Initiated within the Interreg DTP DANUBEparksCONNECTED project, for the 4th time Danube Volunteers Day initiative is gathering volunteers from all along the Danube to work on the preservation of the Danube river as a habitat corridor.
After a short break during the Covid pandemic time, in 2022 Danube Volunteers Day actions were organized in Protected Areas from 6 Danube countries: Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania.
To make this action successful, the annual topic of action is regularly defined. The main idea behind the 4th Danube Volunteers Day was to work on the protection of flagship species of the Danube River Basin.
Suggested activities were:
- Citizen science & monitoring (e.g. birdwatching with volunteers, roadkill monitoring...),
- Waste collection in protected areas,
- Removal of invasive species,
- Native tree species planting (e.g. black poplar, white willow…)
From September until December 2022, 375 volunteers invested 1845 hours in nature protection activities in Danube Region.
This year, in the framework of the 4th Danube Volunteers Day, 2 actions were organised in Germany.
The first one took place in Passau (12.11.2022) where 18 volunteers removed bushes from an old quarry. This measure was especially helpful for rare reptiles and butterflies.
Another similar action was held in the Danube Floodplain between Neuburg and Danube river (26.11.2022) where 17 volunteers adopted the area to improve the habitat for certain flagship species important for this area. With chainsaws, pruning shears, and string trimmers volunteers removed targeted bushes and trees and afterward they piled the branches and thus created a habitat for insects and lizards.
On the 8th of October, our partners from Danube-Drava National Park Directorate organized volunteer action in Dunaszekcső village. The aim of this volunteer day was to clean the riparian forest around the oxbow called „Telelő“.
As the forest is situated within the floodplain, the floods sometimes deposit waste there. The volunteers cleaned the forest by collecting the rubbish, mostly plastic bottles, bags, or aluminum cans. The collected waste was put into more than 20 large plastic bags.
A local NGO „Dunaszekcső Emlékeiért és Jövöjéért Alapítvány“ (Foundation for Heritage and Future of Dunaszekcső village) and the municipality of Dunaszekcső supported the event implementation.
The first volunteer action in the framework of the 4th Danube Volunteers Day was organised on 14.9.2022 in Lonjsko Polje Nature Park.
Ten young volunteers from Kratečko Primary School and four experts from the Park were collecting waste together near a common pasture in Mužilovčica and the animal shelter located in an old oak forest.
The second partner from Croatia, the Public Institution for Nature Protection in Osijek-Baranja County organized two volunteer actions this year. The first one included pupils of Elementary School Vladimir Nazor from Čepin. In the educational and visitor center of Podravlje field education on migratory birds and other flagship species and habitats of the Danube Region was organized, followed by a creative workshop where young volunteers created T-shirt prints with bird motifs by themself.
During the second volunteer action, volunteers were included in bird-watching activities and they placed bird feeders for wintering birds.
The last action in Croatia was organized by Kopački rit Nature Park on the 7th of December 2022. On this occasion, trees were planted near the Sakadaš dock and at the Visitor center Mali Sakadaš in order to enrich the natural state of the area and to improve the habitat for the various animal species that stay there.
Volunteers from the Osijek Zoo, Hrvatske Šume (Croatian Forests), Elementary School "Bilje" and the Public Institution "Agency for the Management of Protected Natural Values in the Osijek-Baranja County" also participated in this action.
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 30 participants 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 "Forest World" and "Wild Animal World" with an interactive approach, the expert guide brought the participants closer to the topic of the importance and role of all living beings in the ecosystem and in general in the lives of all of us.
Despite the outside temperature of -3°C, 55 enthusiastic volunteers gathered at Persina Nature Park Visitor Center (13.12.2022) to implement another Danube Volunteers Day action.
Volunteers were creating seed feeders for wintering birds, removing plastic waste from the Danube riverside, and finally, helping to set up "DANUBEPARKS Reading Corner" in the Park's visitor center.
So, with this successful volunteer action, volunteers invested 330 working hours to implement the measures for habitat and species protection and also worked on awareness-raising activities.
On the 19th of November 2022, the Administration of Comana Natural Park organized the biggest volunteer action in the framework of this year's Danube Volunteers Day. In the forest of Comana Natural Park, 105 volunteers planted samplings of Quercus robur (common oak) to ensure the connectivity of forest habitat in the Park area.
Comana Nature Park is one of the most recent members of the DANUBEPARKS Network, and it is considered the third wetland of importance in Romania, after the Danube Delta and the Small Island of Brăila.
Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority (DDBRA) organized Danube Volunteer Day action in partnership with Romsilva - Tulcea Forestry Directorate and Romanian Scouts - "LOTUS" Local Center Tulcea. During this action, 30 volunteers planted native black poplar trees on the banks of the Danube, near Isaccea.
Another successful campaign is behind us. In total: the Danube Volunteers Day initiative mobilized 1567 volunteers. During 50 actions, 5745 volunteer working hours were invested in the preservation of the Danube river as a habitat corridor.
We are looking forward to the next Danube Volunteers Day!