalities of Penteli, Lavreotiki and Megalopolis in Arcadia Prefecture.


Please find attached photos from the landscaping activities at the Westen Archaeological Sector of Eleftherna and from the new reforestation campaign in Taygetos

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