Czech Naturefriends have a good run

By Hynek Pecinka

Pratele_prirody_web_02 The national organization of Naturefriends in the Czech Republic (or simply Czechia) was founded in 1994. Until the end of 2010, it consisted from three organizations. A nationwide one, which was Duha – Children and Youth Association for Leisure Time, Nature and Fun mostly active in the International Young Naturefriends, and two smaller local groups in northwest part of Czechia in Jablonec nad Nisou and Liberec, where by the way the 20th NFI Congress took place in 2008. Their problem was that they had rarely anything in common and were quite independently thinking yet staying together under one roof. But since November, 2010 the world of the Czech Naturefriends has been slowly changing in a positive way.

The Council held in Prague in the end of 2010 welcomed new local groups and one small NGO. This repeated once more in September 2011 and up to now there are 8 local groups, 2 local NGOs and one nationwide NGO – Duha, which unites Czech young Naturefriends. And what more, most of our member organizations and local groups are active a lot and well known in their neighborhood. Simply said, the ideals of Naturefriends have been much more spread in Czechia since the end of 2010 than ever before. But still we hope it is only the start and we have loads of work to be done: e. g. in promotion of our activities, finding sources for funding (it is not easy at all in Czechia in this time of recession) or strengthening the awareness of Naturefriends’ ideals and cooperation among our members.

Img_4673 Are you interested in a short taste of our activities? You surely know Duha from the past years well, and its events for children and youth focused on informal outdoor education, work camps and volunteering projects to help people and nature. Regardless the two local groups (LG) in northwest Czechia mentioned above unite mostly members in retiring age, they organize hiking or bus trips and explore cultural and national heritage of Czechia or the border areas of Germanyand Polandand cooperate within the Euro region Nisa/Nysa/Neisse. LG Orsej and Javory in the eastern part of Czechia organize events for families with children. They enjoy hiking trips and outdoor camping, such as activities for teaching kids why to save nature. LG Little Fox from Olomouc runs courses in handicrafts, amateur music sessions, hiking and biking trips, international events with NF Germany and longer expeditions as well (planning Scotland for the next summer). Sports, games and amateur art – this is what NGO Arabela running a leisure center does for smaller children and youngest scholars and their parents. You can find them in Liberec, northwest Czechia. Another member, DUHA-UNITED from Pragueis a small NGO which cares about children rights and social politics affairs. It is active within the UNITED network.

144 Counted together, there are about 4.000 Naturefriends in Czechia. The activities of member organizations are focused on their members but often open for (and visited by) public. Finally, Naturefriends Czechia run nowadays 3 Naturefriends’ houses, which you are hereby invited in, and issue a monthly newsletter “Pratele prirody” (Naturefriends). Was it still not enough? Then visit us at www.pratele-prirody.cz where more information can be found.

With our activities, we really promote and carry into effect the ideals of the Naturefriends’ movement - sustainable life, kind tourism, care about nature and environment, volunteering, solidarity and respect among people. The last year showed that “If you want, everything is possible” – like a Czech saying says. Fingers crossed for us so that we keep running on in such a good way! 

Written for the Naturefriends Yearbook 2011