Below, find all the news articles of the last months and years in chronological order.
DANUBEparksCONNECTED successfully finalized
Since 2007 DANUBEPARKS, the Network of Danube Protected Areas is jointly working to preserve the Natural Heritage along the Danube through Danube-wide projects and initiatives.
The DANUBEparksCONNECTED project has now set milestones for strengthening the Danube as a habitat corridor:
- The WILDisland initiative protects the last semi-natural islands along the Danube: 912 islands form a Danube-wide habitat corridor, and the last remaining river wilderness can be found on 14,000 hectares. Island and river revitalizations make WILDisland a model for European green infrastructure.
- The Danube is a bird migration route of European importance. But every year tens of thousands of birds collide deadly at power lines near the river. As part of the DANUBE FREE SKY campaign, power lines have been made safe for birds to protect them from a collision.
85% EU funding through the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme also enabled Danube-wide protection concepts for dry habitats and riparian forests.
- Dry habitats play a crucial role in sustaining biodiversity by harbouring many rare and endangered species. The focus of the DANUBE DRY HABITAT CORRIDOR is, therefore, the protection, restoration, conservation, and appropriate management of the Danube dry grasslands. Also, a milestone was reached with the establishment of the DANUBEPARKS Canyons Network, resulting in a joint Memorandum of Cooperation between the Danube Canyon Administrations.
- Riparian forest habitats are a substantial part of the river ecosystem. Sadly, around 90% of these zones have been lost in the past century due to human intervention. With this campaign, we aim to restore riparian forests by detecting gaps in the riparian forest corridor for conservation or restoration measures. Such reforestation activities can mitigate climate change significantly by raising the carbon storage capacity of the Danube riparian zones.
Also, thousands of local people, youth and school groups, NGOs, and other supporters participated in the DANUBEPARKS Volunteers Days and joined in with “Cycling the Danube”. This has shown that our Protected Areas are an excellent catalyst for getting the public fascinated by our shared natural heritage on the Danube.
With this project, the DANUBEPARKS Network has significantly improved coherence in the management of the Danube Protected Areas and overarching guiding documents created during the project is leading us toward future activities concerning ecological connectivity.More
World Wetlands Day 2020
February 2nd each year is celebrated as World Wetlands Day. Since February 2nd, 2020 was Sunday in most of our Protected Areas it was celebrated a day after. The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2020 is "Wetlands and Biodiversity".
On the occasion of this year's WWD celebration, we decided to share with you the content of our workshop organized by DANUBEPARKS staff at Kopački rit Nature Park.
Games and rules are described below and we hope that it will be inspiring and useful for organizing similar workshops. There were 43 participants in this workshop, so you will have to adjust the number of teams accordingly.
1. The teams
The participants were divided into 3 teams. Teams were determined by randomly distributing cards to children that contain pictures of animals (e.g. otter, eagle and pike). After they see what picture they got, they are grouping with other participants who got the same picture.
Rules are briefly explained and the scoring table is created on a big piece of paper. The columns contain the names of the teams and the rows of the names of the games. The last line contains the total number of points.
3. Game: „Pictionary“
Each team is choosing its own representative. The representative pulls out a card containing the word associated with wetlands (e.g. animal/plant/phenomenon…).
A representative has 60 seconds to try to draw the pictures which suggest the word printed on the card. The rest of the team is trying to guess the word being drawn. If the team guesses the term, they are getting 2 points. 2 rounds are played.
Example of words printed on cards: Danube, fog, flood, willow…
4. Game: "The food chain"
On plastic cups, there are pictures and names of the animals. As soon as possible, students must assemble a 5-level food chain (e.g. phytoplankton-> mosquito larvae-> frog-> fish-> white-tailed eagle). The food chain is arranged according to the levels so that the final solution looks like a "pyramid" (1st level - 5 glasses, 2nd level - 4 glasses,…., 5th level - 1 glass).
All 3 teams start playing at the same time. The team that composes the "pyramid" the fastest gets 4 points, the second team is getting 2 points, and the last one reminds without the points.
