On the project

On May 1, 2014 Podlaska Regional Tourist Organization [Podlaska Regionalna Organizacja Turystyczna] started the implementation of the “Protection of white stork in the area of Podlaskie White Stork Trail through an information and education campaign” [“Ochrona bociana białego na obszarze Podlaskiego Szlaku Bocianiego poprzez kampanię informacyjno-edukacyjną”] project co-financed by the Small Grants Fund of “Protection of biological and ecosystems diversity” PL02 Program within European Economic Area Grants 2009-2014. The Association for Sustainable Development Agro-Group [Stowarzyszenie na rzecz Ekorozwoju „Agro-Group”] is the project’s contents partner.

Total project cost: 444 576 PLN.
Awarded co-financing: 400 118 PLN.
Project implementation dates: 01.05.2014 – 31.12.2015

The main objective of the project is raising social awareness concerning the significance of White Stork protection, especially in the areas valuable in terms of nature, including the Podlaskie White Stork Trail. The project’s aim is to show the importance of biodiversity and endangered species protection by means of an information and promotion campaign meant for a wide target group.
The project target group comprises travel agency employees, journalists, primary- and middle-school teachers and students from the areas surrounding the Podlaskie White Stork Trail.
Organization of the conference to inaugurate the project, which takes place alongside with White Stork’s Day celebrations, is the first project activity. The conference is scheduled for June 5, 2014 in Pentowo which, together with Tykocin, was granted the name of European Stork Village. Among other things, the concept of creating a tourist offer in the areas valuable in terms of nature, including the Podlaskie White Stork Trail, will be presented at the conference. There will also be two lectures: White stork Ciconia ciconia – problems and protection of the species” [“Bocian biały Ciconia ciconia –  problemy i ochrona gatunku”] and “Creating tourist offer in the areas valuable in terms of nature: the Podlaskie White Stork Trail [“Tworzenie oferty turystycznej na obszarach przyrodniczo cennych: Podlaski Szlak Bociani”], aiming at raising awareness of the significance of species protection activities in order to preserve biodiversity, and at emphasizing the role of National Parks in promoting sustainable exploitation of the areas valuable in terms of nature.
After the conference, the participants will go to Narew National Park to the Śliwno-Waniewo Footbridge nature trail, which shows the majority of ecosystems in the park. Within the project, there will also be seminars organized for tour operators, journalists, and bloggers from Poland and Germany. The main objective of holding seminars is to arouse interest in the subject of protection and behavior of White Stork and to show the area of the Podlaskie White Stork Trail as a place famous for housing the largest concentration of storks in Europe, with particular focus on its unique natural value, and to familiarize the participants with the rules of sustainable development of tourism in protected areas.
The project also entails the organization of events and promotional activities under the banner of “Podlaskie: Stork Paradise”, which will take place, for example, in Łódź, Białystok, Katowice, Warsaw and Lublin. The promotional activities, stalls, and their arrangement will have ecological character, and at the same time, they will be connected with the protection of the white stork species. The aim of the events is to develop ecological attitudes and awareness of the need for biodiversity protection. To achieve this goal, promotional materials will be presented and distributed by hostesses wearing white stork costumes.
There will be a series of workshops for teachers and youths from the areas of the Podlaskie White Stork Trail. Their aim is to teach the local people about the unique character of the area they live in, habitats of the white stork, its behavior, and protection methods.
A “Podlaskie: Stork Paradise” folder and leaflets, which will be a collection of tourist offers, focused mainly on nature tourism, will be published. The material will include one-day, weekend and one-week offers of spending time in an active way. At the same time, the publication will be an opportunity for broadening the knowledge of nature and the white stork behavior on the Podlaskie White Stork Trail, which runs through the whole Podlaskie Voivodeship. There will be also information on the principles of tourism in the protected areas and areas valuable in terms of nature, on the white stork species protection, and on the natural richness of Podlaskie Voivodeship. An information and promotion website will be created in the Polish and English languages, and at the end of the project, there will be a press conference.By means of EEA Funds and Norwegian Funds, Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway contribute to reducing social and economic inequalities and to the strengthening bilateral relations with beneficiary states in Europe. These three countries cooperate closely with the EU on the basis of European Economic Area Agreement (EEA Agreement).For 2009 – 2014, the amount of EEA Funds and Norwegian Funds is 1.79 billion EUR. Norway provides approximately 97 % of the total funding. The funds are available for non-governmental organizations, research institutions, and higher education facilities of public and private sectors in 12 new Member States of the EU as well as Greece, Portugal, and Spain. Broad cooperation with the entities from the benefactor states takes place within the funds, and the activities may be implemented until the year 2016.

The most important areas of support include environmental protection and climate changes, research and scholarships, civil society, health care and support for children, gender equality, justice and cultural heritage.