“Green Library Public Information”
– $720. & $500. (Latvia, 1996)

How a Non-Governmental Organization
Can Become a Public Resource

The Green Library in Riga has collected books and magazines about ecological issues for more than ten years, and welcomes any interested people to use the resources. Its openness to the public, and its intellectual depth and variety, encourage volunteers who find the atmosphere welcoming and stimulating. Two such volunteers were able to act on their ideas to increase the Green Library’s public outreach and effectiveness. One young woman, on her own initiative, had organized all of the library’s specialized materials; her Mini-Grant enabled this index to be printed in a newsletter and widely distributed, making the materials more accessible to users. The other volunteer gathered up to date video materials on ecological issues, produced a catalogue with descriptions, and organized group video viewings including discussions with specialists on each topic. She was able to obtain video donations worth over $100 from the Riga Zoo, Small World Productions, and several different foreign embassies located in Riga.

These actions made the Green Library materials even more accessible, useful and relevant to the general public. Thus these Mini-Grants rewarded individual initiative on the part of the volunteers, and contributed to the library’s long-standing tradition of public outreach and information services.






Latvian Projects
Year Eight
(2000 – 2001)

Youth for the Town - $640. Youth Club “Esam un Busim”, Stendes Care and Development Foundation “Mezazile”. Young people organized a cleanup of apartment house courtyards, and the restoration of a Soviet-era sports ground which had become a goat pasture. The club also takes responsibility for maintaining the playground and organizing events in the future.

Introduction to Permaculture - $800. Zala Briviba, Ieva Zalite. Experts from the Belarussian NGO, Eko Dom, will travel to Latvia to lead a seminar on alternative sustainable farming methods, based on their own experiences. Latvian participants include teachers in agricultural and rural schools, household gardeners, and people interested in alternative lifestyles and communes. Matching funds: (Latvian Association of the Biological Agricultural Organization).

Forest Days in Dzerves Castle Park - $770. Ciravas - Dzives takes – J. Gulbis. This project organized approximately 200 students, parents and local inhabitants to restore the park and grounds of a historic castle, built in 1820. In addition, they created a nature path and held a seminar for the public on garden and tree care. Matching funds: (Ciravas Forestry Department).

Nature Trail in Dunica Community - $225. Siksni Primary School, Club of Young Naturalists. The student club prepared informative signs and booklets to promote public use and awareness of the ecological - historical trail in their town.

Renovation of Stork Nests - $350. Dabas Draga Klubs (Nature Friendship Club), Anita Vilcane. This project restored 11 stork nests in Varkava region, organizing local residents and schoolchildren in the effort.

Green Days in Upmali - $480. Farm Upmali. In a model sustainable forest, this project created a nature trail, recreation grounds, fireplace and demonstration sites. Study tours for youth organizations are using materials prepared by WWF.

Farming Recreation Territory - $740. “Pakapiens” NGO. A cooperative effort created a green recreation area in the center of the town of Valdgale. The NGO, Pakapiens, organized participation by the Puna Elementary School children, and municipal council of Valdgale, and volunteers.

Nature Path in the Park of Kazdanga Palace - $610. To develop tourism, to unite generations to keep their cultural heritage alive, and to study and preserve the environment, this project undertook the restoration of 19th century paths in the palace park, researched the exotic tree species, and created informative signs.

Dune Forest - $670. Green Order – Fairy Tales House “Undine”. In five months of Saturday work, volunteers restored the park in the center of Jurmala, replanting mint, heather and moss (common plants native to this sandy area). They also built wooden paths, installed a symbolic protective wall, and erected an information stand. Matching funds: $480 (Municipal Council of Jurmala).



Latvian Projects
Year Seven
(1999 – 2000)

Lake Burtnieks Stairs and View – $910. VAK-Burnieku, Teiksma Purina This lake has great biological diversity but has problems with eutrophication. The project prepared access to the lake and set up a viewing area, to encourage public awareness and involvement. (WWF-International Leadership Training Grant).

To Know and To Protect – $500. Baltic Koleoptological Institute, Arvids Barsevskis. This newly founded institute is dedicated to increasing public awareness of role of beetles in the ecosystem, especially the connection between preservation of various beetle species and sound farming practices. This project includes taking stock of the beetle populations in the area, and informing landowners of their importance. Matching funds: $4250 (from companies: LCS, Proline-D, Magistr).

Eco-Trail “Braki” – $760. Ergli Region Environmental Protection & Tourist Development – Andris Eglitis. To develop a nature trail (4 km) in a protected area near the museum for poet R. Blaumanis. Involving local people in the project will inspire them to protect it. Matching funds: $505 (Museum, local timber companies, S/C Latvijas berzs).

