New botanical experience through volunteering in Austria
Written by Mykyta Peregrym
The Global Botanical Portal has already published information about possibilities for botanists, especially from developing countries, which we can receive to thanks by volunteering. Today I would like to share my last experience after participating in the volunteering camp „Wachau Volunteer“ at the World Heritage Landscape of Wachau in Lower Austria from July 30th till August 12th, 2017.
The camp was organized by the World Heritage Municipalities Wachau together with the Austrian Alpine Youth Association and the Austrian branch of the International Civil Service, which is a volunteer organization dedicated to promoting a culture of peace by organizing international voluntary projects for people of all ages and backgrounds. Also we have collaborated with the Donau-Auen National Park and the Thayatal National Park during the project. There have been 16 participants from 9 countries (Austria, Spain, China, Luxemburg, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, Hungary and Ukraine).
Our main aim was to help the local community in management of grasslands, a part of which is sites of the Natura 2000 Network. In the fact, we mowed the grass, cut the bushes, and then we picked it by rakes. Thus, we helped to reduce phytomass in the plots for their continued existence with high plant diversity.
Frankly, it wasn’t simple, because sometimes the weather was very hot, but sometimes wet and rainning. Besides, we had a lot of hard work on enough steep slopes.
However, there were no bad memories left in my memories, because we had wonderful time there with creative and kind atmosphere. Also we had enough time for rest in good conditions and visiting interesting places. Of course, I, as a botanists, was excited from field excursions to the Thayatal National Park and several local reserves.
I met a lot of new species for me here. Probably, the most wonderful meeting was with Ranunculus fluitans Lam, which created white aspect in the river.
Also it was unforgettably to see a lot of flowering Cyclamen purpurascens Miller in forests, which started blooming early, than usually.
I have receive valuable experience in the volunteer camp. At the present I am going to apply my new knowledge, skills and experience for my scientific, educational and environmental activities, in particular in the implementation of international and Ukrainian scientific projects and researches, especially in development of the Emerald Network in Ukraine and preparing of management plans for National Natural Parks and Reserves; into new approaches to promote and enhance botanical knowledge, lobbying for the creation of new protected areas etc.
I am taking part in a volunteer camp in summer or autumn 2018 for sure. If you wonder it too, please, visit the database of forthcoming camps and to choose for yourself.