PEATS Slovakia – Eco Tourism at Sahy

CLOSED

Dates: 10th April -11th May 2017
Number of Participants: 6
Duration: 4 weeks

The PEATS placement in Slovakia is hosted by Grampus’s long-term partner, the Ipel Union. This NGO was formed in 1992 and has as its primary objective the management of the natural and cultural assets of the Ipel river water catchment. The placement is based in the small south Slovakian village of Ipel’ský Sokolec, near to the Hungarian border.

The placement has several main parts:

1. In the village there is a recently established community forest of oak, ash, cherry, willow, hornbeam, field maple, tartar maple, poplar and lime, planted by visitors working with local school children. Attached to the forest is a very small tree nursery. The young forest is to be weeded and have a series of paths established. There is also a survey needed of the flora and fauna.

2. Between the village and the local town of Šahy, there is a forest of Robinia psuedoaccacia containing a forest spring, with picnic benches. The forest was recently coppiced and the spring choked with brushwood. The spring is to be cleared and the picnic benches restored.

3. Close to Šahy and along the Ipel river, which forms the border with Hungary, there is a RAMSAR (wetland) site, managed by the Ipel Union and containing bird-hides, a path and footbridges. After high water in winter, there is routine maintenance work to be carried out to the infrastructure. The RAMSAR is important for birds and fish and there is an opportunity to observe wildlife and undertake simple survey work.

The itinerary will depend largely on the weather during the participants stay.

A cultural programme includes the opportunity to go camping further north in Slovakia in the Low or High Tatras. There are also cultural visits to Esztergom in Hungary, which is a historical town dating from Roman times and with an impressive Roman Catholic basilica and Banska Stiavnica, a UNESCO World Heritage town established in the Medieval period by German miners.

There are some interesting local hiking opportunities, including the 32 kilometre trail, which is mainly through oak forest, to the medieval ruined Cabrad castle. Typical animals in the forest here include red deer, roe deer, wild boar and beech marten with lynx in the adjacent Ipoly Duna National Park (over the river in Hungary). There is the opportunity to visit this Park and meet the ranger. The local people are friendly and welcoming and are chiefly ethnic Hungarians. Although Slovakian is the official language, Hungarian is more often spoken on a daily basis in the village. During their stay in the village participants might also visit various local vegetable gardens and learn about sustainable food production – and buy produce from villagers. There is also local honey and wine production. Participants will fly to Budapest in neighbouring Hungary and be transferred by taxi into Slovakia. Usually towards the end of the placement, it is possible to spend a couple of days sightseeing in Budapest.

Participants on this placement will need good outdoor footwear and waterproofs. The climate has a very hot summer and cold winter with a short autumn and spring. Insect repellent is required because much of the land is swampy and low-lying. A phrasebook with Hungarian as well as Slovakian is recommended; some local people speak German as a second language. English is spoken by young people but not usually by older people.

The Ipel river is good for swimming (with care- always heed local advice) and fishing.

Funding

The EU Erasmus + funding will cover return UK flights, insurance, accommodation and food. Participants will need extra funds for personal purchases and excursions.

If this placement interests you, then please read through the information on the PEATS environmental main page . You will find the application form is available to download on this page, as is the “Quality Commitment” which all applicants have to read.

For past participants feedback, please refer to the Participants Report page.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission

This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.