Bocian Biały w dolinach rzek

1The village of Rakowo Czachy near Łomża has been enriched with a fourth tourist attraction. So far it had three: a bend of the Narew River with a forest on the horizon, a ferry across the river and storks in the nest, which have been watched on-line by people from 90 countries from around the world. Meanwhile in the neighborhood, on the last day of January, an observation tower, lofty and strong like a fortress and almost 8-meter high, was consecrated and sprinkled with holy water and rain. It stands over a wide – 2 and a half kilometers – section of the Narew Valley. It shines with healthy pine wood, used to erect the structure, and enables the local residents and tourists to admire the quiet landscapes from the high terrace while watching local and migrating birds flying over the meadows. On the day of consecration, naturalists came to Rakowo and Drozdowo.

Director Mariusz Sachmaciński from the Łomża Landscape Park of the Narew Valley (Łomżyński Park Krajobrazowy Doliny Narwi) stood bravely in the pouring rain as subsequent guests were coming. The list of people who love nature and care about the environment was long, and the director said a few good words about each one of them. The event gathered employees and social activists from, among others, the Landscape Park of the Narew Valley and the Association of the Friends of the Park, the Board of the Landscape Park of the Narew Valley with its chairman Józef Mioduszewski, from the Natural History Museum with the naturalist Teresa Grużewska, from the Łomża State Forest District with the forest district manager Dariusz Godlewski, from the Association of the Friends of the Łomża Land with its chairman Zygmunt Zdanowicz. Among the people from Łomża and the district, it was easy to notice the faces of people, less known but significant for the care of the natural heritage, from the Environmental Protection Department of the Marshal's Office, in the absence of Marek Olbryś, whom Director Sachmaciński gratefully described as “brilliant”. He referred to the fact that according to the project the observation tower in Rakowo was to cost PLN 70 thousand, and in fact it cost PLN 105 thousand, and the missing money was found in the budget, as if from a magic hat, by a member of the Board of the Province.

A nest from a barn or a tree to a pole

The project was described to the guests, hidden under the green tent of the Park of the Narew Valley, by the invaluable Sylwia Sokalska, who provided a lot of information about the Park of the Narew Valley, which was created in 1994 and has an area of 7 368 hectares. The project consisted of many activities which performed over a period of 4 years, and it was initiated by the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds (PTOP) in Białystok in 2016 and will be conducted until July 2020 in cooperation with the Park of the Narew Valley and the Biebrza National Park (Biebrzański Park Narodowy). - The project "Protection of white stork in the river valleys of eastern Poland" covers Biebrza, Bug and Narew rivers as well as some smaller rivers – says Edyta Kapowicz, director of the PTOP, who came to the ceremony with employees of the Society that is so merited for the protection and care of birds. - The protection of storks means, for example, moving 400 of their nests from endangered places, such as dilapidated buildings or broken trees to concrete poles, which were erected in a number of 300... They must be strong and durable, as stork nests sometimes weigh 300 kilograms, and sometimes even two tons.

9 poles with a height of over 10 m to 12 m were erected in Kalinowo, Drozdowo, Rakowo Czachy, Rakowo Boginie, Bronowo Podkosacze and Siemień. Under the project, also the wooden tower in Rakowo Czachy near the bend of the Narew River was financed, from where you can see the ski slope in Rybno on the right side above the forest range. It will constitute a convenient point for observation of, for example, white-tailed eagles, geese, ducks, ruffs or herons, if an observer is lucky enough, just like 700 thousand observers of white storks in the nest on a nearby property, but not in winter.

Outdoor area for patients and the path to knowledge

Before the green ribbon was cut multiple times, which inaugurated the entrance by stairs from the ground floor to the tower floor with dimensions of 5.5 x 4 meters, a speech on integral ecology was given by Rev. Aleksander Suchocki. He emphasized that blessing has the direction from Earth to Heaven and from Heaven to Earth. In the act of consecration of the tower, he indicated the respect for nature and birds, so that the structure would be safe and serve the good work of getting to know the native land, and so that the visitors would leave enriched by beauty.

At the headquarters of the Park of the Narew Valley in Drozdowo there is a unique bird rehabilitation center where sick, injured or weakened storks can find shelter, care and food. During the renovation, the center was expanded with an ambulatory part, furniture, as well as veterinary and stork catching equipment, such as gloves, nets and transport cages. Near the entrance, an aviary and an outdoor area for stork patients and convalescents were created; the number of birds here sometimes reaches 50-60 including other birds. Director Mariusz Sachmaciński thanked his crew for being on duty on Saturdays and Sundays to feed the winged patients. The educational path that shows the life of storks, an Indian summer, a beaver lodge and a swamp also aroused interest. It serves the little and grown-up nature explorers.

The author: Mirosław R. Derewońko

The text and pictures are from the website

The second account from the opening of the tower can be found on the website

Sekretariat PTOP

ul. Ciepła 17 15-471 Białystok tel./fax.: 85 664 22 55, 85 6754862

Biuro Regionalne w Olsztynie

ul. Murzynowskiego 18, 10-684 Olsztyn, tel./fax.: 89 533 68 66

Gospodarstwo rolne PTOP

Żywkowo 7 11-220 Górowo Iławeckie tel./fax.: 89 761 82 07

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