5. Game: "Guess Who"
Statements (hints) have been prepared to describe a particular animal, plant or phenomenon in wetlands. The statements are gradually reveling more about the described term - with each round, it becomes clearer what it is about.
A representative of each team is selected to provide answers on behalf of the entire team. Each team can offer 2 solutions, and if they answer incorrectly both times, they are no longer entitled to answer. The team that first offers the correct answer gets 1 point. It is suggested to prepare six different terms and statements for 6-7 rounds.
Example for hints:
Round 1: Endangered and protected species found in Kopački rit.
Round 2: Weighs 6 kg on average.
Round 3: They live in pairs all their lives.
Round 4: An estimated 70 couples currently live in Kopački Rit.
Round 5: Their nests can weigh up to 400 kg.
Round 6: The wingspan can be up to 2.5 meters.
Round 7: The bird is at the top of the food chain.
Solution: White-tailed eagle
6. Announcing the winner
It would be desirable to secure a symbolic prize for the winning team. This way, the children will have a better memory of the workshop and the motivation during the game will be greater.More
3rd Danube Volunteers Day
In 2019, DANUBEPARKS Network organized 3rd DANUBE VOLUNTEERS DAY in 8 Danube countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania.
Number of countries: 8
Number of actions: 9
Number of volunteers: cca. 400
About 3rd Danube Volunteers Day
This Danube-wide volunteer action was previously organized within project DANUBEparksCONNECTED, funded by the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme. However, in 2019 action was organized and co-financed by Association to keep the tradition of this volunteer action which, we believe, will become more recognized every year and have a bigger and bigger impact on the preservation of the Danube as a habitat corridor.
To make this action succesful, main topic of action for each year was defined. The main idea behind 3rd Danube Volunteers Day was to promote the significance of SOFTWOOD FOREST.
While the conservation status of habitat type 91E0 Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Pandion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae) is generally unsatisfactory across all biogeographic regions, a lot of softwood forests along the Danubedisplay a near-natural state; there are even primeval stands of 91E0. This is a unique natural asset of European importance.
- Collection of waste in softwood forests in protected areas.
- Removal of invasive species from softwood forests.
- Tree planting activities.
Number of volunteers: 32
Number of actions: 1
Type of action: fighting alien species
Location: alluvial forest between Neuburg and Donau
Volunteers from Germany joined 3rd Danube Volunteers Day on Saturday, 23rd of November. Mowing and bush removal campaign took place in the alluvial forest between Neuburg and Donau. More than 30 volunteers of all ages followed the call of the nature conservation authorities of the City of Ingolstadt and the district of Neuburg-Schrobenhausen and together cultivated a "Brenne", a typical and most valuable site in our floodplains.
Number of volunteers: 30
Number of actions: 1
Type of action: waste collection
Location: WILDisland and 2 kilometars of Danube's river bank
The Danube constantly carries waste which pollutes the floodplain landscape. To counteract, Donau-Auen National Park (Austria) and BROZ - Bratislavské regionálne ochranárske združenie (Slovakia) joined the 3rd Danube Volunteers Day. 30 volunteers from Austria, Slovakia, Iran and Japan, students from the University of Applied Arts Vienna (working on sculptures of endangered species), IVY Volunteers, and an expert from Nationalparks Austria collected 25 bags full of waste – to clean one WILDisland and 2 kilometers of valuable river banks. The 3rd Danube Volunteers Day was organized in cooperation with the cross-border Interreg project #PlasticFreeDanube - the project aims to establish a well-founded knowledge about plastics pollution through analysis of the collected waste.
Number of volunteers: 24
Number of actions: 1
Type of action: fighting alien species
On the 23rd of October 2019. 24 volunteers joined us in Kölked on the 3rd Danube Volunteers Day.
The meeting point was on dike next to the entrance of the national park (called Tojta). Volunteers walked together through the Nagy-rét and arrived at the small (former) hunting castle, which serves now as a rangers basis.
