Last month, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) has approved the final report of the project “Clean up Synevyr National Nature Park, Ukraine”. This project was developed and managed by the European Wilderness Society. Moreover it was EOCA’s first co-funded project in Ukraine.
The project started in January 2020. Besides the European Wilderness Society also the Ukrainian partners ‘Synevyr National Nature Park’ and NGO ‘Syniy Vyr’ helped to implement it. After a kick-off meeting, the project partners presented the project to many organisations, governmental decision-makers, relevant projects, initiatives and local citizens. A close collaboration with the ‘Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine’ and the ‘State Ecological Academy of Postgraduate Education and Management’ resulted also in a strong partnership beyond the project.
Training sessions and follow up
The partners jointly developed and implemented a detailed and COVID-19-proof training curriculum with six online training sessions. Forty-eight participants received certificates of participation, and 30 received an officially recognised Ukrainian certificates. Afterwards, the partners organised four consulting sessions with two interested protected areas of Ukraine. In November, European Wilderness Society presented the project to 120 environmental education professionals. Afterwards, we organised a separate workshop for Synevyr National Nature Park in September 2020. Its aim was to improve the park’s waste management system. Besides this, the partners developed a proposal for tourism management and further environmental educational activities. Participants of the trainings continued their professional communication using different online communication tools, several of which the European Wilderness Society established.
Clean up campaign
The partners arranged the local production of four separated waste collection containers. These were used for the clean-up activities and campaign. In September, we organised the first clean-up activity together with class 5-A of the Kolochavska secondary school and their teacher. Together they collected hirty bags of waste, weighing an estimated 600 kg, ected from the Tereblya riverbanks. Afterwards Synevyr staff transported the bags for further processing, separation and disposal. In October, we organised the second clean-up activity together with youngsters from the local village Nehrovets. They collected an additional 20 bags, with approximately 400 kg of waste, from the Tereblya riverbanks and around the Rabachinka recreational station.
It was so interesting for me to join the Clean up campaign in National Nature Park “Synevyr” jointly with my friends! I hope, very soon people become more conscious and our nature will stay clean and free of plastic!
Campaign ‘Bring plastic – take free entry ticket’
The campaign started in the end of October 2020. It allowed visitors to get a free entry ticket to the park by collecting a bit of waste. The Park distributed all 100 available tickets for this campaign already by the end of December 2020. And park visitors appreciated the creative approach a lot. Moreover, the Park and other protected areas of Ukraine expressed their interest to conduct such campaigns in their protected areas in future.
Promoting Respect Nature!
To promote further nature-friendly behaviour in the protected areas, the ‘Respect Nature’ concept was actively promoted. Partners printed 500 posters and 1000 leaflets to inform visitors about the ‘Respect Nature’ principles. And those were distributed among protected areas, schools and NGOs of Ukraine. Furthermore, we produced another 44 informative signs and installed them on the territory of two protected areas to inform visitors on respectful behaviour in nature.
Adapting to changes
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a big challenge to implement the project as many of the physical meetings and activities were no longer possible due to travel and health restrictions. Nevertheless, the partners effectively revised and modified the project planning, redesigned the course to be conducted online, and implemented the clean-up activities with locals in the field according to all guidelines. In the end, adapting to the COVID-19 situation has resulted in a project that has implemented both the clean-up activities in the field, as well as online trainings.
When we submitted our project to EOCA, the virus was not yet evident. But our fast adaptation to the changing dynamics of the pandemic enabled us to not only complete to the satisfaction of the project donor. We also trained more than 50 Ukrainian Rangers. Moreover we plan to apply again for funding from EOCA! And based on this project can already assume that another project will again be a success for all parties involved!
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