Network of Ponds
of efficient communication between local community and
state institution for restoration of ponds, and their
incorporation into pedagogical processes
Ponds are almost the sole bodies of stagnant water in
the area of Karst and Istria. Consequently, they represented
an important source of water for humans, plants and
animals for centuries.
Building of ponds is tightly connected with the
needs of humans and cattle for permanent source of water.
The ponds are good retainers of water even in the dry
part of a year, and they also purify water. A t the same
time, a network of ponds is an important living environment
for special plant and animal species.
The changes in the life style (permanent water supply,
abandoning of cattle breeding) in the last few decades
have caused drying up of the ponds. Slowly, disappearing
of ponds have also caused disappearance of unique ecosystems
with some specific and rare animal and plant species.
All the ponds in the area are crucially connected into
the network, because plant and animal species, which
are dependant on them, cannot successfully multiply
if the distances between the single ponds are too large.
Photo: Tamara Celhar
|Project and results
A recognition that ponds are important natural and cultural
heritage resulted in numerous initiatives for their restoration
and maintenance that have appeared in the last decade.
Soon after the first ponds were ecologicaly restored,
positive response and good collaboration of local community
encouraged carrying out the project “101 ponds -
stable ecological network” by the Institute of the
Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation, Regional
Office Piran. By the end of 2003, various material about
the ponds was collected and a book “Restoring the
ponds” was published. Book is the result of common
efforts of local community, experts, and some governmental
and non-governmental organisations. The restoration of
ponds continues, because only the network of ponds can
assure long term preservation of biodiversity in the area.
To ensure preservation of ponds in this area it is necessary
to find them new fuinctions. There are the ideas about
including ponds into cultural - tourist offer, especially
if they are close to main tourist and hiking paths. Very
interesting are also initiatives about including the ponds
into pedagogical and science-research processes. Ponds
that are close to primary and high schools can serve as
open laboratories: pupils can directly encounter water
and waterside plants and animals, study characteristics
of food chain, recognise human impacts on environment,
carry out various physical and chemical experiments, observe
water circle, learn methods of terrain work, etc. Ponds
can serve as efficient teaching tools, where pupils can
learn directly from their own experience by observing
the richness and complexity of nature. Knowledge received
through direct experiences is much more efficient then
the knowledge children get from books or from lectures.
Experiences can also help forster environmental consciusness
among the youngest pupils.
With a similar goal the project “The wetlands’
day is also a day of ponds” was realised in some
primary and high schools in the beginning of 2005. Purpose
of the action was to provide information and raise the
awareness about the importance of the wetlands with a
special stress on the ponds, as well as to invite the
children to actively participate in the preservation of
the ponds and environment in general.
Photo: Zvona Ciglic
|COMMENTS AND THEORY
Restoration of a pond is the first step for preservation
of biodiversity, but for its appropriate maintenance it
must get a new purpose. Possible option is including the
ponds into pedagogical activities of educational establishments.
Can a handful of restored ponds
assure preservation of rare and endangered plant
and animal species?
IIDE – Institute for Integral Development and Environment
(Marta Vahtar, Maja Zdesar and Miran Rusjan)