Municipality of Stepnica (Poland)
Municipality of Stepnica is an extremely picturesque area of 294 km2, located in the west-north part of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, also on the waters of the Szczecin Lagoon. 39.8% of the surface is covred by water, 30% by forests and 30.2% by fields, meadows, wetlands and peat bogs.
The community counts nearly 5,000 inhabitants. Numerous jobs are offered by more and more local businesses and the nearby Goleniów Industrial Park. Education at the elementary level works well here. The city is known for its two harbours: commercial and fishing and for its four yacht marinas.
Community of Stepnica is above all unusual conditions and the richness of nature, which has been recognized as covering over 90% of the area of this commune by the boundaries of areas covered by the European Ecological Network Natura 2000. Only here the most numerous herds of free-living Polish Horses can be found, together with cows that are descendants of the legendary extinct Aurox. These animals live in the area of the Odra Delta Nature Park. Complex of the Goleniowski Forest is known for their richness of game, and the whole area of the commune is the kingdom of over 150 species of birds, starting from its undisputed ruler White Tailed Eagle.
Very good recreational infrastructure makes Municipality of Stepnica an increasingly popular place of active recreation for sailors (marinas and marinas), anglers and amateurs of kayaking (Szczecin Lagoon and Gowienica River), supporters of hiking and cycling, as well as pickers of forestry undergrowth and hunters. For the traditionally resting, there are several beautiful wild beaches and well-prepared sandy public over-shore beach in Stepnica itself, honored with the Blue Flag since 2002. Separately, excellent conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing are worth mentioning. Tourist attractions also include: observation towers on the moraine hill in Zielonczyn and in Odra Delta Nature Park and small Chełminek Island on the Szczecin Lagoon.
Few survived the war conflagration of monuments, but the following are interesting: the church of St. Jack from the 18th Century in Stepnica, old forester’s lodge and farm buildings in Widzieńsko or a neo-gothic church from the 19th century in the village of Żarnowo.
Numerous events and cultural and educational activities, which is carried out by the local Community Centre of Culture, attract each year an increasing audience and those interested in active and creative leisure time.
The thriving Municipality’s Administration stimulates more and more social activities, which results in many projects implemented with the participation of EU funds.
One of such projects is CICPA – “Common Initiatives on Conserved and Protected Areas”
Woliński National Park (Poland)
Woliński National Park, created in 1960, covers part of the largest Polish island – Wolin in West Pomerania Region. Special features of the Park are: the most beautiful part of the Polish cliff coast, well-preserved beech forests, unique insular delta of Świna river, an offshore strip of Baltic waters. Until 1996, the Park occupied an area of 4,691 ha, when it managed to include in its boundary the area of 1 nautical mile of coastal Baltic waters, an archipelago of islands in the backwater delta of Świna river, together with surrounding waters of the Szczecin Lagoon. From that moment, the Woliński National Park became the first marine park in Poland. The current Park area is 10937 ha, including forest ecosystems occupying 4648,53 ha (42.50% of the Park area), water ecosystems 4681.41 ha (42.80%) and non-forest land ecosystems 1607.46 ha (14.70%). The strict protection covers a total area of 498.72 ha (4.56%).
The Woliński National Park operates on the basis of the Act on Nature Conservation of 16.04.2004 with later amendments, as a state legal body. The main objective of the WPN is to preserve biodiversity, resources, creatures and elements of inanimate nature and landscape values, restore the proper state of resources and elements of nature and recreate distorted natural habitats, plant habitats, animal habitats or fungi habitats in its area of operation. An important aim is also providing the area for scientific, educational, cultural, tourist, recreational and sport purposes in a way that will not negatively affect nature in the national park.
From the beginning of its operation, the National Park was organizing and taking part in a number of projects, including those directed to the local community, financed from many external sources. Until now, WPN has completed 23 projects financed by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. In addition, we implemented a project as part of the INTERREG Iva Programme, consisting in the introduction of audio guides – an interactive system of visiting the Museum of Nature and the Eco Bison Show Exhibition. The Park employs a qualified staff with experience in preparing and implementing relevant projects. Every year, employees of the WPN take active part in events organized in local schools and in cooperation with neighboring municipalities. We join the Christmas Picnics, Earth Day celebrations and annual cross-country races. We often visit local schools and kindergartens, leading nature lessons. We also organize nature science contests, photo contests and exhibitions.
In recent years, WPN has successfully implemented educational projects financed by GAZ-SYSTEM S.A. We started by conducting weekly lectures for adults and schools entitled “Treasure Island”. The lectures were devoted to nature issues, and each lecture was conducted by an expert in their field. We organized two editions of meetings, a literary competition and photo contest for the local school youth. Based on the submitted works, a calendar was issued. We also conducted educational workshops based on work with a microscope and we published an exhibition on insects of the Polish National Park, which was accompanied by entomological workshops. We also organized a series of thematic meetings on the beach in Międzyzdroje, the aim of which was to promote the natural values of the Woliński National Park and conditions for their protection, expand knowledge of environmental protection and increase the sensitivity to the beauty of nature and responsibility for environmental protection among the project recipients.