After a short explanation about the nature conservation problem with the invasive species in the area, a botanical exercise followed to determine the target species Amorpha fruticosa. Than every volunteer took part in an accident prevention education – because there were a lot of special secateurs to cut the amorpha plants.
After this, all the groups of volunteers started their active walk along the meadow edge and the softwood gallery forest and cut the small amorpha plants. It was a nice opportunity to talk with each other and to meet the families of the other members of the national park team.
Number of volunteers: 35
Number of actions: 2
Type of action: waste collection/building of educational trail
Location: Kopački rit
In Croatia, 3rd Danube Volunteers Day was held in Nature Park "Kopački rit". Action was organized in October with support of volunteers from 2 partners from the corporate sector: Kaufland Hrvatska k.d. and GRAWE Hrvatska d.d. 15 employees of Kaufland joined us within their action "Green week" and along with our colleagues from DANUBEPARKS secretariat, they collected improperly disposed waste that has been dumped along the forest path. The waste that was removed was located in poplar and willow forests at the edge of the nature park, so we used this opportunity to promote the importance of softwood forests. In the second part of action, under the slogan "We are proudly volunteering", 20 volunteers from Grawe were arranging a new "Danube Parks Alley" that leads from the reception center of nature park to the entrance to the village of Kopačevo through an avenue of fruit trees (old varieties) donated by visitors to the Park. Danube shaped walkway is installed to remind visitors that Kopački rit is a part of the larger eco-system and Danube region in which every Protected Area in Natura 2000 Network is important.
Number of volunteers: 53
Number of actions: 1
Type of action: Waste collection
Location: Bajski Kanal
On the 13th of October, 2019 in the area of Bajski Kanal in the Gornje Podunavlje region, a volunteer action was held to collect inorganic waste on the banks of the channel. The Bajski Kanal, as part of the old Danube stream, is one of the cleanest and most beautiful side branch of the Danube in the Gornje Podunavlje region. On the bank of the channel, the Eco-center "Karapandža" is located for the reception of visitors. The eco-center space was used to gather participants and for the afternoon activities. More than 50 participants (25 children and 25 parents) participated in the volunteer action organized by the management of the „PE Vojvodinašume“. In addition to waste collection, the children participated in an educational program to learn about the basic values of the Gornje Podunavlje region. By visiting the educational course "World of Water", the expert guide brought participants closer to the topic of the importance of water and its role in the ecosystem as also in the life of all of us with an interesting and interactive approach.
Number of volunteers: 71
Number of actions: 2
Type of action: fighting alien species and maintenance of trees and bushes
Location: PA Kalimok-Brashlen and NP Persina
In Bulgaria, 2 volunteer actions were held on the occasion of the 3rd Danube Volunteers Day.
The first action was held on September 21st, 2019. Volunteers from „Club Friends of Public Park Rusenski Lom“ visited the newly afforested Black poplar site under DANUBEparksCONNECTED. It is located near PA Kalimok-Brashlen, covering 2.5 ha municipal grounds. Volunteers managed to clear all unwanted plants surrounding the young Black poplars, to assess their status and to plan the next steps to grow the young saplings into a sustainable forest.
On the 5th of December (on International Volunteers Day) volunteer action was held in front of the Persina Nature Park visitor center. Young volunteers helped to removed unwanted bushes and branches in front of the visitor center which is placed on the Danube riverbank.
The groups participated in different time of the day, in the morning group from kindergarten started with volunteering activities, in the early afternoon children from the local high school continued with activities and in the afternoon group from primary school finished activities.
Number of volunteers: 150
Number of actions: 1
Type of action: Education/Plant identification
On 29th of August 2019 during the event in Romania organizator of Danube Volunteers Day focused on educational activity within the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve in Sulina. The 150 participating teenagers of the "Friends of Danube Delta" National Youth Camp, coming from all over Romania, found out about the medicinal plants of the Delta, the most common ones, and their curative properties. Afterward, they went along Danube river banks to recognize the species, verifying their knowledge and checking it using a plant identification app. It was a "citizen science" activity that actively involved all the participants making them aware of the diversity of plants and their benefit for human health.
