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Volunteer programs in parks have been available in their current form since last year. The attractiveness of nature-related activities is clearly seen in the results achieved so far – in only several months, almost 300 volunteers "donated" over 10,000 hours, i.e. over 1,200 workdays of volunteering through various programs.

There are 27 programs open for applications so far. Activities that volunteers can get involved in include polling of visitors and the provision of information to them; data collection on species and habitats and their conservation; elimination of invasive species; maintenance of botanical garden, olive groves, dry stone walls and trails; preservation of traditional crafts; activities aimed at improving the trail infrastructure and the environment; care for domestic animals; waste collection; support in organizing various events; nature photography. Over 40 trained coordinators and their deputies from public institutions have been engaged in the development and management of volunteer programs, and all programs are aligned with park management plans.

Among the currently open programs, those that particularly stand out include the Dry Stone Wall Mason program in Vransko Jezero Nature Park; Educational Trail Renovation program in Velebit Nature Park; Traditional Gardener program in Lonjsko Polje Nature Park that will begin as early as in April. Other programs include the Visitor Opinion Survey program in Krka National Park and Mljet National Park; Shingler program in Risnjak National Park, and many others. For the comprehensive list of available volunteer programs and online application form, please visit: http://volonteri.parkovihrvatske.hr/hr/.     

Parks of Croatia

National Geographic Hrvatska predstavlja nacionalne parkove i parkove prirode u Hrvatskoj - Reportaža o Nacionalnom parku Plitvička jezera

UNDP-ov projekt PARCS u suradnji s National Geographic Hrvatska predstavlja svih devetnaest nacionalnih parkova i parkova prirode u Hrvatskoj kroz serijal tekstova. U travnju je objavljena priča o Nacionalnom parku Plitvička jezera. Krški dragulj Hrvatske među prvima je UNESCO uvrstio na popis svjetske prirodne baštine. Sustav od šesnaest jezera međusobno povezanih slapovima nikoga ne ostavljaju ravnodušnim. Sedra je čudotvorni graditelj ovog mjesta za kojeg su mnogi zapisli na listu mjesta koje se mora vidjeti bar jednom u životu. A ljepota i povijest plitvičkoga kraja u potpunoj su suprotonosti, oksimoron bez premca.

U kartama je ovaj kraj upisan kao "hortus diabolus", vražji vrtal - a razlog je burna i opasna povijest. Za vrijeme turskih osvajanja mnoga su sela nerijetko i desetljećima bila prazna. Bio je ovo prostor opasnog življenja pod turskim najezdama, a krš je bio nerijetko zaklon hajducima i hajdučkim skupinama. Tirkizna jezera redom su dobila ime po nesretnim događajima, uglavnom utapljanjima nesretnika koji su bježeći od neprijatelja skončala upravo u njima - barem tako kažu legende. Plitvička jezera prvi su proglašeni Nacionalni park u Hrvatskoj i od proglašenja do danas, čini se, prvi koji će navesti njezini stanovnici pitate li o parkovima Hrvatske. 

Autor fotografije: Dario Štefančić

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