Operation “1000 Trees for Cemeteries”
This project, designed to encourage schoolchildren's participation in national commemorations as a part of an educational initiative, is under the joint patronage of the French Minister of Education, Higher Education and Research, and the Minister of Defence.
Set up by the departmental services of the Office National des Anciens Combattants et Victimes de Guerre (ONACVG), operator of the Direction de la Mémoire du Patrimoine et des Archives (SGA/DMPA) in charge of national cemeteries, this operation is organised in partnership with the Souvenir Français as well as with local authorities and remembrance and veterans associations that want to take part. Started in the 2014/2015, school year, it has been working to get primary and secondary school students involved in performing a symbolic act consisting in planting a tree at a national cemetery or the military section of a communal cemetery. Participating classes take part in preparing for planting, which is preceded by research on the surrounding war graves. This work is coordinated by the educational team who make sure that the initiative is suited to the children's age and fits in with the teaching programmes. When the trees are planted, the children are asked to read texts in connection with the history of the soldiers buried at the site. This initiative is quite naturally in line with the twofold commemorative cycle concerning World Wars I and II.
The academic advisors from ”Mémoire et Citoyenneté” are in charge of supervising this educational action. They work with the departmental services of the national education system for primary schools, as well as with the departmental directors of ONAC-VG, to ensure that all the schools are aware of this operation and of how to participate, as well as the possibilities for financing, notably thanks to the subsidies available from the Commission Bilatérale de Coopération Pédagogique (CBCP). They also make sure that the trees planted by the students can be recognised. The Chemins de Mémoire website offers an on-line atlas of the cemeteries for which educational teams and students can undertake preliminary research. The Mémoire des Hommes site has a list of people ”Morts pour la France” (who died for France).
You can find out how to participate along with information on this operation at the éduscol website :