On October 7 and 13, Latvian Fund for Nature organized the restoration events for wooded meadows. It took place near the Estonian border, in “Lejzemnieki” farm of Valka parish, Valka county, with an excursion to the "Marsi" farm, for schoolchildren to learn more about wooded meadows.
The schoolchildren of the 3rd grade of the Valkas Jānis Cimze gymnasium and the 1st-5th grade of the Bilska elementary school, led by their teachers, arrived at "Lejzemnieki" already in the morning - on October 7 and 13, respectively.
Under the leadership of ornithologists Imants Jakovļevs, Agnis Bušs and their assistant Juris, kids nailed board to the board until starling cages the size of a small boudoir were created with roofs with a metal cover that could be lifted.
To better get to know the wooded meadows, the pupils visited the nearby "Marsi" farm, where centuries-old, mythical and mighty oaks grow on the wooded meadow, with all kinds of mosses and lichens growing on the oaks. As it turns out the circumference of one oak equals nine children.
Listening to the stories of the habitat expert of Latvian Fund for Nature Evita Oļehnoviča, the pupils learned, why wooded meadows are so special. They are one of those habitats that are rare and they are among the most diverse ecosystems found in Latvia.
With the zeal of a new discoverer, looking through the eye of a magnifying glass, girls and boys looked to explore the secrets of trees, mushrooms, leaves. Ordinary things suddenly came to life. The shapes of the plants, their color, insects and the bark were studied with interest. The students quickly found the mosses and lichens on the expert's task cards in the thick and wrinkled oak bark. Quite by chance, a rare species of lichen - lung lichen (Lobaria pulmonaria) was discovered on a tree trunk.
"We liked watching mosses, lichens and other plants with a magnifying glass the most," said the participants of the small expedition. "I learned how to make a bird cage," children happily admitted one after another. The greatest satisfaction for the organizers of the event was the desire of the teacher and students to return back to "Lejzemnieki" and "Marsi" again.
The activity was implemented by the Latvian Fund for Nature in the WoodMeadowLIFE project “Restoring and promoting a long-term sustainable management of Fennoscandian wooded meadows in Estonia and Latvia” in cooperation with the Latvian Ornithological Society and Valkas Jānis Cimze Gymnasium. The objective of the WoodMeadow LIFE project is to restore 700 hectares of the wooded meadows in Estonia and Latvia, to establish long-term arrangements and infrastructure on private land for their future management and to highlight their ecosystem services, ecological functions and unique heritage value.