Library Public Information”
– $720. & $500. (Latvia, 1996)
a Non-Governmental Organization
Can Become a Public Resource
Green Library in Riga has collected books and magazines about ecological
issues for more than ten years, and welcomes any interested people
to use the resources. Its openness to the public, and its intellectual
depth and variety, encourage volunteers who find the atmosphere
welcoming and stimulating. Two such volunteers were able to act
on their ideas to increase the Green Library’s public outreach and
effectiveness. One young woman, on her own initiative, had organized
all of the library’s specialized materials; her Mini-Grant enabled
this index to be printed in a newsletter and widely distributed,
making the materials more accessible to users. The other volunteer
gathered up to date video materials on ecological issues, produced
a catalogue with descriptions, and organized group video viewings
including discussions with specialists on each topic. She was able
to obtain video donations worth over $100 from the Riga Zoo, Small
World Productions, and several different foreign embassies located
actions made the Green Library materials even more accessible, useful
and relevant to the general public. Thus these Mini-Grants rewarded
individual initiative on the part of the volunteers, and contributed
to the library’s long-standing tradition of public outreach and
(2000 – 2001)
for the Town - $640. Youth Club “Esam un Busim”, Stendes Care
and Development Foundation “Mezazile”. Young people organized a
cleanup of apartment house courtyards, and the restoration of a
Soviet-era sports ground which had become a goat pasture. The club
also takes responsibility for maintaining the playground and organizing
events in the future.
to Permaculture - $800. Zala Briviba, Ieva Zalite. Experts
from the Belarussian NGO, Eko Dom, will travel to Latvia to lead
a seminar on alternative sustainable farming methods, based on their
own experiences. Latvian participants include teachers in agricultural
and rural schools, household gardeners, and people interested in
alternative lifestyles and communes. Matching funds: (Latvian Association
of the Biological Agricultural Organization).
Days in Dzerves Castle Park - $770. Ciravas - Dzives takes –
J. Gulbis. This project organized approximately 200 students, parents
and local inhabitants to restore the park and grounds of a historic
castle, built in 1820. In addition, they created a nature path and
held a seminar for the public on garden and tree care. Matching
funds: (Ciravas Forestry Department).
Trail in Dunica Community - $225. Siksni Primary School, Club
of Young Naturalists. The student club prepared informative signs
and booklets to promote public use and awareness of the ecological
- historical trail in their town.
of Stork Nests - $350. Dabas Draga Klubs (Nature Friendship
Club), Anita Vilcane. This project restored 11 stork nests in Varkava
region, organizing local residents and schoolchildren in the effort.
Days in Upmali - $480. Farm Upmali. In a model sustainable forest,
this project created a nature trail, recreation grounds, fireplace
and demonstration sites. Study tours for youth organizations are
using materials prepared by WWF.
Recreation Territory - $740. “Pakapiens” NGO. A cooperative
effort created a green recreation area in the center of the town
of Valdgale. The NGO, Pakapiens, organized participation by the
Puna Elementary School children, and municipal council of Valdgale,
Path in the Park of Kazdanga Palace - $610. To develop tourism,
to unite generations to keep their cultural heritage alive, and
to study and preserve the environment, this project undertook the
restoration of 19th century paths in the palace park,
researched the exotic tree species, and created informative signs.
Forest - $670. Green Order – Fairy Tales House “Undine”. In
five months of Saturday work, volunteers restored the park in the
center of Jurmala, replanting mint, heather and moss (common plants
native to this sandy area). They also built wooden paths, installed
a symbolic protective wall, and erected an information stand. Matching
funds: $480 (Municipal Council of Jurmala).
(1999 – 2000)
Burtnieks Stairs and View – $910. VAK-Burnieku,
Teiksma Purina This lake has great biological diversity but has
problems with eutrophication. The project prepared access to the
lake and set up a viewing area, to encourage public awareness and
involvement. (WWF-International Leadership Training Grant).
Know and To Protect – $500. Baltic Koleoptological
Institute, Arvids Barsevskis. This newly founded institute is dedicated
to increasing public awareness of role of beetles in the ecosystem,
especially the connection between preservation of various beetle
species and sound farming practices. This project includes taking
stock of the beetle populations in the area, and informing landowners
of their importance. Matching funds: $4250 (from companies: LCS,
“Braki” – $760. Ergli Region Environmental
Protection & Tourist Development – Andris Eglitis. To develop
a nature trail (4 km) in a protected area near the museum for poet
R. Blaumanis. Involving local people in the project will inspire
them to protect it. Matching funds: $505 (Museum, local timber companies,
S/C Latvijas berzs).
of Remembrance to Voldemars Puce – $500.