Another successful campaign is behind us! Looking forward to the Danube Volunteers Day 2020!
DANUBEPARKS 2019 Conference in Kopački rit
Last week an international conference „DANUBEparksCONNECTED & DANUBEPARKS Association“ was organized in Kopački rit (Croatia) on 6th-8th November 2019.
The main part of a conference for the DANUBEparksCONNECTED project was held on, 7th November when the Project Management Meeting took place to discuss the development of LIFE WILDisland as a follow-up for WP3 WILDisland and WP6 Danube Riparian Forest Corridor.
On the same day, a field trip was organized to the northern part of Nature park „Kopački rit“ where participants took a walk through the forest to the coast of river Danube and one of „wild islands“ which is included in the project plan for LIFE WILDisland.
The WILDisland initiative aims to preserve natural Danube islands as flagship habitats for river dynamics. The Danube Wild Island Habitat Corridor contributes to strengthen the ecological connectivity and to preserve natural wilderness that exists in the heart of Europe.
The WILDisland map presents the results of the first inventory of Danube islands: over 900 islands were identified along the Danube River which covers an area of more than 138,000 hectares.
On the 8th of November General Assembly of DANUBEPARKS was held. Agenda:
1. Opening and Agenda (DANUBEPARKS President, V. Rožac)
2. Activity Report 2018 (Secretary General, G. Frank)
3. Financial Report 2018 (Treasurer, T. Schneider)
4. Approval of the acts of the Management Board
5. Presentation Activity Plan 2020
6. Budget Plan 2020
7. Other issues (by all Members of the Association)
After General Assembly was held, an external expert from E.C.O. Institute DI Michael Huber moderated workshop „Guiding Principles toward Future Perspective for DANUBEPARKS“. Planning and consulting for protected areas, conservation areas and international development cooperation projects is the expertise of this institute and hopefully, it will support further development of DANUBEPARKS.More
DANUBE FREE SKY conference - Tulcea, Romania
Last week Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority organized an international conference "DANUBE FREE SKY" (16.-18. September 2019).
The Danube is a flyway for bird migration of European importance. While the Danube Protected Areas preserve the most valuable sites, power lines are dangerous barriers.
On the first day of the conference after introduction, keynote speeches were held:
- DAN HULEA (Executive Director of the Romanian Ornithological Society): Bird Conservation at lines in Romania and along the Danube - possible synergies with DANUBE FREE SKY
- ALEXANDRU DOROSENCU (Danube Delta National Institute): The DANUBE FREE SKY Position Paper - Collision
- REMO PROBST (BirdLife Austria): The DANUBE FREE SKY Position Paper - Electrocution
After presentations, a field trip in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve was organized, including a site visit to critical power lines in the Delta to promote follow-up conservation actions. On the boat, best practice conservation actions along the Danube were presented with space for discussion.
On the second day of conference focus was on a discussion about DANUBE FREE SKY as good practice for Europe (from raised awareness to common standards):
- TAMAS PAPP (Milvus Group): Bird Species Conservation at power lines - LIFE project for European Roller,
- BEN JOBSON (BirdLife International, Science Research Assistant, Cambridge): Ongoing initiatives, outlook and possible fields of cooperation.
Also, reports from power lines operators from Upper, Middle, and Lower Danube were presented about the status quo, to do's and possible joint future cooperation.
At the end of the conference, Lucia Deutschova (Raptor Protection of Slovakia), Ion Munteanu (DDBRA Executive Director, Natural Heritage, Ecological Education, and International Relations Department) and Georg Frank (DANUBEPARKS Secretary General) presented conclusions of the conference with main focus on:
- Success and challenges for bird conservation at power lines in Europe and along the Danube.
- Lessons learned from Life Energy and the Carpathians.
- DANUBE FREE SKY Strategies and future recommendations for the Danube Region.
