The LIFE for MIRES team offers a really wide range of activities for the public. These are volunteer events in which people can be directly involved in peatland restoration, excursions to the public or expert groups, as well as popular science lectures for visitors to the national park or interest organization. Deeper cooperation with schools is a separate chapter, but we still have it in front of us and we are right now preparing the tutorial programme. The first year of public events is now over and it is therefore possible to assess whether and to what extent they are attractive to visitors and locals.
Most often we organized so-called Days for Mires, namely 7 one-day and 2 weekend events. The main idea of such a day is that the participants have the opportunity to pick up spades, shovels and buckets and to try out the restoration of wetlands at a designated location. In doing so, they will contribute to the return of water to the landscape, and we will then guide them through intact peat bogs where nature rules and the water regime naturally works. Participation in these events was really surprising – it was attended by a total of 119 volunteers!
Wetland excursions are also an excellent way to inform people about functioning of wetlands, rare species, why we restore wetlands, what ecosystem services they provide and why are they protected within the Natura 2000 network. All of that directly in the National Park, where nature develops without human intervention. This year we offered 2 excursions to the public, in addition to that we guided teachers from the Lipka Environmental Education Center, students from the University of Wageningen, colleagues from the Krkonoše National Park or fellow workers from our Environmental Education Centers. The most frequently visited place was the already restored right bank tributary of the Cold Vltava, the Hučina stream, where, six years after returning to the original stream bed, we can see how nature takes everything back to its own hands very quickly. If we were to calculate how many people we did in total, we would reach nearly two hundred people.
We also presented our project in several places this year. We organized evening popular-science lectures for the public in Vimperk, Kašperské Hory and Kvilda. However, we also traveled elsewhere than directly in the Šumava NP and visited such events as the nationwide scout meeting Elixir, Adult Education Week at the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Strakonice Šmidinger Library and last but not least, we presented at the annual meeting of regional organizations of Czech Union of Nature Conservation. Almost 150 people came to see our presentations and were interested in water management issues in the landscape.
This winter we plan to work on a textbook and workbook primarily focused on water regime and its protection in the Šumava nature, which will become the basis for the wetland tutorial program newly offered by the Environmental Education Center of the National Park Šumava. After their release, cooperation with schools will be fully started and next year pupils of elementary schools can look forward to a Great Wetland competition, which will take place in the spring.
If you are interested in any of our events, do not hesitate and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.