Czech Union for Nature Conservation (ČSOP)
ČSOP is a civic association of people who share an active interest in nature conservation and the environment. Our mission is to protect and restore nature, the landscape and the environment, to promote environmental education and support sustainable living.
The range of our activities is very broad. Among others, we manage valuable natural sites, carry out biological field research and surveys, we strive to preserve the richness of plant and animal life in the Czech Republic, we work with children and youth as well as with the general public, we provide care for injured or otherwise handicapped wildlife, participate in administrative decision-making processes, and cooperate in the preservation of cultural heritage.
The Union has existed since 1979 and its members come from the ranks of professional naturalists, experienced volunteers as well as pure enthusiasts who simply love nature. In around 350 local chapters all over the Czech Republic there are almost 7 thousand adult members and over 2 thousand children organized in groups of Young Environmentalists. ČSOP also registers hundreds of individual members.
ČSOP is a member of IUCN and is a founding member of the UNEP Czech National Committee.
Preservation and restoration of biodiversity, management of rare biotopes and conservation of threatened plant and animal species are all part of the Union’s mission. Our members carry out surveys of occurrence of various plant and animal species as well as many other support measures focused on particular species. Every year ČSOP supports hundreds of smaller projects implemented by dozens of local chapters of the Union and other civic associations. Some programs are also open to individuals.
Land trusts are voluntary, non-profit organizations that are focused on nature and monument protection.
Land trusts take care of the properties they possess or they perform their activities in cooperation with the owners of the properties, through contracts or agreements. Regular and long-term care for the land or buildings is very important.
Land Trust is not a separate legal entity in our legal concept, but it functions as one of the activities of a nonprofit organisation either within or outside the Czech Union for Nature Conservation.
The history and the present of land trusts in the Czech Republic
The modern history of land trusts in the Czech Republic started in the nineties of the 20th century, when, inspired by similar movement in Western contries, the tradition kept in the pre-communist era was restored.
Until now the land trust movement has evolved and stabilized. At present it exchanges experience with foreign organizations and it is ready to transfer information to the interested organizations.
Czech Union for Nature Conservation covers and coordinates movement of land trusts in the Czech Republic, it plays role of the National Land Trust.
The Council of National Land Trust gives land trusts the accreditation for their prestige and guarantees.
Now there are around 60 land trusts throughout the Czech Republic. You can see maps, list and more details about land trusts at: http://www.csop.cz/psfront
A Place for Nature
The goal of the campaign is to raise public awareness of threatened natural sites and to fundraise resources in order to purchase important endangered sites or landmarks.
Some of the basic types of lands that can be purchased are valuable natural sites threatened with imminent danger (such as forest clearing, wetland drainage, flowering meadow plowing) or sites, which are suitable for restoration (restoration of a stream, establishment of bio–centers and bio–corridors)
Finances to purchase these lands are largely supplied by the public fundraiser.
After being purchased, the lands become a legal property of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation, the campaign warrantee. Lands are further looked after by local Land Trusts.
The campaign has been launched in 2003. So far, 119.6 hectares of land on 27 sites have been purchased.
Give a piece of nature.
For more details on the campaign go on www.mistoproprirodu.cz
People come across a large number of injured, sick, exhausted, orphaned or otherwise handicapped wild animals. Injuries often happen as a consequence of human activities such as rapid urbanization, landscape exploitation, transportation network development, civil engineering, energetics, etc.
Rescue of injured or otherwise handicapped wild animals has been a permanent, integral part of ČSOP agenda. Wild Animal Rescue center workers provide all injured animals with a professional–level care.
National Network of Rescue Centers
National Network of Rescue Centers is a unique project that ensures animal rescue throughout the area of the Czech Republic. This project originated in 1997 and has been arched over by ČSOP.
Rescue centers are associated in the National Network. Each center covers a designated area, which doesn’t overlap with any the other ones. Altogether these areas of activity cover the area of the entire country.
Any rescue center is obligated to provide each found handicapped animal with a complex care including first aid, vet treatment, therapy and rehabilitation. Ideally, the rescue center releases the animal back to the wild.
To date, National Network of Rescue Centers is comprised of 32 rescue centers. Their list, contacts and areas of activity are available at the project’s website www.zvirevnouzi.cz (so far in the Czech language version only). The website provides information about the closest rescue center if an injured animal is encountered. Rescue Center employees also provide advice on how to handle an injured animal and how to proceed further. Depending on the situation, the animal may be either handed over to one of the centers or picked up by one of the employees on call.
