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									I in Greece

I was in Greece with my friends and teachers from 26 February to 9 March 2009.
We stayed in Alexandroupolis, on the north-east of Greece.
It´s´a very nice sunny and historicial place on the coast of Mediterranean Sea.
I found there a lot friends who liked me and my Czech friends.
There we learnt something about their culture and country.
Greeks are very friendly people, who like talking to you about something.
What I liked in Greece the most was travelling round this country.
The best trip was to Evros Delta and Dadia Forest.

                                  We´ve been travelling ther by bus for two hours. But we didn´t
                                  When we came, we are saw very nice landscape. It was like a
                                  I didn´t have a word for it. Then we sat down into a boat and left
                                  the port.
                                  We had an excursion around the river. There we saw some animals
                                  who lived there. When we came back we saw the Turkish border.
                                  My Czech teacher was very angry. She sat in the corner of the boat
                                 and she was wet because of the waves. It was a very funny trip.

 The Evros Delta remained unchanged during the first half of the 20th century. Up until the middle of
the 20 th century, which means before the construction of major dykes and the operation of
pumping stations, large areas of the delta were flooded. The cycle of erosion and deposition among
the sea, river and land as well as the action of marine waves at the coast have contributed to the
topology of Evros delta, which continues to be a dynamic and evolutionary ecosystem. This natural
cycle has been recently modified because of human interventions at the river's basin.

Dams, channels, ditches and flood-prevention as well as irrigation works were constructed in Evros
Delta between 1950 and 1980 in order to expand the land area available for cultivation. These human
interventions decreased the fresh water supply, limited its access into the delta area and also
contributed to the invasion of salt water into the inner areas of the delta.

After the completion of the abovementioned works, the largest parts of marshes and wetlands were
drained and large quantities of fresh water were channeled directly into the sea. During subsequent
years, extensive drainage works took place in the area and there was an effort to "control" the Evros
River flow through the use of dykes and new channels. These works led to the shrinkage and
disappearance of important habitats and species. The fall of the ground water level resulted in the
invasion of the sea inside the southern delta either through channels or through sandy areas. The
efforts to drain the delta did not manage to create new productive agricultural land, mainly because of
the increased salinity levels of the ground in the south-western delta.

In 1987, local people (mainly farmers) closed the entrance of Drana lagoon because they believed
that the lagoon was responsible for the increased salinity of the cultivated soils. This action led to the
degradation of the lagoon's habitat. Fish and colonies of bird species that were breeding by the
lagoon's islets disappeared. The drainage of Drana lagoon did not have any significant benefit for local
farmers and the delta lost an important habitat and an equally important wealth-producing fish source
(vivarium). More than 10 years later, the local society and the Prefecture of Evros decided to restore
Drana lagoon by implementing a Life - Nature project.
                                                  Dadia Forest.          You can often see
                                                  them from the lookout deep in the lush
                                                  Dadia forest, near the Rodopi mountain
                                                  range. Today there are 19 vultures feastin on
                                                  carrion; 13 of them are the protected black
                                                  vultures. Binoculars and a telescope are
                                                  supplied and a park officer is on hand to
                                                  keep visitors informed and in check—the
                                                  birds may be hard of hearing but have eight
                                                  times the strength of human eyesight and
                                                                     are sensitive to any
                                                                     movement in the forest.

There we saw the birds, which are not typical for Europe.

It´s a very fantastic and interesting place.When we came here, the bus took us to the special place,
where we saw the birds. If you want you can take binoculars. After that we waited in a cafe for the
second group.There is sub-tropical nature.

In the 1980s, the black vulture was a threatened species in Europe. A Dutch ornithologist
counted only 25 individuals, breeding in the Dadia forest, near the northern Greek city of
Alexandroupolis. After intense lobbying by international wildlife conservation groups, a
7,290-hectare section of the forest of mostly pine and oak was declared a protected zone
in 1980 (along with another 27,000 hectare buffer zone) by the World Conservation
Union and the WWF. Logging was banned, tourist activities curtailed, and infrastructure
projects such as new roads were halted until an integrated management plan could be
implemented. In 1998, the inner zone of the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest was declared a
wildlife reserve. Despite continuing negotiations over its status and management, it
appears to be a commendable model for conservation and eco-tourism development. At
the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Dadia is on one of the two main bird migration
routes in Europe and has a unique mosaic of habitats. It has the most diverse range of
predatory birds—including 36 of the 38 European species of diurnal birds, of which 20
nest there permanently. It is renowned as one of two remaining European feeding and
breeding grounds (the other is in Spain) for rare raptors such as the black and griffin
vultures. The forest provides the necessary tranquility for the vultures' long reproduction
period. Within the protected area there are 219 species of birds, 40 species of reptiles
and amphibians and 48 species of mammals.About 200 visitors per day pass through the
Ecotourist center (run by the municipality and WWF Greece), which has informative
bilingual displays and a video about the forest, the wildlife and the efforts to protect the
environment. Guides are available to take you up to the lookout in a mini-bus or an
escorted walk along the clearly-defined trails.A 20-room hostel was recently refurbished
and expanded with EU funds and the cafe and bus service are run by the local authority.
May is the best time to visit, before birds begin their migration, though the best time for
vultures is autumn, when the young are fresh out of their nests.Although use of the
forest is still a sensitive issue with locals from surrounding villages, many are involved in
the Ecotourist ventures.WWF has had a permanent presence in the forest since 1992,
running programs to protect and monitor bird species, conserve raptor populations, raise
public awareness and ensure a sustainable level of tourist activity.

I will remember this travel for all my life.

                                                      Yllya Yablonskyy, 15

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