Seminar "Forming partnerships with the local community"
From the 12th to the 14th of May a seminar "Forming partnerships with the local community" for PAs managers was held in Polistovsky Reserve.
The seminar was attended by 13 representatives of protected areas, members of the Association of protected areas of the North-Western region. In addition, the seminar was attended by consultants of FLEG-II program, that supported many Polistovsky Reserve events, organized for Tsevlo villagers and also by a representative of EcoCentre "Zapovedniks".
At the seminar Polistovsky Reserve employees told guests about interaction with the residents of the surrounding villages since the establishment of the Reserve until now, about challenges that the Reserve and the local community faced and about found solutions, about the importance of building partnerships and friendships with people living around protected areas, and about what has been already done for the moment to make proximity to the protected area beneficial to the local community. The latter, by the way, is a prerequisite for sustainable development of ecotourism on any protected natural area.
Attention was also paid to the cooperation of Polistovsky Reserve with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on FLEG-2 program; the program consultant Natalia Milovidova told the audience about it.
An important part of the seminar was visiting author's excursions of Tsevlo villagers, aquainting with its history and culture, as well as with traditional local cuisine. The practical part of the seminar is perfectly illustrated activity of Polistovsky Reserve aimed at supporting Tsevlo residents' initiatives and forming partnerships between them and the Reserve.
In addition to stories about the history and experience of Polistovsky Reserve, performances of the guests were held at the seminar, all of them also have something to share with colleagues within the theme of the seminar. Employee of EcoCentre "Zapovedniks" Ksenia Gasparyan told colleagues about the experience of interaction of PA and TSG (territorial self-government), as well as about the development of the project "Sparks of hope for Russian villages", aimed at the promotion of civil society development in Russian countryside through the support of local initiatives aimed at the sustainable socio-economic development of regions, for example in the field of agro-tourism.
Another one direction of interaction between PAs and local community was presented by the consultant of FLEG-II program Konstantin Gongalsky. His presentation told about the forest landscape restoration program, implementation of which is planned by IUCN in 2017-2020.
At the round table of the seminar employees of the National Park Kenozero Lubov Bogolepova and Mary Anikieva, Irina Peshnova from Smolensk Lakeland National Park and a representative of the Nizhne-Svirsky Reserve Irina Denisova told about their cooperation with the residents of settlements near PAs, TSGs and even with small businesses. The experience gained by employees of various protected areas of the country is very different, incredibly interesting and, of course, can be useful to all Parks and Reserves, seeking to form partnerships with the local community, and therefore to develope sustainable ecotourism and just work efficiently.
In the spare time, the seminar participants visited the ecological routes of Polistovsky Reserve: ecotrail "Plavnitskoe bog", boat trip "From the bog to the ocean" and a new path "By the Beaver's path."
We thank the participants for the visit to Polistovsky Reserve, for the interesting presentations and valuable experience.