Vestiena VAK, Juris Ploters. Activities throughout the year united
several organizations as they developed the trail along the coastline
of lake Salajs. They renovated places shown in the 1968 documentary
film “Mernieku laiki,” including footbridges, birdhouses, Mr. Puce’s
birthplace, and the Slatava estate, and planted a variety of native
flowers. Matching funds: $1140 (area foresters, Latvian Nature Museum,
government and businesses).
Farming – $800. Association of Biological
(Organic) Agriculture, Cesu Branch, J. Sietinsons. The grant enabled
this group to participate in the Latvian national agricultural exhibition
held in Riga, which drew 13,000 attendees. They presented seminars
about marketing healthy food, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity,
and E.U.standards of certification. The positive public response
has encouraged them to expand activities on a demonstration farm,
in cooperation with other Latvian community organizations. Matching
funds: $318. (WWF-International Leadership Training Grant).
Water Cycle in Jelgava City – $900. Anita
Stabulniece. This long-time environmental volunteer filmed and produced
a video documenting the successful Waste Water Cycle project in
her city. The video will be used in schools and for educational
programs on waste management. Matching funds: $540 (Local company
Theme Daugava (Stage Five) – $800. DPU
DIVIC, Digna Pilate. This project used the material this group has
gathered about the Daugava river ecosystem to develop and present
new forms of public education, including audio programs. Matching
funds: $1070 (Latvian Nature Museum, Latvian Culture Fund).
Historic Trail (Stage Two) – $700. Jurmada
Development Fund, Aiva Dreimane. This project completed 11 km of
walking and cycling trails in the Jurmada national preserve.
Mammal Data Base – $950. Latvian Mammalogical
Society, Valdis Pilats. This grant supported the first steps of
Latvian involvement in the international Baltic Mammalia Atlas project:
collection and presentation of data, especially about rare species,
in a format compatible with European Union standards. Lithuanian
specialists assisted. (WWF-International Leadership Training Grant).
– $100. Riga French Lycee, Lauma Zeltina.
This student’s goal was to prepare and implement a simple and effective
plan for her school’s waste management, including composting, waste
separation, and encouraging students and school officials to participate.
(WWF-International Leadership Training Grant).
Windmill Environmental Center – $840.
Farm Jungas, Dainis Ozols. Historical and cultural awareness can
be a key to public support for sustainable energy. This project
is reconstructing the Jecu windmill as part of a museum, and creating
a nearby nature and cultural trail. In-kind support from neighboring
Days in Daugavpils and Kraslava – $500. DPU
DIVIC, Rudite Klepere. A well informed and educated society can
more effectively influence decisions connected with environmental
problems in the municipalities and the whole country. Projects united
student groups from art and music schools and local officials, an
“Eco-rave” in the Center of Latvian Culture involved the general
public, and widespread media coverage highlighted environmental
on Food Additives – $950. Rezeknes Consumer
Protection Society, Inara Groce. This group used national and international
sources to get information about food additives. They produced an
explanatory booklet, which was distributed through a network of
consumer protection organizations, and in supermarkets.
Environment – $900. Svete Elementary School,
Ilze Lazdina. The school group developed awareness and encouraged
town pride as teachers and students put in order three public places:
cemeteries of the death toll in the first and second world wars,
and the memorial to Latvian Riflemen. Leaders of the governmental
woodworkers society and a local gardening NGO cooperated in this
effort. Matching funds: $400 (Municipality).
Trail, Dubna Riverbank (Stage Two) – $900. DPU
Varkava, “Friends of Nature”, Helena Pizica. In this year’s stage,
105 volunteers continued the trail building and maintenance, public
involvement, and public education which “Friends of Nature” had
started last year. When they had finished their work, they celebrated
with a bonfire and hot meal.
of “Orga” Trail – $550. Saka Region Nature
Fund, Skaidrite Solovjova. This group organized five actions which
developed the nature trail “Orga” on the bank of the river Tebra,
and linked this local process to Agenda 21. Local radio stations
and the newspaper informed the public, encouraging a rise in environmental
Valley – $860. Laidzes Primary School,
Ligita Snorina. Through garden creation and maintenance, participants
contributed to their community’s beautification and pride. Matching
funds: $1140 (Municipality).
