Training seminar "The Role of NGOs in the preservation of natural and cultural heritage and the development of rural settlements"
Last week, deputy director of Polistovsky Reserve, Elena Perova, and a resident of Gogolevo village, Evgenia Slizkova, attended a training seminar on the role of NGOs in the preservation of natural and cultural heritage and the development of rural settlements in the Valdai National Park, where specialists from different regions discussed new ways of mutually beneficial cooperation between protected areas and residents of nearby settlements.
The main objective of the seminar was elaboration of the Development programs for three model Resource centers, which will be created in the republics of Karelia, Bashkiria and Altai within the framework of the project "We Save the Future Together. Cooperation for Nature Reserves and their social environment". The centers should become a link between protected areas and rural settlements for building mutually beneficial effective cooperation. In the future, gained experience will be replicated to other potected areas.
During the seminar, experts in the field of ecological tourism, employees of Nature Reserves and National Parks, and heads of non-profit organizations shared their practical experience and told about successful projects. There were representatives of a few protected areas from the Association of National Parks and Reserves of Northwest of Russia: "Curonian Spit" and "Ugra" National Parks, "Bryansky Forest", "Polistovsky", "Kostomukshsky" and "Pinezhsky" National Nature Reserves. They presented the experience of direct interaction between protected areas and local community.
Discussion of the projects of Resource centers took place in the form of a "discussion cafe", training games, teamwork. "Who are we? Where are we going? What are we doing? How are we doing this? What should be done in order not to achieve the result?" It was important to receive answers to these questions not only to the heads of the Resource centers, but to all the other participants of the seminar to determine the vector of work with the social environment.
"The seminar was an excellent platform for exchanging experience with colleagues, it was especially interesting to learn about new formats of cooperation. The experience of interaction with business, represented by a number of participants, creation of public councils, participation of the local community in volunteer activity, holding joint cognitive-entertaining activities is also very interesting. I was impressed by the example of successful cooperation of with regional departments, which is based on the integration of the protected areas into the region's social and economic development. A wonderful experience of combining natural, historical and cultural components in ecotourism was presented by "Bryansky Forest" Reserve. I hope that we will implement some ideas in Polistovsky," - Elena Perova, deputy director of Polistovsky Reserve for eco-education, interpretation and tourism, shares her impressions.
As a result of the seminar, participants prsented 3 concepts for the Resource centers development, as well as 4 winter ecological tours with the participation of the local community living near protected areas (because ecological tourism can become a link between the population and the PAs). One of the winter tours was developed by the participants of the seminar from Polistovsky Reserve, it included a snowshoe walk to the Reserve, a snowmobile excursion, master classes on traditional crafts, and local village food.
In addition to the main program of the seminar, participants attended excursions to the visitor center of Valdai National Park, as well as along the ecological path "Ivanyi Pereleski", which runs through different natural complexes of the National Park and introduces tourists to its inhabitants.
The five-day training was organized within the framework of the project "We preserve the future together. Cooperation for Reserves and their social environment", implemented by the Ecocenter "Zapovedniki" with the use of the grant of the President of the Russian Federation for the development of civil society provided by the Foundation for Presidential Grants.
Photo: wildnet.ru, Elena Perova