Karklė Comunity Association (Lithuania)
The Karklė community is a local public organization based on the principles of democracy and voluntary association of people whose main objective is to promote the living space of Karklė and its surroundings (Karkle eldership) and to represent and defend the interests of local people in a good living environment.
Karklė and its surroundings are Karklė eldership – a residential area in the Klaipėda district municipality in the Kretingalė subdistrict on the Baltic Sea coast. Karklė with the surrounding area all goes to the Seaside Regional Park. There are about 350 inhabitants living in Karklė and its surroundings, and the Karklė community is public organization.
Public organization “Karklė community” daily routine to encourage local authorities to pay attention to problems connected with public transport, transport, roads, water supply, environmental ecology, public space and public recreational areas management and care, care of the common public infrastructure of the village, supervision of local historical objects and handling. The community initiative and active participation have been devised the concept of Karklė and its surroundings management – “Atlas of Karklė”
Public organization „Karklė community“ also initiates and organizes cultural and sporting events for local residents with the aim of fostering good neighborly relations. The festival “Menkinė”, which has been celebrating the seafront community, has already become a tradition, which fosters local ethnographic and culinary heritage. Every year, children’s events “Christmas Eve” and “Easter afternoon” are organized, and the tradition of Karklė Church in August was celebrated with a concert. Other holiday celebrations and festive gatherings are organized, sporting activities are organized for local residents, environmental cleanup campaigns are organized. In the near future, the construction of the “Community House” is being carried out by rebuilding the Karklė old fisherman’s farmstead and restoring the Karklė Church, which will allow the local population to be more focused on sustainable living, neighborhood and leisure.
Kretingale Eldership (Lithuania)
Kretingalė district is a structural unit of Klaipėda district municipality administration, operating in a certain part of the Municipality. The district has 12490 hectares, there are 2 towns in the territory: Kretingalė and Plikiai, and 41 villages.
The territory of the eldership has a large protected area – the Seaside Regional Park.
On the whole subdivision, on December 31, 2017, there were 5,305 inhabitants (2652 men and 2,653 women).
The following institutions are located in the eldership: Kretingalė Basic School and its Girkaliai Division, Plikiai I. Labutytė Basic School, Kretingalė Kindergarten, Kretingalė Evangelic Lutheran Church, Bald Evangelical Lutheran Church, Plikiai St. Families – Jesus, Mary and Joseph Church, Kretingalė Cultural Center, the center’s branches Plikiai and Girkaliai cultural houses, Plikiai and Kretingalė outpatient clinics, Girkaliai medical center, Plikiai and Girkaliai fire brigade teams, Plikiai, Kalotė and Girkaliai libraries, the Administration of Seaside Regional Park.
The most important business enterprises are „Agrovet“ LTD, „Sakuona“ LTD, Kretingalė cooperative agricultural company. Operating communities: Association Kretingale community, Public organization “Girkaliai community center”, Plikiai rural community, Seaside regional park community “Karklė senbuviai”, New Karklė communities, Public organization “Karklė community”, Kunkiai community, Klaipeda district Dargužiai rural community, Peskojai village community.
Kretingalė district is the only one in Klaipėda district with access to the sea. In 2018 a castle mound was discovered in Kukuliškiai village, which is only the second by the distance to the sea.
The activities of the eldership are regulated by the regulations of the eldership approved by the Director of the Municipality Administration.
The subdivision is assigned the functions of public administration and organizational management of the Municipality in the territory of the district. The activity of the eldership is aimed at serving the people. Currently eldership is headed by Žigintas Narmontas.
Strategic goals of the eldership:
- To raise the quality of life of the population by creating and maintaining a safe and clean environment;
- Development of public infrastructure and urban development;
- Develop local self-government;
- To promote the development of culture and physical education.
The Eldership of Kretingale wishes to achieve a higher quality of services for people living in protected and conserved areas during the CICPA project and after it.
Ecological club „Žvejonė“ (Lithuania)
Ecological club „Zvejone“ as a member of Lithuanian green movement is actively participating in various projects, actions and events that are related to all kinds of environment protection. „Žvejonė“has been working actively since 1989. It is the most active environmental organization in West Lithuania. The overriding goal of the organization is promotion of environmentally sustainable and nature friendly development of Lithuanian Coastal Region. These include environmental education courses, conferences and workshops on local, national and international level, independent researches and monitoring, participating in youth exchange, environmental information services, artistic and protest actions and campaigns, environmental marches, bicycle tours, etc.
The main aspects of activity are:
- Water pollution problems and protection of the Baltic sea environment;
- Bicycle transport and tourism promotion;
- Environmental education
- Energy saving and sustainable use of energy resources;
- River watch and river basin management;
- Voluntary work for nature conservation in Seaside Regional Park
- The hazards of Klaipeda harbor companies.
Ecological club „Zvejone“ is an active participant of Common Initiatives in Conserved and Protected Areas workshops, meetings and events. Its members are initiators of the dialogue and of colaboration around using initiatives and institutional capacity building in conserved and protected areas.