Our Slovenian host Bojan had arranged for a cultural exchange evening where three ladies from the Society of Rural Women volunteered to teach four of us how to cook traditional Slovenian dishes, while three more were taught by the remaining three Scots how to make traditional Scottish dishes. This all went smoothly and during this hour, the wonderful ladies from the Society of Rural Women had been busy putting together the final touches for the meal and were ready right on cue to bring out the food. We took it in turn to stand with our respective teacher/pupil to talk through the dish produced – Gordon gave a brilliant introduction to the haggis! And that was it; we tucked in and ate and talked with various people, we taught many of them the dance Strip The Willow with varying success, although everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. In return we were taught a traditional Slovenian dance – in comparison it was very tame and a good way to wind down the evening!
The area of Norway we visited has a number of large herbivores present in its woodlands. These include Moose, red and roe deer, with Reindeer found further north. Looking at the sites we visited their impact on the regeneration of the forests seems to be minimal, despite the fact that pinus spp. are generally prone to browsing damage. In contrast to scotland where these herbivores are generally treated as a pest in forestry terms, in Norway they are treated as a valuable forest resource, giving an valuable annual income from the sale of shooting rights and meat/skins. (up to £2800/moose for meat alone). The only area where we saw a substantial impact on forestry was in areas where the moose were fed in the winter. Winter feeding is carried out to draw the animals away from the valleys and roads in winter, and this increase in densty in the feeding areas has had a major impact on the regeneration of trees.
A NATURE EXCHANGE VISIT TO ICELAND IN JUNE 2012 This is a personal report on a visit to Skalanes Natural and Heritage Centre 17-23 June 2012. The visit was promoted and organised by the ARCH Trainer Exchange (Nature Exchange 9) and funded by the Leonardo da Vinci programme of the European Commission. Flying from Glasgow to […]
The itinerary for our visit was researched and organised by two students from Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) as part of their forestry degree studies where they also acted as guides, a source of information, interpreters and looked after the group on a daily basis during our stay. A group of six professionals from Scotland with mixed specialism’s within conservation from Government bodies, consultants, volunteers and ranger naturalists visited Finland where a dissemination of information was exchanged and discussions took place. The itinerary was as such that allowed for both lectures from specialists in their field and a follow up visit to sites to see some of the scientific work being carried out. The program was mixed and as such most elements appealed to the interests and disciplines of the group. This allowed for the group to discuss some issues as a group and where comparisons were drawn from a Scottish conservation perspective.
Cyprus 26th March – 3rd April Report by Alan Mitchell We arrived at Pafos airport on Saturday evening and drove to the hillside village of Pano Lefkara, about 70 miles to the east. The essence of our tour was to study the changes occurring to the landscape due to changes in land-use practices and […]
This year we have programmes for Romania, Iceland, Norway, Latvia, Slovakia, France, Slovenia and Bulgaria. 6 people from Scotland will go to each country, spending 7-8 days participating in workshops, site visits, hands-on activities and seminars. This is intended to be an intellectual exchange – European partners will come to Scotland, but you are not obliged to […]
The objective of the Nature Exchange visit to eastern Slovakia was to provide opportunities for those who are involved in training in Scotland to exchange experience and best practice of nature conservation through the framework of the ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ programme of the European Commission. The Nature Exchange visit was organised and co-ordinated by Archnetwork and delivered in Slovakia by Krajina, a small private company which works in eco-tourism, Community Development and Cultural Management.
I was impressed by the Latvian stance of only planting native trees for timber production and in particular the way their native species list and climate allows for timber production and native woodland habitats to coexist under the same canopy over such vast tracts of land. I certainly felt very lucky to be able to learn about the effects of the fall of the iron curtain from people that were there when it fell, and of the management issues of such a massive land border, and even occasional visiting Bears in a way that no documentary or lecture could ever match.