Hajnówka – Academy of Nature Supported by Norway Grants
An Academy of Nature will be established in Hajnówka, intended to offer local residents and tourists knowledge regarding the Białowieża Forest. The first project meeting was organised on 22 March.

The Academy of Nature was one of the many endeavours delivered as part of the “Hajnówka ReNewed – Green Transformation” project co-funded by the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 and state budget.

This will be a tourist and education attraction and playground – and, primarily, a nature education centre collaborating closely with multiple academic organisations from the Białowieża Forest region, secondary and primary schools and kindergartens. The main purpose of the Academy of Nature will be to satisfy the educational needs of various age groups with regard to the Białowieża Forest and nature, in interesting and innovative formats. Visits to the Academy of Nature are to become a key component of trips to the Białowieża Forest – an introduction to the experience of primeval wood stands, a permanent location supporting the youngest local residents in their study of biology and nature. It has been also designed as a major contribution to the economic development of Hajnówka. The town of Alta in northern Norway, neighbour to the Rock Art of Alta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and World Heritage Rock Art Centre – Alta Museum will be the partner we intend to pick up good practices from, and a source of inspiration when establishing the Academy of Nature.

The first Academy of Nature founding meeting was held on Tuesday, 22 March 2022. It was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy, Association of Polish Cities, project partners, educational and Municipal Authority units, and Alta, our Norwegian partner town. Specific activity concepts were presented by project partners, i.a.:

  • Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Białowieża, leader of the Pompik the European Bison Zone, author of the early Academy of Nature concept;
  • Białystok University of Technology, Living Fungi Laboratory leader;
  • Białowieża National Park, Experience Zone leader;
  • The town of Alta presented a nature-based project – a concept of blending natural and urban environments.

All partners, the Hajnówka Forestry Administrative Inspectorate included, have joined the process of developing the entire Academy of Nature concept. Assisting the Municipality in project delivery, Association of Polish Cities experts have presented substantive and targeted foundations for future works to develop the final new attraction offer.