"Rendering the Bohemian Paradise Geopark - Geo-tourism Development Center, Czech Republic." Interview with Jiri Vlasak, Project Manager -- by Willi Paul
Rendering the Bohemian Paradise Geopark - Geo-tourism Development Center, Czech Republic. Interview with Jiri Vlasak, Project Manager -- by Willi Paul
See YouTube Video: Nice Holidays in Bohemian Paradise 2009
1. What is your title? And the name of the project that you are working on?
The official name of our project is "Bohemian Paradise Geopark - Geo-tourism Development Center." Our basic team consists of five people, I am one of three project managers. (If you are asking about my academic title, long time ago I studied three years at atelier of book illustration and design at Academy of Arts and Design in Prague but my MgA remained unfinished, and later I was studying three years of Bc. study in department of theory of interactive media on Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University in Brno. I plan to continue with my studies, there is always more to learn.)
2. How do you define sustainability?
Sustainability is the only way of life which can guarantee a hope for our civilization for future survival, not only survival of humankind, but of all beautiful and endangered life on this planet. This can be done only if we aim to:
- Educate society to think about their everyday life connected to our environment and how can they change their attitude to really act nature friendly every day.
- Find new ways how to reduce our personal ecological damage to our planet, keep reducing waste and support recycling, encouraging people to be more caring about our environment, how to keep clean water and air, how to use resources wise, how to share what we don´t need with those who do.
- Developing systems of energetic independence, supporting smart using of resources and work time, and local business sovereignty in accordance with international standards.
- Support local eco entrepreneurs and show them new possibilities how to evolve towards our common goal, using their capabilities and resources the best way. And constantly learn!
- Do it in public, restless and make it attractive, playful and fun and inspiring way for the others.
I can absolutely agree with objectives of LinkedIn Group of International Network of Social-Eco Entrepreneurs, which promote: " Contributing to the creation of a global paradigm shift that will inspire the largest number of people to live and do business in a more sustainable way; combining modern technology with timeless wisdom and success principles."
3. Are you building connections with youth? How?
We are public organization, we do it for children and youth. More details you can read below.
4. What green stories, songs and symbols are important to your project and town?
My hometown Turnov is called The Heart of Bohemian paradise already for centuries and I must say it was always true name, this is the place where the Muses are alive and legends are present, inspiring people for ages. Our lovely countryside with its unique geological heritage is the home of many unique fauna and flora, the best proofs of miracles of life are here still living and need to be preserved for future generations. Nature speaks in its own magic language of love and beauty and everywhere you can also find mystic traces and symbols, old castles and also ruins speaking of human history are to be found all around Bohemian paradise. Many residents here are creative artists, musicians, enthusiastic eco entrepreneurs, who are eager to evolve and open for all new possibilities.
There is the oldest tradition of arts and crafts, music and theatre, many crucial thinkers influencing history of my country were born here (one example is Jan Patočka an a phenomenologist friend of Vaclav Havel.) This land also magically attract people from all over the world, bringing more and more artists here to meet, share and enjoy the bohemian way of life.
Our local town Museum of Bohemian Paradise, though it’s already well known, is still a bit stuck in time organization, maintaining many public projects. I swear its is bigger from inside than outside, treasuring much more potential to be shared with the possibilities of new technology. Symbols of my town and countryside around are in hundreds books, films, songs, orchestral symphonies, artworks of all kinds... i really can’t start name here.
My personal interests in arts, graphic design, visually, mythology, archetypes, sign and symbols is topic that can fill a Wikipedia section. I ´d be happy to share more through my work, which I’m doing for years already.
5. Tell me more about the funding and rules from the European Union and Czech ministry of Environment? What priorities were you given?