Our Old Parks – $310. No. 3 School, Ecological
Studies Club, Vladimir Azarewich. Students and teachers set an example
for the neighborhood as they got to work weeding and planting in
the local park, which had been neglected for several years.
Historic Trail (Stage One) – $770. Jurmada
Development Fund The 45 members of this organization support the
Vidzeme region’s cultural and historical traditions, and believe
enjoyment of nature leads to respect for the region and its heritage.
They started planning and creating a nature trail as part of their
Center in Cesis – $920. Latvian Nature
Protection Society, Vanda Gasina. Adult and student members of the
local ecological club organized to develop a pond as a nature study
and recreation area; they built wooden stairs down to the pond,
cleared and planted trees and shrubs, and painted a mural on the
adjoining wall. Matching funds: $880 (Municipality).
Days in Skujene – $637. Initiative group
Skujene, Ilze Smate. This project organized civic projects, including
clean-ups of parks and bus stops and planting trees and shrubs in
public places. Matching funds: $763 (local Municipality and local
Environmental Management – $522. VAK-Olaine,
Lelde Balode. This group, with eight members, collected information
about the marsh which has been damaged by industrial pollution from
the city of Olaine. They organized excursions to the marsh, and
prepared public information about the biological diversity of this
Collecting Action – $182. DPU NSEEC Limbazu,
Guna Grigorjeva. The goals were to organize paper recycling in Limbazi
city, (inform the inhabitants, collect and deliver the paper, give
awards to participants) and also for the group itself to learn how
to manage a project.
Clean-up Action in Talsi – $800. VAK “Talsi”,
Andis Uzulnieks. Volunteers organized to clean up the beach in the
dune region, to place informative signs and pictograms in the protected
territory, and to clean up illegal garbage dumping areas in the
village of Mersrags. VAK-Talsi did this work with the approval of
the local officials, who did not have the capacity to accomplish
this project themselves.
Green Club in Carnikava – $634. Children’s
Environmental School, Dzintra Ailte. The Green Club ran an exhibition
and adventure trail on Earth Day, researched and drew a map showing
the “good” and “bad” environmental places of their region, established
a club meeting space and developed ties with local authorities to
help in their future projects. Matching funds: $397 (own resources).
Planner for Environmental NGOs, Latgale – $599.
DPU NSEEC (Daugavpils Pedagogical University Nature Studies and
Environmental Center), Maris Cacka. This project brought together
NGOs from the Daugavpils region to develop joint projects to solve
the problems of environmental pollution and to share environmental
Trail, Dubna Riverbank (Year One) – $412.
DPU Varkava, “Friends of Nature”, Helena Pizica. Two joint work
actions involved a 58 people in clearing a nature trail and putting
up informative materials. Local newspaper coverage encouraged public
Garden – $686. Sustainable Development
Centre “Renda”, Mara Bergmane. To expand the model “health garden”
which uses organic farming methods; to promote sustainable, environmental
friendly village development. Matching funds: $1714 (self).
Booklet – $1000. Sustainable Development
Centre “Renda”, Laura Suna. A public information campaign explains
Renda’s programs to promote biodynamic agriculture and sustainable
forestry. The goal was to involve new members and volunteers as
Renda broadens its mission, and to attract new groups of visitors.
Exhibition (Phase Three) – $997. DIVIC-Daugavpils,
Digna Pilate A traveling exhibition provided evidence about ecological
damage that could result from building a hydro power plant on the
Daugava river. The idea is to involve the public by showing that
eventually the losses from this project will outweigh the short-term
Parliament – $818. Initiative Group Talsi,
Inguna Raituma. The Environmental Parliament involves three schools
from the Northwestern part of Latvia. It aims to learn and implement
principles of Agenda 21 at the school level. In seminars, students
and municipal officials discussed solutions to environmental problems.
Safe and Clean Sea – $910. Liepaja Initiative
Group, Sandra Alksne. The aim of the project was to promote green
thinking and stress the problems of the Baltic Sea, through children’s
drawings, an exhibition, and newspaper coverage. Over a hundred
of Muscardinus Avellanarius in Skrunda – $904. Initiative
Group/ Ilze Strausa. In a week-long environmental camp, local residents
together with school children constructed shelters for birds and
for threatened small mammals. Skrunda is the former location of
a Soviet military base, and the ecological situation had suffered
during that time. Matching funds: $400 (individual donors).
Action Day in Kuldiga – $950. Kuldiga
Environmental Education School, Igo Midrijanis. Action days provide
information and involve local people in solving environmental problems,
such as global climate change and household waste disposal.
