The first volunteer programme in 2023 at Krka National Park, called Indigenous Species and Habitat Protectors, was held from 1 to 10 September. The programme brought together volunteers and experts, and the aim was to combat the spread of Tree of Heaven, an invasive alien species, and to raise awareness of the need to preserve the natural heritage.
The volunteer programme Indigenous Species and Habitats Protectors attracted widespread attention of volunteers and experts in the field of nature conservation. The call for participation was published on the official website of Krka National Park, and on the dedicated website for volunteering in Croatian Parks. The call for participation was also forwarded to institutions involved in volunteering and to education institutions.
The volunteers participated in a range of activities in Krka National Park aimed at combatting Tree of Heaven, an invasive plant species that represents a serious threat to native ecosystems. These activities included educational workshops, demonstration of methods to remove Tree of Heaven in the field, and removal of shoots of Tree of Heaven at certain locations in the Park.
The volunteers invested significant efforts in combatting this tree species at the locations Skradinski buk, on the Skradin road, in Skradin and Remetić, at Roški slap, and in Oćestovo. Thousands of shoots of Tree of Heaven were removed, thereby giving a strong contribution to the project “Life Contra Ailanthus” and to nature conservation in general, particularly in preserving the natural heritage of Krka National Park.
The aim of the project is to prevent the further spread of Tree of Heaven and to raise awareness of the negative impacts of invasive species. This was achieved thanks to the hard work of volunteers, and thanks to their good understanding of the issues involving invasive species and methods on how to prevent their spread.
Volunteers had the opportunity to visit a number of locations within Krka National Park to learn more about invasive species and how work is organised in the Park. They also visited the local volunteer fire brigade in Drniš and local family farms to get a better understanding of issues relating to fire protection and the impacts that invasive species have on agriculture and animal husbandry.
The entire programme unfolded with the support of Krka National Park, which organised accommodation and meals for the volunteers in the Volunteer Centre, and local transport around the Park. The coordinators of the volunteer programmes, Doris Banić and Katarina Bilušić, ensured that all activities were organised in line with the Volunteer Act. The volunteers passed through a selection process and training and were insured against any accidents.
Evaluation of the programme showed that the volunteers were very satisfied with the programme, education, and coordinators. They expressed their interest to continue cooperation and to take part in future conservation activities.
Krka National Park thanks the volunteers who participated in the programme Indigenous Species and Habitats Protector and looks forward to future initiatives aimed at conserving nature and protecting the indigenous species that inhabit the Park area.
*photo and text: npkrka.hr