Saving Eternity, The Elextra Olive Tree Project
The conservation project has included planting more than 55,000 trees and bushes on Ios to restore the habitat that had previously been burned by wildfires and land deforestation. In addition some 535 ancient olive trees (most of them more than 300 years old) which we’re about to be cut and sold for firewood in Athens, were transported across from the peloponnese by boat to Ios. Here, with the help of specialists, 97% of them have survived and are now thriving in there in new locations
“I was born and raised in the Peloponnese, in a small village outside Gythio. I am probably more than 200 years old. Lived with my “brothers and sisters” forever, until sometimes in 2013 our “home” was chosen to become a new stadium. We were about to be cut and sold for fire wood. A friend of our new owner spoke to him about us. He loves nature and respected our history and honored our roots. He did not want us to die.
It is actually quite stunning to watch them every day give it all they have in order to grow again in their
new home instead of being burned in a fire place in Athens!
He bought us, and put us in trucks and transported us somewhere far and different from what we knew. They cut our branches off to help us survive, and tend to our roots so we can live. I got a bit sea sick!!! It’s two months now, all 183 of us are alive, and have a chance to fight for our lives. Most of my brothers and sisters have new branches and new growth, some of us are doing better than others. We don’t live all together anymore, but birds transfer our news. We now face the Aegean and shyly learn to dance with the meltemi. The wife of our new owner, promised that each of us will have an ancient greek name. She comes sometimes and caresses our old bodies. Gives us a kiss or two. Our new owner is so happy that we made it, and so are we!!! Spring is beautiful in our country and we are still ALIVE.