Danube Day 2019 celebration
On the 29th of June each year, the 14 countries of the Danube Basin jointly celebrate one of Europe's greatest river systems and the people and wildlife that rely on it. This year on this symbolic date DANUBEPARKS Network decided to celebrate opening of our first office in Croatia.
At 10:00 AM we raised flag with DANUBEPARKS logo in front of Public Institution Nature Park „Kopački Rit“ and president of association Vlatko Rožac delivered press statement about meaning of office opening in Croatia:
„Now it existence for almost 12 years Danube River Network of Protected Areas continues to strive to expand its programs and projects. Establishment of our first DANUBEPARKS Network office in Croatia is one more proof that we developed to a well-established association with long-term perspectives and that we are building our capacity continuously.“
After this, employees of DANUBEPARKS Network and PI Nature Parks „Kopački Rit“ held educational workshop for children. We talked about significance of Danube river with focus on protected and endangered species of animals inside river system. Coloring activities and educational games for children were part of our program and after that we joined DunavArt festival program and enjoyed the beautiful sounds of a piano concert of Konstantin Krasnicki.More
DANUBEparksCONNECTED final conference - Novi Sad, Serbia
Representatives of the DANUBEPARKS Network attended last week on the three-day final conference of the DANUBEparksCONNECTED project. Organized by Public Enterprise „Vojvodinašume“ from Serbia, the conference was held at the Hotel Park in Novi Sad .
On June 11th, in Novi Sad, Steering Committee Meeting and Project Partner Meeting was held, on which the main conclusions about project were drawn up and the project reports were reviewed.
On second day of the conference, June 12th, welcome speeches for all participants was delivered by Marta Takač (director of „Vojvodinašume“), Nebojša Vojnović (undersecretary, Provincial secretariat for regional development, interregional cooperation and local), Brankica Tabak (undersecretary, Provincial secretariat for urbanism and environmental protection), Marton Mikos (representative of EUSDR PA6) and Vlatko Rožac (president of DANUBEPARKS Association).
After welcome speeches introduction and overview of DANUBEparksCONNECTED results was presented:
- DANUBEparksCONNECTED: highlights and results (Stephanie Blutaumüller and Georg Frank, Donau-Auen National Park),
- WILDisland initiative (Balazs Toth, Duna-Ipoly National Park),
- DANUBE FREE SKY (Ion Monteanu, Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority),
- Danube Dry Habitat Corridor (Christiane Kotz, Landratsamt Passau).
Considering that conference was held in Serbia there were presentations also about ecological connectivity in Vojvodina Province of Serbia and about habitat corridors in Serbia.
Different projects on ecological connectivity along Danube were presented by members of several organizations:
- DaRe to Connect – Green Belt (Markus Pochtrager, University of Vienna),
- Sturgeon – MEASURES (Mijana Lenhardt, University of Belgrade),
- Coop MDD (Marko Tucakov, Institute for Nature Conservation of the Vojvodina Province),
- Sava TIES (Ivana Vasić, PE „Vojvodinašume“).
At the end of second conference day, moderated panel discussion was held on topic: „DANUBEparksCONNECTED and ecological connectivity in the eyes of the international organizations“. Members of panel bord were: Marton Mikos (EUSDR PA6), Edith Hödl (ICPDR), Georg Frank (DANUBEPARKS) and Jan Kadlečik (Carpathian Wetland Centre).
Third day of conference was held in Sombor with a space for outlook and conclusions, and also agreements about final phase of project - activities and reporting.More
Cycling the Danube - trip to the natural treasures along the Danube
- 3.000 Kilomters
- 10 Danube Countries
- 17 Protected Areas
- 120 DANUBEPARKS conservation actions
Cross-border grazing action in Donau-Auen National Park
The cross-border grazing within the DANUBEparksCONNECTED project is returning, through which we aim to maintain the grassy habitats of the flood protection dyke within Nationalpark Donau-Auen.
The Danube Wild Island Habitat Corridor
Islands are flagship sites for natural river dynamics. Join the Danube-wide initiative for their conservation.More