Nature is best explored regionally, and when it comes to Pobiedziska, that region is the Ostrowska Castle area. In care for this area, the „Ostrowska Castle” Association was established in 2014, uniting all those for whom this region is close to their hearts. Education has been an important aspect of the association’s activity from its inception. The popularization of science and expeditions to nature reserves around Pobiedziska began with the Young Naturalists group. Since 2015, it has been possible to join the Young Naturalists Academy. These are regular classes for children and teenagers from various places. As the first organization, we proposed a formula for regular scientific meetings, which focus on learning about one’s region, showing the diversity of species, habitats, and interconnections on our planet. We know how important the education of the youngest children is, therefore the Very Young Naturalists Academy for children aged 3 to 6 was established. A very important aspect of education in both academies is conducting classes in the field, modeled on Finnish outdoor education patterns.

Nature Heroes Support Education

In 2017, from all species present in the region, we decided to highlight special representatives of our nature. We came up with the idea of conducting a plebiscite, which would select the symbols of nature for this part of Poland. Unique, fascinating animals (the hazel dormouse, the red mason bee), two plant species (the common comfrey, sea holly) as well as representatives of two types of fungi – ascomycetes: the Austrian peziza and the shiny cup fungus, and basidiomycetes – the peculiar type of earthstar were chosen. From that moment, education accelerated onto new tracks. The symbols of the region have become the theme of numerous activities aimed at popularizing these organisms, their habitats, the impact of climate change, and the management of the area as a natural heritage. Models of natural symbols of the region allow to acquaint oneself with their morphology. Bookmarks with the symbols of the region provide not only illustrations but also various information and curiosities about the plant, animal, and fungal symbols of the region. Since 2024, you can embark on a journey along the trail of unique places and values with the first guide to the Ostrowska Castle area prepared by us.

About Nature in Art Workshops

Art workshops for residents of the region are another valuable way of popularizing knowledge about nature through the natural symbols of the region. At intimate meetings, often preceded by visits in the field, works inspired by patterns from nature are created. Drawing techniques, painting, clay modeling, and burning drawings in wood are used. In special projects of creating educational boards, based on drawings made by residents of a given locality, boards about the symbols of the region occurring in a given locality – in the Pobiedziska municipality you will find them in Kociałkowa Górka, Kołata, and soon in Kocanowo. Such actions allow creating a bond with the nature of one’s vicinity and pride in having valuable refuges nearby.

From Research to Popularization

We have created the region’s first comprehensive database of its nature and culture. We study the natural environment and then use this data also in education. Within the framework of civic science, actions are initiated to collect data on the occurrence of species in the Ostrowska Castle region. Residents provide data on indicated species, which enrich the Natural Database of the Region. On average, you can join us on natural expeditions every month – around this form of exploring the region and meetings with other nature lovers, a community of nature observers is developing, for whom the Ostrowska Castle area is a region being rediscovered anew.

Barbara Kudławiec, Maciej Jędrzejczak, Natalia Jędrzejczak

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