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The Dobrich City Park: A Tool for Environmental Education

Region: Balkans, Bulgaria, Central and Eastern Europe
Author: Pravda Dimova, The European Club of Dobrich
Consortium Member: Green Balkans Bulgaria
Status: Needs Funding Budget: $1947 Collected: $37 Needs: $1910
Goal: To teach young people and local residents to take care of their environment by involving them in revitalization processes of the City Park.
Comment: Your donation would help to make the park of 212 acres that is rich in flowers, architecture and bird life into a place of joy and relaxation for local residents and for the town guests.
Donor: Timothy Douglas, Washington DC [April 2001; May 2001]

Information about the organization
The European Club of Dobrich was founded in 1996. There are 17 members, including the board of directors. Their goals are to increase Dobrich's national and international relations and awareness, to heighten dialogue between local authorities and citizens through a well-informed media, and to support women business leaders of the community. The European Club held "European Months" between 1998 and 2000, which featured a different European country every month. The Euro-Club held monthly children's art contests with the country theme, hosted banquets for related businesses and visitors, and posted information about the featured country in highly visible places throughout the town. The European Club has been the catalyst in opening up meetings of local authorities to the press conferences to increase media accuracy and to help better inform the public about local politics. They completed a project involving the recognition of women leaders in the community in 1998.

Project need
Dobrich, a town of 119,500 people, is located in the Northeast corner of Bulgaria, 40 km from The Black Sea. The town has an unemployment rate of twenty-one percent. It contains over twenty elementary and secondary educational institutions. The central region of the town fits snugly against a park of 212 acres that is rich in flowers, architecture, and bird life. Hundreds of citizens visit the park daily to take a walk, play with pets and children, or just enjoy the scenery. Unfortunately, in recent years the park has fallen to disrepair. Benches are rotting, bridges are missing boards, and the fountain in non-operational. This state of disrepair is caused by the combination of a lack of appreciation for the environment and lack of resources to maintain the park to its potential.
The environment does not take precedence in a country with poorly heated schools and hospitals lacking basic materials. Environmental projects often have extreme difficulty finding funding as a result. As such, aside from the city park, there is only scattered greenery amidst cement apartment blocks in Dobrich. The city park is in need of a little work in order to liven up the drab face of Dobrich, and it is important that the citizens are involved in this refurbishing so that they have a stake in its future.

Project goals
The European Club, a local NGO, is interested in teaching the youth about the value of our one natural space, but lacks the finances to do so. Their idea is to engage the citizens of the region in three environmental activities involving the park. The goals are to involve more people, especially children, in the effort to preserve their environment, and to give them a means to teach other citizens of its importance.

Methods of implementation
Primarily, The European Club will hold an open exhibition for the creation of wooden sculptures. The exhibition will take place for ten days. Five local and five regional artists will be invited to participate in the creation of sculptures from ten dead trees. Participants will be chosen according to evidence in their portfolios and interest in working with this particular medium. Awards will ideally be given to the three best sculptures in commemoration of Earth Day. The statues will remain in the main entrance of the park for a year before being moved to the Art Gallery.
The municipality will replace the 10 dead trees used for the sculptures, with 8 live trees from the local greenhouse.Following the sculpture exhibition the municipality will sponsor a park clean up. Each participant will be given gloves and instruments, and the municipality will provide transport for the waste collected.
As a final step to sustain the appearance of the park, each school will adopt a section of the park to maintain. The European Club will buy instruments for two classes of twenty-five students for garden maintenance and future clean-ups. The sculpture exhibition, clean up, and student maintenance of the park all serve to uphold the greater goal of providing a pleasant place for the citizens of the town to retire. The city park is a natural sanctuary, and it is a much-needed demonstration to citizens of a dwindling environmental culture.

Project time frame

April 13-22 - sculpture contest
Ideally we would like to display the finished sculptures in honor of Earth Day. If funding is not available by this time, then we are planning to finish the sculptures in honor of "The Day of Dobrich" on September 25. So the alternative dates will be September 14-24.

April 28-29 - park clean-up
Alternate date: September 29-30.
The school classes will begin taking care of their sections of the park directly following the clean-up.

Gardening instruments for maintaining the park $150
Brochures and posters of the event $200
Prizes for 3 best sculptures $150
Hotel stay for 5 people for 7 nights ($10/person) $350
Meals for 10 people for 7 days ($6/person)$420
Chain saw* Husqvarna 365 for sculpture design$500
VF Administrative Cost$177
Total Amount Requested from the Virtual Foundation$1947
Note: After this project, the chain saw will be donated to the Greenery Department of Dobrich Municipality for routine tree maintenance in the town. The department doesn't now have any motorized device for this type of work, which is performed daily in milder weather.

In-kind contributions from local sources
Planting of new trees (value of tree, transport, labor)$248
Cutting of trees (machines and labor)$350
Park clean-up (gloves, instruments, trash bags, transport) $285
Total local contributions$883