Information on Sustainable Development – $500.
VAK Green Library, Fanija Bluma. This project gathered up to date
environmental video materials, and made them easily available to
NGOs and to the public. These videos were also used in public outreach
lectures and programs. Videos worth over $100 were donated by the
Riga Zoo, Small World Production, EYFA, and Embassies located in
Library Newsletter – $720. VAK Green Library,
Ieva Zalite. This project produced four bulletins with reviews and
brief descriptions of new library materials. The goal was to increase
the number of users of the Green Library among NGO members.
of Water Quality in Gaujiene Village –
$680. Gaujiena VAK, Elga Racene. The aim of this project
was to install eight water quality control sites on the river Guaja
and its tributaries, to monitor them regularly, and to inform residents
and officials about the situation.
Education Newsletter – $600. Association
of Environmental Educators, Santa Klavina. Four newsletters were
issued (total of 3750 copies) to promote environmentally correct
living, to inform members about environmental education activities
in Latvia and explain foreign experience in this field. Matching
funds: $680 (Environmental Protection Ministry).
Library Meetings and Lectures – $801.
Green Library – VAK, Laila Kundzina. The goal was to update materials
in order to provide information on the concepts of sustainable development
and Green activities around the world. Meetings and lectures were
held in Latvian and Russian speaking schools.
on Environmental Education in Eastern Latvia – $540. Centre
for Nature Research and Environmental Education, Arvids Barshevskis.
Field trips, seminars and lectures attracted adults and students,
and strengthened cooperation between NGOs and governmental institutions.
Matching funds: $710 (REC).
Education Activities in Ilgu Nature Park – $745. Center
for Nature Research and Environmental Education, Raimonds Gribusts.
Through traveling lessons, to involve local people in environmental
protection in two villages (Skrundaliena and Lidumnieki) in the
Problem Solving – $743. Children’s Environmental
School, Mariete Velikane. The aim of the project was to promote
local environmental problem solving, and to teach pupils how to
plan, organize and evaluate activities. Matching funds: $450 (Ciesis
of Talsi Seashore – $940. Talsi VAK, Ainars
Ozolins. In cooperation with the local authorities, this activity
marked and erected fences around the protected areas of the seashore,
and eliminated illegal car entrances to the dune zones. Matching
funding: $440 (Talsi Municipality).
of Daugava River Valley (Stage Two) –$530.
DIVIC Centre, Digna Pilate. To gather and record evidence of the
biological diversity and valuable geological objects in the Daugava
River valley, and to model the possible damage that would result
from building a proposed dam. The goal is presentation to the public
in the next year. Matching funds: $270 (Latvian Nature Museum).
Consumerism in Latvia – $550. CCB Latvia,
Girtis Strazdins. This project did a chemical analysis of the most
popular laundry washing powders, and checked how they met the environmental
standards on phosphates. Results were published and distributed
through street workshops in downtown Riga. Matching funds: $300
(Coalition Clean Baltic).
Environmental Education – $400. EKOCENTRS,
Valdis Bisters The aim of this project was to develop and implement
a program supporting environmental education at the local level.
It did develop some lessons, but it did not achieve all of its desired
results, primarily because it depended on a large amount of matching
financing which did not come through.
River Biodiversity (Stage One) – $705.
Latvian Museum of Natural History, Digna Pilate. In 1985, public
opposition stopped the building of a hydropower dam on the Daugava
River. However, starting in 1991 energy and economic problems caused
some local officials to renew the hydropower plan. In a multi-year
project, participants will research information about the river
ecosystem, its biodiversity, endangered species and natural beauty,
and then make their findings available to the public. Matching funds:
in the Littoral Zone – $690. VAK – Forest,
Ruta Berkgaute. This project planned, organized and carried out
a weekend volunteer action campaign to combat coastline deterioration.
Matching funds: $620 (Coalition Clean Baltic).
Park – $800. Gaujiena VAK, Aivars Natre.
Local public participation raised residents’ awareness of how their
individual actions can bring about improvements. They collected
garbage and the remains of a destroyed building, and cleaned the
pond of the public park. Matching funds: $450 (Municipality).
River Restoration Demonstration Site – $700.
Latvian Society of Nature and Monument Protection, A. Urtans. Straightening
small rivers has led to erosion of farm land and degradation of
water quality. This project restored a stretch of a channelized
river, showing different methods including installation of vegetation
buffer zones. It was the first such demonstration site in Latvia.
