STP participants went for a long-awaited trip to the Podlasie region. It is important for us to show Poland to the students from Belarus, Ukraine and Russia from the angle of various meetings and a variety of regions.
We went on a three-hour coach trip to the Bug River valley in Sarnaki (the most eastward district of Mazowsze) and had a meeting dedicated to forestry. In the local forest district office we were greeted by surveillance engineer Tadeusz Charkiewicz. Our participants were introduced to the range of Sarnaki Forestry Commission and the structure of forest administration in Poland.
Then, it was time to get to know the species of trees that can be found in East-Central Europe. The forest district office provided us with information materials while we were visiting the Manor House of Podczaski, where the headquarters of the office is located.
Next, we went to the nursery and got to know the system of planting saplings. Then, we moved to the nature reserve in Mierzwice. Tadeusz Charkiewicz showed us natural monuments, animal sanctuaries and retention reservoires, drawing our attention to the natural process of forest renewal, and informed of the importance of water management for nature, telling how easy it is to unsettle it. Towards the end of the meeting, while watching the flow of the Bug River, we saw a National Geographic-like scene. A large osprey repeatedly plunged into water to catch a fish. After this show, the surveillance engineer answered the questions of our participants. They asked about the structure of the State Forests, financing, economic policy of the organisation and hunting.
After the meeting, we went for dinner served by our hosts.
The farm in Franopol is picturesquely located between the fields near the Bug River. We discussed the countries from which our participants come. We played pun and mafia game until late night hours.
Study Tours to Poland was launched in 2004 and is part of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation’s “Region in Transition – RITA” Program, conducted since 2000 by the Education for Democracy Foundation. The Jan Nowak-Jeziorański College of Eastern Europe from Wrocław has been the STP coordinator since 2007. The “Borussia” Foundation from Olsztyn coordinates STP for students. The study visit from 17 to 29 April 2012 is conducted by Common Europe Foundation, the parent foundation of our portal Eastbook.eu.
Translated by Marta Lityńska