The Management Agency of Vikos- Aoos and Pindos National Forests has designed and implemented a series of actions, in accordance with the annual “Promotional Plan – Program of information and awareness”, with a goal of informing and raising awareness about the need for protection and conservation of the natural and man-made environment within the protected area of Northern Pindos National Park.
The information-awareness measures aim in promoting the concept of the protected area and raising environmental consciousness within the local population, schools and visitors of the Northern Pindos Park. Thus, these measures contribute to the success of management actions of the Management Agency.
The Management Agency organizes, on a yearly basis, local meetings with target groups of the local population (farmers, tourist operators, teachers, etc) with the purpose to inform and raise awareness within the local society. These meetings take place within Regional Sections of the National Park of Ioannina and within Grevena, with a goal of developing an open dialogue between all groups active in the area as well as strengthening and consolidating the role of the Northern Pindos National Park.
During the summer period, the Management Agency also organizes exhibitions which show the particular characteristics of the National Park, trail and settlement maintenance, guided tours, environmental workshops for children, etc.
The Management Agency organizes annual guided hiking events in honor of the World Environment Day (5th of June). Annual events are also held on the Pan-european birdwatch day– in early October—at the Aspragelloi and Mavranaioi Information Centers, in cooperation with the Hellenic Ornithological Society.
The agency also supports special events within the protected area such as the Mushroom Feasts, the Mountain Marathon at Zagori, the race run “Mountain in the footprints of bears…” in Metsovo, the mountain bike race Protect Aoos mtb ultra, the Orliakas Mountain Race, in Grevena, skiing and snowboarding events in Vasilitsa Ski Center, etc.
In addition, the Management Agency grants electrified fences to farmers and beekeepers and supplies Greek Shepherd puppies to livestock farmers in the area of the National Park. These puppies are derived from the network of Greek Shepherd owners that has been created within the project “LIFE ARCPIN” by the Management Agency and the Callisto Organization.
The Management Agency also participates as a member in the “Network against Unauthorized Poison Use”, which is a particularly important initiative for the creation of a network of organizations, services and citizens, dealing with the use of poison as an illegal and cruel mean of animal population control undertaken by individuals that threats not only animals but also humans.
PARK VISITORS-GENERAL PUBLIC
The Management Agency operates five Information Centers in selected locations within the National Park with the main purpose to highlight the ecological, geomorphological and cultural complexity of the area and accommodate visitor’s needs for an enjoyable and educational stay. Their aim is also to formulate interesting proposals for both the local community and the general public, by creating an attractive and successful infrastructure network that will stand as a reference point for the Northern Pindos National Park.
Furthermore, the Management Agency distributes free printed and electronic material and relevant maps with the boundaries and the areas of the National Park, the road network, the sights and the hiking trails for tourists. Also in collaboration with the Regions of Epiros and Western Macedonia, the informational material for the Northern Pindos National Park is distributed in their stands on domestic and international tourist exhibitions. Marketing has been forwarded to the Embassy of Greece in London and to some major tourist offices within Greece. It should be noted that publications are frequently made in local and national press for the Northern Pindos National Park and the actions of the Management Agency.
The environmental information/awareness-raising program for students is designed by the Management Agency, with the purpose of educating and instilling values of environmental and cultural consciousness. The presence of student activity in the area of the National Park strengthens the role of the protected area and its infrastructure and contributes to raising the level of student awareness, as well as that of their siblings and friends.
The Information Centers give special presentations to students that visit the National Park and organize Environment Interpretation Trips which are designed by the Management Agency. The Agency’s staff will also visit schools at schools that want a presentation of an Environmental Awareness Program.