Trail of Remembrance to Voldemars Puce – $500. Vestiena VAK, Juris Ploters. Activities throughout the year united several organizations as they developed the trail along the coastline of lake Salajs. They renovated places shown in the 1968 documentary film “Mernieku laiki,” including footbridges, birdhouses, Mr. Puce’s birthplace, and the Slatava estate, and planted a variety of native flowers. Matching funds: $1140 (area foresters, Latvian Nature Museum, government and businesses).

Ecological Farming – $800. Association of Biological (Organic) Agriculture, Cesu Branch, J. Sietinsons. The grant enabled this group to participate in the Latvian national agricultural exhibition held in Riga, which drew 13,000 attendees. They presented seminars about marketing healthy food, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity, and E.U.standards of certification. The positive public response has encouraged them to expand activities on a demonstration farm, in cooperation with other Latvian community organizations. Matching funds: $318. (WWF-International Leadership Training Grant).

Waste Water Cycle in Jelgava City – $900. Anita Stabulniece. This long-time environmental volunteer filmed and produced a video documenting the successful Waste Water Cycle project in her city. The video will be used in schools and for educational programs on waste management. Matching funds: $540 (Local company KULK).

Interdisciplinary Theme Daugava (Stage Five) – $800. DPU DIVIC, Digna Pilate. This project used the material this group has gathered about the Daugava river ecosystem to develop and present new forms of public education, including audio programs. Matching funds: $1070 (Latvian Nature Museum, Latvian Culture Fund).

Jurmada Historic Trail (Stage Two) – $700. Jurmada Development Fund, Aiva Dreimane. This project completed 11 km of walking and cycling trails in the Jurmada national preserve.

Latvian Mammal Data Base – $950. Latvian Mammalogical Society, Valdis Pilats. This grant supported the first steps of Latvian involvement in the international Baltic Mammalia Atlas project: collection and presentation of data, especially about rare species, in a format compatible with European Union standards. Lithuanian specialists assisted. (WWF-International Leadership Training Grant).

Waste – $100. Riga French Lycee, Lauma Zeltina. This student’s goal was to prepare and implement a simple and effective plan for her school’s waste management, including composting, waste separation, and encouraging students and school officials to participate. (WWF-International Leadership Training Grant).



Latvian Projects
Year Six
(1998 – 1999)

Jecu Windmill Environmental Center – $840. Farm Jungas, Dainis Ozols. Historical and cultural awareness can be a key to public support for sustainable energy. This project is reconstructing the Jecu windmill as part of a museum, and creating a nearby nature and cultural trail. In-kind support from neighboring institutes.

Environmental Days in Daugavpils and Kraslava – $500. DPU DIVIC, Rudite Klepere. A well informed and educated society can more effectively influence decisions connected with environmental problems in the municipalities and the whole country. Projects united student groups from art and music schools and local officials, an “Eco-rave” in the Center of Latvian Culture involved the general public, and widespread media coverage highlighted environmental concerns.

Information on Food Additives – $950. Rezeknes Consumer Protection Society, Inara Groce. This group used national and international sources to get information about food additives. They produced an explanatory booklet, which was distributed through a network of consumer protection organizations, and in supermarkets.

Tidy Environment – $900. Svete Elementary School, Ilze Lazdina. The school group developed awareness and encouraged town pride as teachers and students put in order three public places: cemeteries of the death toll in the first and second world wars, and the memorial to Latvian Riflemen. Leaders of the governmental woodworkers society and a local gardening NGO cooperated in this effort. Matching funds: $400 (Municipality).

Nature Trail, Dubna Riverbank (Stage Two) – $900. DPU Varkava, “Friends of Nature”, Helena Pizica. In this year’s stage, 105 volunteers continued the trail building and maintenance, public involvement, and public education which “Friends of Nature” had started last year. When they had finished their work, they celebrated with a bonfire and hot meal.

Preparation of “Orga” Trail – $550. Saka Region Nature Fund, Skaidrite Solovjova. This group organized five actions which developed the nature trail “Orga” on the bank of the river Tebra, and linked this local process to Agenda 21. Local radio stations and the newspaper informed the public, encouraging a rise in environmental consciousness.

Flower Valley – $860. Laidzes Primary School, Ligita Snorina. Through garden creation and maintenance, participants contributed to their community’s beautification and pride. Matching funds: $1140 (Municipality).