Rescue centers in National Network admit around 20,000 injured animals annually. Over 50 % out of these are fit to be returned back to the wild.
Handicapped animals that cannot be released back to the wild are sheltered at one of the rescue centers, where they remain in permanent care obtaining exhibition and educational role for rescue center visitors.
Activities of rescue centers associated in National Network further include:
• Rescue transfers (for animals threatened by human activities)
• Education and enlightenment of the public, organization of school events
Animal in Need
Wild animal rescue and care are extremely financially consuming. The work provided by rescue centers is funded from a variety of resources including the public funds, private companies and individual donors. One of the important resources for funding is the public fundraiser campaign Animal in Need that was initiated by Czech Union for Nature Conservation.
Goals of Animal in Need campaign include:
• raising public awareness of high financial costs associated with care of injured animals
• allowing the public to actively participate and support rescue centers
• raising public awareness of the main causes of animal injuries
The public can contribute by sending gifts to the fund account 33 55 33 22/0800 or by sending a donation DMS. Gifts may be either donated to a specific rescue center or to the general fund. In case of the latter, resources are then redistributed among all the centers in National Network. Up to CZK 1,000,000 is collected from donor gifts each year.
Children and youth programs
Systematic work with children and youth is an important part of ČSOP activities. Over 1,300 members below the age of 18 are active in almost 60 groups of Young Environmentalists. These groups organize in cooperation with local chapters of ČSOP activities focused on learning about nature and nature conservation. Young Environmentalist groups operate in all regions of the country. They meet regularly, go on educational nature and sightseeing trips, help with animal surveys, take part in voluntary management fieldwork, organize summer camps, public events etc. The leaders of the Young Environmentalists are volunteers working with the children in their free time.
Registration, promotion, methodological and financial support of work with children and youth is provided by the ČSOP Association of Young Environmentalists. The Association is active on the national level and offers individual groups a range of different activities to participate in. Among others, these include national contests Green Trail – Golden Leaf or Environmental Olympics organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, photo competition Views of Nature co-organized by the Forests of the Czech Republic enterprise, or the year-round contest Silver Thread. The Association also publishes a methodological bulletin and materials focused on work with children and on environmental education.
The Association organizes regular courses for Young Environmentalist leaders as a part of a comprehensive Leader Qualification system. The topics include safety, first aid and health care, methodology of year-round and camp-based work with children, basics of pedagogy and psychology, and essentials of accounting and organization-related legal issues. Other specialized courses and opportunities for exchange of experience are also offered.
Environmental education serves as a means to explain our work to the general public, and to inform it about the state of nature and the environment. ČSOP Eco-centers, established by local chapters and their associations, provide an important channel for communicating with the public. The wide range of activities organized by these centers includes work with schools, public events, contests and excursions, editing and publishing work, eco-counseling, and cooperation with state administration and local communities. The centers earn accreditation in four areas according to their focus: public education, teaching, general education and counseling.
The aim of the Living Garden project is to address garden owners and stimulate their interest in various animal species living (or potentially living) in their gardens, on their property or around their homes. Through the program we hope to motivate the interested public to adapt their gardens to the needs of wildlife. This contest has been joined by many individuals and schools reporting from a total of 1100 gardens.
Clean Up the World
ČSOP has been coordinating the Czech campaign of Clean Up the World since its inception.
Clean Up the World
Clean Up the World is an international campaign that encourages public to actively participate in care of their surrounding environment by organizing clean up events of their neighborhoods, parks, paths, river banks and streams, protected areas and eradications of illegal dumping sites.
The purpose of the campaign is not only to clean up, but also to raise public interest in the state of the environment and engage various interest groups, schools, private companies or municipalities or individuals in an active approach towards the environment.
The campaign was adopted in the Czech Republic in 1993 and is coordinated by the Czech Union for Nature Conservation ever since. About 35 millions of volunteers from more than 130 countries participate in the campaign annually.
ČSOP publishes a variety of printed materials, such as informational brochures, educational leaflets or specialized handbooks in ČSOP’s methodological series. The membership magazine Beauty of Our Homeland comes out twice a year. Many publications and materials are published also by various local chapters of the Union.