The official Foresters’ Day was established by a decision of the Director-General of the State Forests on 12 July. Why? Well, that is when we recollect St. Giovanni Gualberto – the patron saint for foresters and a patron for park rangers and parks.
St. Giovanni Gualberto settled deep in the forest backwoods where he built and founded a monastery. There, the monks lived a modest life exploring the knowledge of the forest. They planted trees and cared for the forest inhabitants, learning how to use the forest’s riches wisely.
In 1951, he was declared the patron saint of foresters, forest guards and all forest people by Pope Pius XII. St. John Paul II, in his homily to foresters and forest guards during a Mass celebrated in the Dolomites, in July 1987, said, among other things: “By dedicating themselves to this work, the disciples of St. Giovanni Gualberto learned the laws governing the life and growth of the forest. At a time when there was still no standard for forestry, the monks of Vallombrosan Order, working patiently and persistently, found the right methods to multiply the forest wealth.” (“L’Osserv. Romano” 8, 1987).
The Festival of the Forest has been held in Poland since the 1930s, with the first one dating back to 1933. It is a beautiful tradition.