Matching funds: $450 (Municipality).
Action in Talsi Region – $660. Talsi VAK,
Janis Matulis. Organization of a clean-up effort along the Baltic
Sea and Riga Bay coastal areas. The clean-up involved community
volunteers working under the direction of NGO members. Matching
funds: $250 (Municipality).
Garden in Renda (Stage One) – $800. Center
for Balanced Development of Renda, Mara Bergmane. This demonstration
organic and biodynamic garden was designed to promote environmental
protection by popularizing alternative agriculture. The grant covered
seeds, gardening tools, soil preparation and transportation. Matching
Lake Clean-up – $420. Vestiena Environmental
Protection Club. Due to a serious illness suffered by the main organizer,
this project was only partly completed.
Time” Newspaper Supplement – $100. Daugavpils
DIVIC, Arvids Barsevskis. To produce and distribute an environmental
information newspaper supplement to men in prison, to involve them
in positive social ideas and plans for action.
Sea Days in Latvia – $500. CCB Latvia,
Girtis Strazdins. Organizing a public action campaign drew attention
to ecological problems of the Baltic sea area, and the role that
water pollution plays in this damage. This event received detailed
local press coverage. Matching funds: $320 (Municipality and State
Music – $720. VAK Culture, H. Simanis.
This project used music, songs and drama to raise public awareness
of the importance of natural beauty to human life and to cultural
heritage. It generated interest and enthusiasm from many people
who previously had been uninterested in the environmental club’s
activities. Matching funds: $300.
Packaging – $500. Faldus-VAK, A. Mednis.
A seminar involved Latvian, Finnish, Swedish, German, Estonian and
Lithuanian environmentalists. A glass recycling program and ways
to reduce municipal waste throughout Latvia were among the topics.
Matching funding: $650 (EU Phare).
to Create New Protected Areas in Latvian Forests – $264.
VAK-Riga, Ruta Berkgaute. Information about Latvian forest ecosystems
and the damage done already was published and distributed in a newsletter
advocating the creation of new protected areas.
Sea Beach Clean-Up – $500. Coalition Clean
Baltic, Girtis Strasdins. A 15-kilometer long seashore was cleaned
as a result of a three-day action by the environmental groups of
Riga and the surrounding area. The main objectives were to clean
up the trashed beach, to raise public awareness, and to involve
local communities in clean-up work and further environmental activities.
A group of 16 organizers successfully publicized the action; 3000
Library – $410. Green Library – VAK, Laila
Kundzina. Lectures, book expositions and competitions were organized
in the schools of Bauska, Uzvara and Aglona. The goal was to bring
Green Library resources to local towns and communities. Ten lecturers
and several thousand children participated.
Legislation and Public Participation Seminar – $500. VAK-Talsi,
Janis Matulis. Participants from Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Belarus
and Latvia discussed specific legislation (the Right to Know Act),
the role of mass media in public decision-making, and environmental
issues of the transition period from the state controlled to a market
economy. Matching funds: $650 (EU-Phare).
on Energy and the Environment – $490.
Ecological Center, I. Kudrenickis. Energy planning and energy related
pollution issues were discussed by scientists, representatives of
environmental groups, and community members. Participants were taught
how to use the computer simulation model used by Latvian governmental
bodies in the energy planning process.
Development – $500. ECUL – Valdis Bisters.
A two-day training course for 47 members of various Latvian environmental
NGOs discussed the ideas of sustainable development and how they
can be applied to environmental activities in post-communist countries.
Education for Latgale Schools – $500. Latvian
Society of Nature Conservation, Arvids Barsevskis. The project was
aimed at the countryside schools of Southeastern Latvia. This region
has a diverse population, with a large proportion of Russian-speakers.
Activities included lectures, eco-games, materials and discussion
for teachers and administrators, and a boat expedition down the
Dubna River to investigate pollution sources and their impact.
on Sustainable Agriculture – $500. VAK-Daugavpils,
V. Gorbunov. With the start of land privatization, it is important
for new farmers to learn about environmentally sound agriculture.
Fifty-two farmers participated, including the president of the “New
Farmer” club. With this seminar, VAK-Daugavpils restarted its activity,
after a two-year break due to lack of funds.
on Collecting Used Batteries – $450. Latvian
Society of Nature Conservation, Salacgriva, A. Urtans. Fact sheets
and media publicity explained the dangers of discarding used batteries
in landfills. Stationary and mobile collection boxes were made and
distributed. Matching funds: $50 (Salacgriva Municipality).