Implemented by Eko-svest in the period between November 2021 and June 2022
Eko-svest in partnership with Natura MK initiated a project to apply “citizen science” in the Monument of Nature Vevchani springs. The main aim was to identify and map plant species, which will enable better monitoring and protection of forests in this protected area. In this process, the engagement of local volunteers, as well as visitors, was key. As an approach, citizen science is based on the observation and recording made by citizens and is applied to gather data that can be also used by scientists.
Throughout the project, we made the mobile application iNaturalist available in Macedonian and used it to record the presence and distribution of sweet chestnut, European beech, and oak trees in the protected area.
Over a period of 8 months, we organised:
- Training for 20 volunteers to identify and map important tree species and follow up mapping field visits in the protected area.
- Educational visits to the protected area for 60 students and teachers from the municipal primary school “Strashno Pindzur”, Vevchani.
- Educational workshop for 30 students from the primary school “Kocho Racin”, Ohrid.
Three instruction manuals for the identification of beech, oak and chestnut were also developed. These are species that can be seen in the Monument of Nature and are important to monitor due to the natural processes and changes in the forests that represent a significant part of this protected area. Info boards were placed in the protected areas with a QR code so the application can be downloaded and used by visitors and nature enthusiasts. In this way, they can also feel a part of a greater community that contributes to nature protection. An educational handbook was also prepared for use primarily by teachers in outdoor activities with their students.
Our lessons learned report was shared with the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning as well as the protected area manager- the Municipality of Vevchani so the findings and lessons can be applied in other nature protection activities and in other protected areas in the country.
Useful links: https://ekosvest.com.mk/…/06/detski_priracnik_2022_2.pdf