Bringing neighbours closer
Welcome to the Interreg V-A Latvia–Lithuania Programme 2014–2020!About the programme
20 September 2018
On September 19 – 20 this year the practical seminar for natural park and environmental guides took place in Grazute Regional Park in Lithuania in the framework of the project “Development of eco-tourism by using water resources in Latvia and Lithuania”. In seminar participated 28 guides from the project partners’ organisations – Preili, Riebini and Aglona municipalities in Latvia, as well as Moletai, Anyksciai, Panevezys Municipalities and Grazute and Sartu Regional Parks in Lithuania.
The seminar gathered people, who lead cognition tours in free nature, educate natural park visitors and coordinate, plan tourism sphere in municipalities. It was aimed at providing an in-depth understanding of eco-tourism with an emphasis on how to tell visitors about natural issues and processes in a binding and educational way. For the seminar participants to get practical experience, the training took place in free nature on Grazute Regional Park’s Savasa River Nature Trail and the coastal forests and swamps of Antaliepte water body.
Within two days, four educational lectures took place near the water, along with experts from various environmental fields – a geologist, botanist, mycologist and an environmental guide, who demonstrated how to tell visitors about these issues, so that it seemed interesting and binding for people without pre-knowledge, including children. The geologist Dr Grazina Skridlaite, along with the participants of the seminar, walked through the slopes of Savasa River and explained the processes of nature, which in millions of years had formed the particular landscape of nature and left its influence on rocks, soil and terrain. In his turn, the botanist Andrius Gaidamavicus taught to recognize the edible, therapeutic and poisonous plants of forests, meadows and swamps and called for barefoot walking through the swamp, which was a new experience for the most of participants. The participants of the seminar actively engaged in the lecture of Dr Reda Irsenaite, where it was possible not only to learn to distinguish minuscules from other mushrooms, but also to find out about the lesser known types of mushrooms that are found on tree leaves, trunks and deadwood. In a considerable way, the important role of the mushrooms in the substance circulation in the nature was explained. The practical experience, how for children, including class groups, in a binding way through playing and a variety of tasks tell about the diversity of nature, the seminar participants acquired during the “Innovators Valley” nature school lesson.
The local Antaliepte community demonstrated part of its offer for tourists, which includes a theatrical performance on Savasa River Nature Trail on ancient Balts mythology, and shared experiences how to engage the local community in the work with tourists, including people from social risk groups. A representative of the Visagina tourism company “LitWild” told about the unconventional nature tourism offer and led the night ride with kayaks and fatbike or wide tyre bicycles.
According to training participants’ opinion, this exchange of experience may be useful in future work not only in leading tours, but also in future in planning of nature and/or educational paths. In general, participants appreciated the possibility of obtaining not only theoretical but also practical knowledge. The Head of Preili and Riebini Tourism Information Centre (TIC), Iveta Snepste admits: “This training was valuable with the possibility of looking at things from different aspects. In this case, the path of nature along the river was introduced through the prism of the mythological images depicted by geologist, mycologist and local community. This approach – to look more widely – we will also try to use in our TIC work. For example, this year the identification of Preili Park heritage trees has been made, which will be marked in nature, but next year we are planning to develop an educational path along the park’s heritage trees’ places, so the experience gained will certainly be useful for creating a route – educational and interesting for different tastes. I also call on tourist entrepreneurs to assess their offer, perhaps there is an opportunity to supplement it with the opinion or knowledge of another specialist. Increasingly, the TIC visitors are interested in active tourism opportunities for larger or smaller groups, such as families. The creation of a cognition trail in Preili Park or private properties would certainly gain responsiveness. Although the creation of a path cannot be based on the principal income from business, the inclusion of active recreational opportunities in its offer can certainly be considered a good addition and a step forward for competitors! In addition, activities in nature is also a fashion thing for many, and it should be used also in business.”
Project “Development of eco-tourism by using water resources in Latvia and Lithuania” (LEARN ECO TRAVEL) No. LLI-349 is implemented with the support of the Interreg V-A Latvian-Lithuanian programme 2014-2020 from May 2, 2018 till November 1, 2019. The project aims at developing tourism opportunities in Latgale and Aukstaitija, improving recreational sites at water facilities and building new eco-tourism products and services, thereby increasing the number of visitors in the regions of Latvia and Lithuania. The total cost of the project is EUR 618 194,06 – the co-financing of the European Regional Development Fund is EUR 525 464,95 and the co-financing of the project partners – EUR 92 729,11.
More information about the project – www.latlit.eu or www.preili.lv.
This publication has been prepared with the financial support of the European Union. Preili Municipality is entirely responsible for the content of this publication and it is under no circumstances considered to be the official position of the European Union.
Last updated: 16.08.2019 10:00