Interview done by: Ana Alibegova Edited by: Stefan Alievikj
Tree by Tree (Drvo po drvo) is an initiative that started in Subotica, Serbia as a symbol of welfare and environment. The young enthusiasts behind the initiative want to show that with patience and step by step progress, great changes could be achieved. Nenad Lukic participated at a Balkan Let’s Get Up Programme and after the seminar in Project Management in Ecology he came home with an idea to start doing something for his local community. By engaging in the Tree by Tree activities, he got some practical experience as well, essential for the labor market. “It might sound funny, but although we finished Landscape Architecture studies, first thing we learned in Tree by Tree was how to properly plant a tree”, the 25-year old Nenad starts his story:
M!: Who are the people behind Tree by Tree and what is the focus of your activities?
Nenad: Considering that we recently graduated Landscape Architecture, it was clear that our field of work would be related with environment and this profession. After few actions of a smaller scale, our first bigger initiative was the project “Young Trees For Young People”, implemented in autumn last year. We realized that the playgrounds around the kindergartens in our hometown are plain, lacking trees and green areas. We were shocked how our society sometimes neglects the children needs and we decided to try to change that. The kids also took part in the planting process, which help them develop positive attitude towards environment from the very beginning. To be honest, those are indeed some small steps, but as the name of initiative suggests, Tree by Tree means that with lot of patience and enthusiasm, one day, those changes would become bigger and bigger.
M!: What current projects do you work on? Can you tell us something more about the concept of landscape architecture?
Nenad: Landscape architecture is very multidisciplinary profession consisted of design, geography, urbanism, forestry, horticulture, and ecology. It deals with different issues, from smaller things such as projecting your garden, through work on public spaces and parks, to influence at landscapes, nature reserves and national parks. Currently, we are shaping few ideas in order to raise the awareness and empower the citizens to do something for their surroundings and neighborhood. In the mentality of people in Serbia, we still have some remains from the old times, from the system when everything was owned by everybody. On the other hand, older people remember the advantages of that system when youth were participating in huge voluntary actions. That system is not present anymore, nobody organizes the same type of volunteering actions and the public property is not considered as no man’s land. People do not care enough for their surrounding because they usually think that “it is somebody else’s job”.
We do not belong in the group of rich countries, but for many actions and deeds we do not need money or some huge funding. Go out with your neighbor and plant a tree, recycle, cut the grass, clean the space because you live there, nobody would do it for us. In next actions we want to motivate and encourage people to take more care for each other and their community. Many have forgotten how good it is to do something and to contribute to the general welfare.