The specific objectives of the project:
- to extend the range of local services and products which contribute to the development geo-tourism in extended area of Bohemian paradise
- to implement the service of local geo-tourism and eco-tourism guides
- to increase the number of eco-conscious visitors, target groups are families with children, school expeditions, but our plan is to impact everyone
Entering our PLA (protected landscape area)
- to increase promotion of unjustly neglected sites
- to reduce the unilateral exploitation (monoculture tourism) of a limited scope of the natural heritage, to limit their visitation on selected sites in
The PLA Bohemian Paradise
- to involve actively local residents in the revitalization and maintenance of the geopark territory, which mean to support education, connections, ideas sharing and support creative teamwork and inspire other people to participate and develop their projects with the same philosophy.
As you may know, our country Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia) was heavily damaged during the communist era, which lasted more than 40 years of isolation behind the Iron Wall. Now we are enjoying 20 years of freedom, but the minds of generations shift not so fast and so are our mechanism of society, family education and business. But now it’s my generation taking the step to guide our future and lead our youth to the right direction. Children must be targeted with proper messages and guided through new information era in very different way, than we and our parents were educated. Our aim is to reconnect with the world, upgrade our agenda to standards or maybe move them forward a bit with our creativity, if we are lucky enough. Now it’s all really just beginning and though I´m feeling like we are really years far behind the actual world science in this field, we can beat this slowdown and evolve.
Though we are always fighting bureaucracy in the process, and though joining this project we inherited many long lasting unsolved agendas to be finished, we are young and strong and we will win.
6.Tell us about the park: “Geopark Unesco Bohemian” How are you designing it? Is the public involved?
The project is carried in the Bohemian Paradise Geopark (700 km2) which is located in the NUTS II Northeast (Liberec and Hradec Kralove Euro-Nisa region and marginally in the NUTS II – Central Bohemia, Czech Republic. We do it for the public, and we cooperate with many individuals and teams worldwide, including teams from European geoparks network and other geologist, botanists, naturalists and artists... The purpose of our two years project is to build a base and information system available to mobile GPS devices, make geotagging games and educational trails for individuals, groups, schools.. Our design is to create a basement for continuous creation of content, and actions, public events promoting nature, sustainable lifestyle and education, a platform that will be here for future, not only for those two years defined in our government directive paper. Everyone is welcome to participate, and we also plan to continue organizing public events and we will show our project on international conferences.
7.What do you mean: a “funny educational way?”
Our society is evolving so fast, technology is breaking barriers and erasing distances between individuals and nations. There is big effort in finding the best way how to establish educational reform in our country and not only here. We decided to think globally and act locally. Learning by game is very old education concept, promoted since our famous bohemian Johann Amos Comenius published his multilingual encyclopedia "Orbis Pictus" printed in 1658 ("The Visible World in Pictures,")
I have decided to focus on a continuous creative teamwork, where all people can learn and participate in many ways. Our first task is to build our own base office, place for meetings, for team workshops and then start project and invite young people to join and do something meaningful. So many young people are hungry for knowledge and skills, many lost their jobs in crisis recently, they are bored, stalking in emptiness, when there is so much beauty around and so much to do to keep it alive! Everyone loves stories, games, riddles, hidden treasures, and we seek the way how to use this themes for increasing the awareness about nature and our place in it. Personally, becoming the member of team developing this project was something, what I as artist, was seeking for very long time. I quit the hunt for luxury and pleasure of metropolis and returned back to my small hometown, because I decided to live different life than ignorant consumer.
8.How do you see geotourism and sustainability mixing together?
Developing geotourism is defined as activity which should help maintain and promote the unique character and aesthetics of landscape and geological heritage, its natural wealth, local culture and quality of people´s life, and which is based on the principles of sustainable development and environmentally friendly forms of tourism.
It’s about meeting people in nature, support their relax and inspire their creativity and idea pluralism, enjoy life and multicultural. It’s about how to find new ways to bring families with children to nature rather than to shopping centre to spend weekend there. Give children the knowledge about beauty in universe, rise and shine the hope for painless and clean future through beauty of nature, art, love and joy and bohemian culture. We want people spend their leisure time aware and promoting our connectedness with nature and ways of sustainable life and also help local business govern their economy in nature friendly manners
email: Tampuland at gmail dot com