Informative and Educational Centre „Drava Story“ in Noskovci, close to Virovitica in Croatia, was the venue for the 4th Working Group and Steering Group Meeting of the Dare to Connect project. Representatives of project partners gathered to evaluate the work done on the project and to plan and agree further steps.
The main meeting took place on November 29, 2019. In the beginning Peter Schulenkorf, the lead project manager, summarized project‘s progress since the last meeting in Czech republic in early May. In general, the project runs well,there have been small delays but they are already solved.
The floor was taken by representatives of Vienna University, the leader of the Working Package 3. Thomas Vrbka, Markus Pöchtrager and Stefan Fuchs thoroughly presented work and outcomes of the working package 3 (the Vienna University is the leader). In addition to the most recent findings of interconnection gaps in eco corridors of the Green Belt, they also explained the ecosystem services evaluation methods they have developed and will be used in pilot regions..
An important part of meeting was devoted to creation of a European Green Belt vision after the project. This was done creatively by all project partners in three thematic areas – nature protection, cultural heritage and socio-economical development. It was a very interesting exercise that contributed not only to creating a vision but also to realizing the priorities and interests of the project itself. It has been clearly defined that, despite its importance for nature, EGB is also crucial for economic and social aspects of development, not only in nature, but also in the human activities that make up the EGB regions and agriculture, tourism and other activities can contribute to sustainable use of regions.
A study field trip was on the agenda in a second day of the meeting. It started by cycling ride along the Drava river, right next to the lowland forest. Then the participants visited one of the dead arms of the river. The once vital watercourse is now a beautiful and picturesque lake with many opportunities for fishing and recreation. Next site was very interesting – the area of the village Križnica, which is located on the left, „Hungarian“ site of the river and it isstill area of Croatia. It is accessible only by a pedestrian bridge and ferry and it is a popular holiday destination. Then participants visited the memorial house of writer Petar Preradović in Grabrovnica to see the exposition and talk with a manager about the functioning of the monument.
An important part of project meetings are not only working but also informal talks and discussions, which was possible thanks to the common dinners on both days of the meeting.
The meeting of Working Group and Steering Group Meeting in Croatia fits very well within the project framework. Working on work packages is going on full steam and such coordinating at personal meeting are exactly what is needed as far not everything is possible to discuss via e-mails and calls.
Next D2C project meeting will be held in Spring 2020 in the Iron Gates Natural Park in Romania.
Peter Schulenkorf presents the project progress
Markus Pöchtrager presents progress of the WP3
Work on the European Green Belt vision:
The host Tatiana Arnold Sabo presents the Drava River region:
Bicycle trip was also a place of discussions about the project topics (Thomas Wrbka and Peter Puchala at the Drava River bank):
Meeting participants at the Drava River bank: