GB No. 1(16)/95
Twenty kilometres to the north-west from Szczecin, near the border between Poland and Germany, there lies the fauna reserve, ¦widwie. This place is of great value not only for Poland but also for Europe. In June 1984 the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs proposed ¦widwie to be included in the international group of nature reserves protected by the Ramsar Convention.
Located on the southern rim of the Wkrzańska Forest, the ¦widwie Reserve covers 891 ha. It includes a shallow lake ¦widwie with its picturesque banks rarely visited by tourists. In the reserve do about 14 species of birds nest, such as bittern, harrier, bearded titmouse, singing tit, bluethroat, crane and many others. During spring and autumn bird migrations the reserve hosts further fifty species of birds, hundreds of cranes, many breeds of goose, ducks and grebes. The lake and its vicinity are hunting grounds of golden eagle, osprey, Aquila eagle, kite and several breeds of hawk. Flocks of geese and cranes feed on the vast meadows and many other birds nest there.
The Ornithological Station at the Institute of Ecology in Szczecin, conducting researches and controlling the Reserve, educates students as well as tourists in the field of environmental protection. The initiative has been accepted with enthusiasm and the proof are hundreds of inscriptions in the visitors' book. For several years the station has been visited also by groups of scientists from Poland, Germany and other European countries who intend to co-operate.
There have appeared joint protection plans and ideas of combining the reserves of ¦widwie and Gottesheide into a large one, covering 5 500 ha.
However, the reserve with its winged inhabitants is seriously endangered: a scheme has been prepared of a new border crossing in Dobieszyn, near the northern parts of the ¦widwie Reserve. Thousands of cars speeding along the highway are bound to appear and the necessary infrastructure will be built. Thousands of people are going to invade the tranquillity of the reserve. Considering the fact that cranes, wild geese and golden eagles hardly bear the presence of man it is easy to predict what is going to happen in the reserve. Actually it is a death sentence for the fine, priceless area which is protected, however paradoxical it may appear, by the Ramsar Convention.
Everybody who knows the reserve is aware of its destiny. What is strange and frustrating, the Planning Department does not take to consideration the threat posed by the crossing to ¦widwie. Their primary argument is that there is already a road. But the road was built many years ago, when nobody heard of environmental protection and the reserve did not exist yet.
In favour of creation of the reserve did in 1910 renowned a Pomeranian naturalist, pioneer of nature conservation, Paul Robien struggle. The reserve was also fought for since 1958 by Jerzy Noskiewicz, accompanied by a group of friends. Eventually, he succeeded and became its founder. His work has been continued with the equal zeal by his colleagues and students. It would be a deep disgrace to Polish culture if efforts of all the people who have given their hearts and souls to the reserve would be wasted through one unconsidered decision.
We are not against border crossings. We are not against co-operation between Poland and Germany. We ourselves give the best examples of the latter by organising ornithological meetings for young people from Poland and Germany. What we fight against is inconsiderate destruction of irrestorable treasures of nature, priceless for Poland and Europe as well.
We are going to protect them and name people who are trying to damage them recklessly and thoughtlessly. We hope that there is still time to change this onesided attitude and correct the plans devised along some 19thcentury standards.
Szczecin, 11th November 1994
reprinted from Zielone Brygady 1/95