“Our Landscape” is a new thematic area at Via Foundation that builds on our earlier support of projects that have a positive impact on the environment, help retain water in the landscape or preserve or re-introduce the natural landscape character of a given area. In all of these projects, we strive to support community engagement – the common thread in all of work – by helping people involve as many local residents as possible and experience for themselves how projects like this can forge new ties between people.
Environmental stewardship projects
Local residents in Hostim and the Kunicky Forest area will plant trees. In Hostim, a local group plans on renewing an allee of trees that used to border a path leading to the woods but was later chopped down. In the Kunicky Forest, residents will clean up an area, remove old and hazardous vegetation, combat the beetle calamity and plant new trees. Both projects will also result in new rest spots where neighbors, including long-time residents and newcomers, can relax and meet.
At the foothills of the White Carpathian mountains, an educational natural area is under development. The site includes an orchard, meadow and field that is intended for visitors of all ages, who can use the site to gather, work, learn and relax. The natural area is emerging gradually through the efforts of local residents and experts, who are planting fruit trees and herbal plants and establishing a meadlow. They also plan on building an insect hotel, bee hive and other sites for creatures that people will be able to observe in a natural setting.
Insects look for habitat in cities as well as villages! The Friends of the Nusel Stairs association has founded a public garden in Prague that contains perennials and shrubs and its members are watering and caring for the plants. Their stewardship has turned the Nusel Stairs into a beautifully colorful place that buzzes like a flowering meadow in the springtime.
Along with these community projects, we supported a “Our Landscape” Fast Grant to protect the Žabák wetland, which is located on a municipal property near Lysa nad Labem. The city sold the property for the symbolic price of one Czech crown to the Central Bohemia Regional Authority, which plans to build a training centre for rescue workers. The large-scale construction project, which would include a parking lot, would endanger an existing wetland and potentially contaminate water flowing from fish ponds to the Elbe River. Local residents and civic associations, experts and institutions such as the Ministry of the Environment and the Agency for Nature and Landscape Preservation have raised objections. The aim of this Fast Grant project is to obtain an expert study that will help convince the city leadership and Central Bohemia Regional Authority to abandon the planned project and preserve the wetland.
We will hold one more call for Our Landscape projects in 2020 to support neighborly projects that aim to revitalize the natural landscape character, such as:
-Planting of allees or fruit trees at public spaces
-Creation of ponds and wetlands
-Clean-up and restoration of neglected springs and wells
-Restoration of rows of shrubs between fields
Thanks for reading and stay tuned – we will bring you the results of the call in the autumn!