Can a person have a forest?

Can a person have a forest?

The answer is yes. I have two forests; you can too. In two years I initiated two forests for my country, my land, our planet.

The first one is in İzmir’s Urla district, in Kadıova, with 2,094 saplings, while the second one is in Balıkesir’s Bahçedere district with 3,685 saplings; two huge forests. 

Last summer, on the occasion of my 44th birthday, I decided to create a “Forest of Hope.”  

If you want to create a forest, the only thing you should do is contact the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA). They will immediately tell you the areas in Turkey that are allocated for reforestation. We agreed to make a Forest of Hope on the land waiting for reforestation in Balıkesir’s Bahçedere. 

As an individual, you should donate at least 2,000 saplings at a given time, then you can officially have your own forest with your name on it. Number of saplings is much higher for institutions. 

When I spoke to TEMA last August, one sapling was 6 Turkish Liras. I told everybody they can donate any number of saplings on my birthday, here in my column and in all of my social media accounts. On the night of that day, 2,000 saplings were reached. Some donators donated one sapling, some donated hundreds. 

I started inquiring on Aug. 8 and announced it on Aug. 11. When I phoned TEMA on Aug. 12 and told them it was done, my heart smiled. 

My family, my acquaintances, all the beautiful people I know and I don’t know, hundreds of them continued donating trees. The amount of donations reached 22,609 liras. More than 3,000 saplings were planted in the Balıkesir Bahçedere reforestation area by teams on May 31. 

My dear readers, who have donated trees even though you do not know each other, we have granted a huge forest to the country. 

We have become brothers and sisters, tree buddies forever. We have created the most extraordinary heritage we can see in our lives. 

There is a green army working silently in this country, a very strong one. I only made an announcement from here and from social media accounts. Some people, even though I have never met them, were determined, enthusiastic and strong to make a forest in two days. 

I don’t know how and how much to thank all of you who have donated to the forest. Those who have donated saplings know who they are. Because we only have your names and last names, we could not send you your certificates. 

I have a very long list. This is a list is in my heritage file. My children and my grandchildren will know who these beautiful people are and how they united for a forest. 

All of you who have donated trees for the Forest of Hope, if you can send your e-mail addresses to until the end of June, TEMA will send you certificates with your names on them. 

The first one was the Forest of Yonca and the second was the Forest of Hope. 

Don’t think I will stop here. As long as I live, I will continue to plant forests. As I grow older, I will be reborn in green. 

My dream, my intention and my aim is as poet Nazım Hikmet wrote: “To live! Like a tree alone and free. Like a forest, in brotherhood.”