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Orchid Survey Program
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Orchid Survey Program

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Orchid survey and its friends....

I had the fortune to spend two weeks in the Transdanubian Hills, this area of diverse habitats, with several orchid species growing around! Since I study environmental biology in my university in Denmark, I have gained more experience and practical field knowledge about botanical surveys. Also got familiar with several species: the military orchid, the Jersey orchid, the early marsh-orchid, my personal favourite the bee-orchid, and several others such as white helleborine and Ophrys fuciflora.

The Federation's colleagues were really helpful, and overall the program was well-organised. Miki and Janka picked me up in the airport, and they organised the transport back to it when I left on my last day. I have received a pre-departure orientation document which included important, practical infos about the program. At my arrival I received a brochure about the organisation, and before the volunteer work I participated in a Health and Safety Instructions session. However, the Federation doesn't provide travel insurance, therefore I had to get it myself in my home country.

About meals and housing I was fully satisfied. Luckily I had the chance to use two accommodations in two different areas: one is a lovely guesthouse near the River Drava and Mura confluence, in between amazing views and lovely hills. The other is in the city of 4500 inhabitants, a complex with statue park and cultural elements, such as a traditional yurt. Since we spent almost all of our time outside, usually I had my meals packed, but the colleagues always arranged me at least one warm meal a day.

After the volunteer activities - botanical surveys and some invasive plants' eradication - there was a fun activity organised: we have bathed in Lake Kotró, which was absolutely refreshing after the work done in the fairly hot weather! I have also tried kayaking and canoeing. Also a trip was organised to visit Lake Balaton - while we checked on an abundant mead with dozens of protected species nearby, and had a study tour in the highly protected Little Balaton, we also had some fun time for ourselves: checking on the lake itself and cultural values of Keszthely and Tapolca. Luckily few afternoons, I could just be myself: I made a tour around my accommodation, and walked around to see my surroundings.

I have to say, the volunteer activity itself wasn't demanding at all: we didn't convey the surveys for more than 3-4 hours, and always enrolled some rest time to listen to the bird species, or having a short walk to the natural sights nearby. Miki said it is also the work of conservationist to follow changes in the nature!

The only thing which was first a little bit surprising: this time I was the only volunteer and I thought I will be bored or feel alone. But honestly I didn't have the time to feel that way, since every day was promptly organised with programs, and I met several experts, botanists and zoologist. I was transported by Miki and Janka every day. We also visited Croatia to check out the other side and the oxbows of Drava.

And one more thing, I would like to say thank for Tyutyu and Ilike and their organisation who showed me their traditional press-house specific to this area - a little museum with 100 years old tools and equipments people used during their every day life. And thank for tasting your home made liqueurs, and that delicious edelflower syrup!!