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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.

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Results:

Number of countries: 8

Number of actions: 9

Number of volunteers: cca. 400

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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.

Suggested activities:

- Collection of waste in softwood forests in protected areas.

- Removal of invasive species from softwood forests.

- Tree planting activities.

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Germany

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.

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Austria/Slovakia

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.

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Hungary

Number of volunteers: 24

Number of actions: 1

Type of action: fighting alien species

Location: Kölked

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.

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Croatia

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.

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Serbia

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.

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Bulgaria

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.

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Romania

Number of volunteers: 150

Number of actions: 1

Type of action: Education/Plant identification

Location: Sulina

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.

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Another successful campaign is behind us! Looking forward to the Danube Volunteers Day 2020!