The Regional Directorate of Environmental Protection (RDEP) organized an informational meeting about our project that was held on Wednesday, April 7. Among the invited guests were many representatives of local townships, State Forests National Forest Holding, Botanical Gardens of the Marie Curie-Skłodowska University (MCSU) in Lublin, Agricultural Advisory Service Centers, as well as the staff of the Lublin RDEP. We were most pleased that despite her many responsibilities, the Director, Ms. Beata Sielewicz, was able to attend. The purpose of the meeting was to present the main objectives of the "Conservation and restoration of xerothermic grasslands in Poland - theory and practice" project to representatives of local communities.
We discussed possible scenarios of carrying out project activities in specific areas with the local community representatives. We tried to foresee potential difficulties and to formulate a general concept of the planned activities to maximize their effectiveness. Among the important issues discussed were:
- conducting environmental education, understood in a broad sense,
- establishing cooperation with several educational institutions,
- utilizing the project to induce mechanisms in local communities that will endure after the project's completion to support the conservation of xerothermic grasslands,
- strengthen cooperation with township authorities to:
- determine the ownership of specific plots of land,
- prepare a campaign presenting the full scope of the project to local residents, taking into consideration the specificity of particular regions,
- organize meetings with landowners,
- promote the benefits that the project can provide to the townships and directly to residents.
In summary, it can be said that improving the status of xerothermic grasslands depends on developing mechanisms to ensure that their conservation is profitable to local residents and included into township development strategies by local officials. In order to achieve this, the implementation plan of the project should be individually adapted to each region.
We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the hosts for organizing this meeting, all the guests for attending and for their valuable comments informing us about the specific conditions existing in particular regions. Thank you!!!