Help Our Old Parks – $310. No. 3 School, Ecological Studies Club, Vladimir Azarewich. Students and teachers set an example for the neighborhood as they got to work weeding and planting in the local park, which had been neglected for several years.

Jurmada Historic Trail (Stage One) – $770. Jurmada Development Fund The 45 members of this organization support the Vidzeme region’s cultural and historical traditions, and believe enjoyment of nature leads to respect for the region and its heritage. They started planning and creating a nature trail as part of their public outreach.

Green Center in Cesis – $920. Latvian Nature Protection Society, Vanda Gasina. Adult and student members of the local ecological club organized to develop a pond as a nature study and recreation area; they built wooden stairs down to the pond, cleared and planted trees and shrubs, and painted a mural on the adjoining wall. Matching funds: $880 (Municipality).



Latvian Projects
Year Five

Environmental Days in Skujene – $637. Initiative group Skujene, Ilze Smate. This project organized civic projects, including clean-ups of parks and bus stops and planting trees and shrubs in public places. Matching funds: $763 (local Municipality and local businesses).

Marsh Environmental Management – $522. VAK-Olaine, Lelde Balode. This group, with eight members, collected information about the marsh which has been damaged by industrial pollution from the city of Olaine. They organized excursions to the marsh, and prepared public information about the biological diversity of this valuable ecosystem.

Paper Collecting Action – $182. DPU NSEEC Limbazu, Guna Grigorjeva. The goals were to organize paper recycling in Limbazi city, (inform the inhabitants, collect and deliver the paper, give awards to participants) and also for the group itself to learn how to manage a project.

Spring Clean-up Action in Talsi – $800. VAK “Talsi”, Andis Uzulnieks. Volunteers organized to clean up the beach in the dune region, to place informative signs and pictograms in the protected territory, and to clean up illegal garbage dumping areas in the village of Mersrags. VAK-Talsi did this work with the approval of the local officials, who did not have the capacity to accomplish this project themselves.

Youth Green Club in Carnikava – $634. Children’s Environmental School, Dzintra Ailte. The Green Club ran an exhibition and adventure trail on Earth Day, researched and drew a map showing the “good” and “bad” environmental places of their region, established a club meeting space and developed ties with local authorities to help in their future projects. Matching funds: $397 (own resources).

Ilgas Planner for Environmental NGOs, Latgale – $599. DPU NSEEC (Daugavpils Pedagogical University Nature Studies and Environmental Center), Maris Cacka. This project brought together NGOs from the Daugavpils region to develop joint projects to solve the problems of environmental pollution and to share environmental education methods.

Nature Trail, Dubna Riverbank (Year One) – $412. DPU Varkava, “Friends of Nature”, Helena Pizica. Two joint work actions involved a 58 people in clearing a nature trail and putting up informative materials. Local newspaper coverage encouraged public awareness.

Health Garden – $686. Sustainable Development Centre “Renda”, Mara Bergmane. To expand the model “health garden” which uses organic farming methods; to promote sustainable, environmental friendly village development. Matching funds: $1714 (self).

Informative Booklet – $1000. Sustainable Development Centre “Renda”, Laura Suna. A public information campaign explains Renda’s programs to promote biodynamic agriculture and sustainable forestry. The goal was to involve new members and volunteers as Renda broadens its mission, and to attract new groups of visitors.



Latvian Projects
Year Four

Daugava Exhibition (Phase Three) – $997. DIVIC-Daugavpils, Digna Pilate A traveling exhibition provided evidence about ecological damage that could result from building a hydro power plant on the Daugava river. The idea is to involve the public by showing that eventually the losses from this project will outweigh the short-term economic benefits.

Environmental Parliament – $818. Initiative Group Talsi, Inguna Raituma. The Environmental Parliament involves three schools from the Northwestern part of Latvia. It aims to learn and implement principles of Agenda 21 at the school level. In seminars, students and municipal officials discussed solutions to environmental problems.

For Safe and Clean Sea – $910. Liepaja Initiative Group, Sandra Alksne. The aim of the project was to promote green thinking and stress the problems of the Baltic Sea, through children’s drawings, an exhibition, and newspaper coverage. Over a hundred children participated.

Protection of Muscardinus Avellanarius in Skrunda – $904. Initiative Group/ Ilze Strausa. In a week-long environmental camp, local residents together with school children constructed shelters for birds and for threatened small mammals. Skrunda is the former location of a Soviet military base, and the ecological situation had suffered during that time. Matching funds: $400 (individual donors).

Climate Action Day in Kuldiga – $950. Kuldiga Environmental Education School, Igo Midrijanis. Action days provide information and involve local people in solving environmental problems, such as global climate change and household waste disposal.

