Saturday, December 31, 2011

Help Protected Areas

A New Year's wish: Lets help our protected areas. They need help to survive, and we need them. In 2012 this economy and the associated politics will have ongoing troubles. I think its not just the politicians or the civil service that should do their job. Its also important that citizens everywhere plan, organize and act to contribute towards protected area conservation. And contributing is not a difficult or gloomy enterprise. It can be a lot of fun, deeply gratifying, profitable and inspiring. Think of taking your students outdoors and working on protected area projects; think of advertising by using protected area management bodies; producing local products with protected-area labels; get protected-areas on TV; use tourism and recreation to promote protected areas. Help create ways to bring people and nature together. Protected areas are good for culture.

Happy New Year!

This is a map of our protected areas: the Natura 2000 network, covering approx. 27% of Greece's territory. Sadly most remain de facto unprotected areas.

My students at one of the Nature 2000 sites next to Athens, Mount Hymmetos.  Yes protected areas are outdoor classrooms.
Despite the large number of sites in our parks-on-paper system, we still don't have enough proper marine protected areas. So there is room for designing expansions and  new sites. This un-designated site is the Petalii Archipelago, a group of  10 islands and islets at the southern end of Euboea. The site is unprotected but it could easily be incorporated within a pre-existing site on adjacent Euboea. 

Out on the delta plume of our greatest River, the Evros. Here we share large protected areas with the Turks. I can only hope that the great cloud of wisdom can bring peace and mental well-being to both our countries.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Wetlands Around Athens

In 2010 I was privileged enough to actually get funded by the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) for an inventory project of the wetlands around Athens. We identified and delineated 78 wetland sites (these included perennial stream water bodies). We completed our first catalogue of wetlands but we did not have enough  resources continue. It was quite a big job - many people helped; and I hope someday to return to this kind of project.

One of the HOS/HCMR maps at the beginning of the project - showing a taxonomy  for wetlands  in Attiki Prefecture.

Lake Koumoundourou or otherwise, Persephone's Lake at Reiton  on the road to the Eleusis Mysteries (Aspropyrgos).

Water sampling at Schinias-Marathon National Park in winter.

The peculiar salt lake on the islet of Angistri in the Saronic Gulf.

A very unusual wetland site: Lake Vouliagmeni - a tectonic coastal lake formed by  underground  thermal springs.

Experimenting with a blog

Do we try to live by images of our childhood heroes?

Why do kids love nature so much?
What do we do when we see a nature disaster?

This is a blog mainly set to display aspects of my personal experiences and discoveries in nature. Thinking openly about natural history, conservation eduction, travel, and various experiences out in nature. I'll try my best to make it sound like a 'Nature Journal'.

I live in Athens Greece with my family and work at one of Greece's most exciting public research centers, HCMR. I love to study nature - both terrestrial and aquatic worlds. And most of all I am fascinated by the interactions among aquatic, terrestrial and humankind. I have been working in the environmental movement since my early teens, both here, in Canada, and on various travels. Over the years, we make friends, expand ideas, develop inside, evolve. Deep inside I feel we must all contribute to better understand and protect the natural world- and conservation scientists are especially previllaged to be working towards this. Hopefully we can come closer together to leave a possitive mark on Earth.