In June BioFokus had a visit from a delegation of Czech NGOs. We had a meeting at Forskningsparken with mutual presentations of activities and fields of work, and an afternoon with a field trip to Hovedøya.
The Czech expedition to Norway was organized by the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation, which is a foundation that coordinates and supports Chech NGOs that work with environmental issues and sustainable development. The trip was financed within the frame of the EEA and Norway Grants. These grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to reducing economic and social disparities and to strengthening bilateral relations with 16 EU countries in Central and Southern Europe.
The Czech delegation consisted of 17 persons representing 16 different Czech NGOs. Many of these NGOs are local or regional action groups from different parts of the country, but there are also some larger and more widespread organizations like Czech society for ornithology and Friends of the earth. These NGOs work with very different topics: From nature conservation, mapping of habitats and wildlife, via tree planting, water management, urban gardening, rescue stations for injured animals and promoting organic waste separation, to environmental education for children and outdoor kindergartens.
In Norway this expedition has made a small round trip, visiting among other places Oslo and Lillehammer, and having meetings with other Norwegian NGOs and institutes within the field of environmental issues and education. The aim of the visit has been to get inspiration, to see how things are done in Norway, to get new ideas, and possibly to make contacts for further cooperation.
As most of BioFokus were already out in the field we could only manage to produce two persons to welcome our visitors. However, the meeting was very interesting and nice, with a lot of discussion and questions. It was interesting to see that, although economic, political and geographical conditions are quite different, a lot of the challenges in working within our field are similar in the two countries. For us in BioFokus it was especially interesting and impressive to hear about the massive and comprehensive effort and resources that have been put into making a more or less total mapping of important habitats in the Czech republic.
The trip to Hovedøya was made in order to see valuable habitats and to discuss management measures. This was done, and the academic pay-off of the trip was good. However, the pure pleasure of visiting a beautiful island in the fjord, was not lost on any of us. After heavy rain the day before, the weather turned out to be very nice with sunshine and fair temperatures. For our Czech friends the experience of the fjord, the seashore and the salty water seemed to have a special aura.
The representatives of BioFokus very much enjoyed and learned from this meeting with the Czech delegation. We thank our Czech friends for the visit and hope we meet again.
Final note: Within the frame of the EEA and Norway Grants BioFokus is also involved in a nature conservation project together with a regional NGO in the Czech republic. This coming week two employees from BioFokus are travelling to the Czech republic to aid in mapping of species within 10 nature sites with management plans in the region of Vlasim. More information on this will come later.