Public Information on Sustainable Development – $500. VAK Green Library, Fanija Bluma. This project gathered up to date environmental video materials, and made them easily available to NGOs and to the public. These videos were also used in public outreach lectures and programs. Videos worth over $100 were donated by the Riga Zoo, Small World Production, EYFA, and Embassies located in Latvia.

Green Library Newsletter – $720. VAK Green Library, Ieva Zalite. This project produced four bulletins with reviews and brief descriptions of new library materials. The goal was to increase the number of users of the Green Library among NGO members.



Latvian Projects
Year Three

Monitoring of Water Quality in Gaujiene Village$680. Gaujiena VAK, Elga Racene. The aim of this project was to install eight water quality control sites on the river Guaja and its tributaries, to monitor them regularly, and to inform residents and officials about the situation.

Environmental Education Newsletter – $600. Association of Environmental Educators, Santa Klavina. Four newsletters were issued (total of 3750 copies) to promote environmentally correct living, to inform members about environmental education activities in Latvia and explain foreign experience in this field. Matching funds: $680 (Environmental Protection Ministry).

Green Library Meetings and Lectures – $801. Green Library – VAK, Laila Kundzina. The goal was to update materials in order to provide information on the concepts of sustainable development and Green activities around the world. Meetings and lectures were held in Latvian and Russian speaking schools.

Seminar on Environmental Education in Eastern Latvia – $540. Centre for Nature Research and Environmental Education, Arvids Barshevskis. Field trips, seminars and lectures attracted adults and students, and strengthened cooperation between NGOs and governmental institutions. Matching funds: $710 (REC).

Environmental Education Activities in Ilgu Nature Park – $745. Center for Nature Research and Environmental Education, Raimonds Gribusts. Through traveling lessons, to involve local people in environmental protection in two villages (Skrundaliena and Lidumnieki) in the Daugavpils region.

Environmental Problem Solving – $743. Children’s Environmental School, Mariete Velikane. The aim of the project was to promote local environmental problem solving, and to teach pupils how to plan, organize and evaluate activities. Matching funds: $450 (Ciesis Municipality).

Protection of Talsi Seashore – $940. Talsi VAK, Ainars Ozolins. In cooperation with the local authorities, this activity marked and erected fences around the protected areas of the seashore, and eliminated illegal car entrances to the dune zones. Matching funding: $440 (Talsi Municipality).

Biodiversity of Daugava River Valley (Stage Two) –$530. DIVIC Centre, Digna Pilate. To gather and record evidence of the biological diversity and valuable geological objects in the Daugava River valley, and to model the possible damage that would result from building a proposed dam. The goal is presentation to the public in the next year. Matching funds: $270 (Latvian Nature Museum).

Green Consumerism in Latvia – $550. CCB Latvia, Girtis Strazdins. This project did a chemical analysis of the most popular laundry washing powders, and checked how they met the environmental standards on phosphates. Results were published and distributed through street workshops in downtown Riga. Matching funds: $300 (Coalition Clean Baltic).

Supporting Environmental Education – $400. EKOCENTRS, Valdis Bisters The aim of this project was to develop and implement a program supporting environmental education at the local level. It did develop some lessons, but it did not achieve all of its desired results, primarily because it depended on a large amount of matching financing which did not come through.



Latvian Projects
Year Two

Daugava River Biodiversity (Stage One) – $705. Latvian Museum of Natural History, Digna Pilate. In 1985, public opposition stopped the building of a hydropower dam on the Daugava River. However, starting in 1991 energy and economic problems caused some local officials to renew the hydropower plan. In a multi-year project, participants will research information about the river ecosystem, its biodiversity, endangered species and natural beauty, and then make their findings available to the public. Matching funds: $360.

Afforestation in the Littoral Zone – $690. VAK – Forest, Ruta Berkgaute. This project planned, organized and carried out a weekend volunteer action campaign to combat coastline deterioration. Matching funds: $620 (Coalition Clean Baltic).

Anninas Park – $800. Gaujiena VAK, Aivars Natre. Local public participation raised residents’ awareness of how their individual actions can bring about improvements. They collected garbage and the remains of a destroyed building, and cleaned the pond of the public park. Matching funds: $450 (Municipality).

Channelized River Restoration Demonstration Site – $700. Latvian Society of Nature and Monument Protection, A. Urtans. Straightening small rivers has led to erosion of farm land and degradation of water quality. This project restored a stretch of a channelized river, showing different methods including installation of vegetation buffer zones. It was the first such demonstration site in Latvia. Matching funds: $450 (Municipality).

Dune Action in Talsi Region – $660. Talsi VAK, Janis Matulis. Organization of a clean-up effort along the Baltic Sea and Riga Bay coastal areas. The clean-up involved community volunteers working under the direction of NGO members. Matching funds: $250 (Municipality).

Organic Garden in Renda (Stage One) – $800. Center for Balanced Development of Renda, Mara Bergmane. This demonstration organic and biodynamic garden was designed to promote environmental protection by popularizing alternative agriculture. The grant covered seeds, gardening tools, soil preparation and transportation. Matching funds: $450.

Ilzida Lake Clean-up – $420. Vestiena Environmental Protection Club. Due to a serious illness suffered by the main organizer, this project was only partly completed.

“Green Time” Newspaper Supplement – $100. Daugavpils DIVIC, Arvids Barsevskis. To produce and distribute an environmental information newspaper supplement to men in prison, to involve them in positive social ideas and plans for action.

Baltic Sea Days in Latvia – $500. CCB Latvia, Girtis Strazdins. Organizing a public action campaign drew attention to ecological problems of the Baltic sea area, and the role that water pollution plays in this damage. This event received detailed local press coverage. Matching funds: $320 (Municipality and State Environmental Ministry).

Environmental Music – $720. VAK Culture, H. Simanis. This project used music, songs and drama to raise public awareness of the importance of natural beauty to human life and to cultural heritage. It generated interest and enthusiasm from many people who previously had been uninterested in the environmental club’s activities. Matching funds: $300.



Latvian Projects
Year One

Sustainable Packaging – $500. Faldus-VAK, A. Mednis. A seminar involved Latvian, Finnish, Swedish, German, Estonian and Lithuanian environmentalists. A glass recycling program and ways to reduce municipal waste throughout Latvia were among the topics. Matching funding: $650 (EU Phare).

Action to Create New Protected Areas in Latvian Forests – $264. VAK-Riga, Ruta Berkgaute. Information about Latvian forest ecosystems and the damage done already was published and distributed in a newsletter advocating the creation of new protected areas.

Baltic Sea Beach Clean-Up – $500. Coalition Clean Baltic, Girtis Strasdins. A 15-kilometer long seashore was cleaned as a result of a three-day action by the environmental groups of Riga and the surrounding area. The main objectives were to clean up the trashed beach, to raise public awareness, and to involve local communities in clean-up work and further environmental activities. A group of 16 organizers successfully publicized the action; 3000 people participated.

Green Library – $410. Green Library – VAK, Laila Kundzina. Lectures, book expositions and competitions were organized in the schools of Bauska, Uzvara and Aglona. The goal was to bring Green Library resources to local towns and communities. Ten lecturers and several thousand children participated.

Environmental Legislation and Public Participation Seminar – $500. VAK-Talsi, Janis Matulis. Participants from Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Belarus and Latvia discussed specific legislation (the Right to Know Act), the role of mass media in public decision-making, and environmental issues of the transition period from the state controlled to a market economy. Matching funds: $650 (EU-Phare).

Workshop on Energy and the Environment – $490. Ecological Center, I. Kudrenickis. Energy planning and energy related pollution issues were discussed by scientists, representatives of environmental groups, and community members. Participants were taught how to use the computer simulation model used by Latvian governmental bodies in the energy planning process.

Sustainable Development – $500. ECUL – Valdis Bisters. A two-day training course for 47 members of various Latvian environmental NGOs discussed the ideas of sustainable development and how they can be applied to environmental activities in post-communist countries.

Environmental Education for Latgale Schools – $500. Latvian Society of Nature Conservation, Arvids Barsevskis. The project was aimed at the countryside schools of Southeastern Latvia. This region has a diverse population, with a large proportion of Russian-speakers. Activities included lectures, eco-games, materials and discussion for teachers and administrators, and a boat expedition down the Dubna River to investigate pollution sources and their impact.

Seminar on Sustainable Agriculture – $500. VAK-Daugavpils, V. Gorbunov. With the start of land privatization, it is important for new farmers to learn about environmentally sound agriculture. Fifty-two farmers participated, including the president of the “New Farmer” club. With this seminar, VAK-Daugavpils restarted its activity, after a two-year break due to lack of funds.

Campaign on Collecting Used Batteries – $450. Latvian Society of Nature Conservation, Salacgriva, A. Urtans. Fact sheets and media publicity explained the dangers of discarding used batteries in landfills. Stationary and mobile collection boxes were made and distributed. Matching funds: $50 (Salacgriva Municipality).