The project team is made of organizations and experts with experience in aquatic warbler conservation.
Zymantas Morkvenas is a director of environmental NGO in Lithuania and the manager of this project. He has been leading few conservation initiatives for aquatic warbler conservation nationally and internationally from 2010. Current Z. Morkvenas’ research focus on agricultural practice impact to biodiversity, development of socio-economic mechanisms of maintaining biodiversity in rural landscapes. He was leading the team to create new agri-environmental measure to support maintenance of alluvial grasslands and fen mires for conservation of aquatic warbler and is active member of International Aquatic Warbler Conservation Team. Moreover, Z. Morkvenas is devoted ornithologist and nature photographer.
“Every time I hear the song of aquatic warbler, I feel excitement and joy. I think aquatic warbler conservation is my life-time project.”
Aleksander Kozulin devoted most of his scientific research and practical work trying to save this species. Together with Martin Flade he discovered most of the Aquatic Warbler populations and initiated habitat restoration projects in Belarus. He is also a member of International Aquatic Warbler Conservation Team.
“Conservation of the Aquatic warbler and the marshes it inhabits has become the main goal of my research in the last 20 years. I feel responsible for the fate of this species in Belarus and it is very important that the responsibility for this species is shared by many scientists, environmentalists and the local people.”
Arūnas Pranaitis has been working in the field of nature for more than 30 years and has a lot of experience in restoring and managing habitats. Much of his research and practical work relates to the protection of birds and wetlands. A. Pranaitis is an enthusiastic ornithologist and Director of the Zuvintas Biosphere Reserve, the oldest protected area in Lithuania, where the first nests of the Aquatic Warbler habitats were discovered. In 2017 he received the Victor Berg’s prize for his successful long-term commitment and work in the field of nature, .
“I just love these singers (Aquatic Warblers). I want to see the magnitude of their abundance 30 years ago in Žvintos grasslands. “
Žydrūnas Preikša is an ornithologist and scientist who has practically devoted his entire professional career to the protection of the Warblers. He is in charge of keeping records of nests in Lithuania and is constantly participating in various bird conservation and research projects. He also belongs to the International Protection Group for Bird Breeds.
“I was fascinated by Aquatic warbler’s mysteriousness since it is one of the least investigated birds and conservation of Aquatic warbler as a dweller of very specific habitats helps to protect entire ecosystem with many other species”.
Rita is responsible for coordinating all the communication activities of the project, bringing together volunteers. She has been working on the protection of Aquatic Warblers and nature conservation for five years. She has a Masters degree in Public Relations.
“For me the most delicate meeting with the aquatic warbler was the first. As the sun was setting next to the Nemunas delta mire, I heard the warbler’s song for the first time. The sun-lit grasses softly swayed, nature was calm and ready to sleep, but the aquatic warbler kept singing her survival song. It was magical.”
Gintaras has been working in various biodiversity conservation projects for two decades. During this period, the main focus was on the research and protection of birds and their habitats, also has experience as lecturer. In the project, Gintaras is responsible for the implementation of monitoring, activities, participates in the preparation of the project’s area management plans, programs and monitoring activity reports, and is one of the team members who are responsible of the program for the transfer of Aquatic warbler.
“Aquatic warbler is a really special bird, which can undoubtedly be considered a symbol of the disharmonious coexistance with nature of today’s human. Today it’s hard to believe that, just a century ago, Aquatic warblers were the usual and very numerous species, but this fact still gives hope that this species can still be preserved. I’m happy to be able to contribute to the protection of this mysterious bird, to observe the work of people who are really devoted to them, and how these efforts are increasingly revealing the mysteries of the life of Aquatic warbler. It also gives hope.”
In the project, Petras is responsible for coordinating activities in the Nemunas delta, maintaining relations with the local government and farmers.
“Everything in the world is balanced and set in order, but when a person intervenes in certain areas, this order is violated, so it is necessary to protect nature. There must be enough space under the sun for everyone. If you have violated or destroyed something, you must take care of it, preserve it, and restore it.”
Rita have gathered a lot of experience in project administrating, so she helps the project manager to coordinate administrative – financial activities.
“Aquatic warbler just remarkably expanded the perception that everyone, no matter how small and little – everyone is valuable in this world and has their own role and impact on others. I’m glad that the protection of this little bird that is happening for several years in our organisation, is helping me (administrative – management sector person) to better understand natural processes, to perceive the links between human activities, consequences and changes, also it helps to raise the questions, whose answers leads to wider self, as a part of a nature, understanding, i.e. to look to the environment with “eyes wide open” and to see deeper and more than before. I love these little birds and I am very proud of our nature conservation team.”
In this project Irena is responsible for administrative and various tasks implementation. Irena was graduated in Tourism and Hotel Management, afterwards she gained professional experience working in various enterprises and organizations in the field of administration both in Lithuania and abroad.
Jurgita is responsible for project finances – planning, supervision, control and preparation as well as submission of financial statements to the responsible authorities. Jurgita has a degree in finance and law and has many years of experience in project management.
“I and happy to be a part of such an important and sensitive project – when protection of such rare little bird gathered wonderful dedicated team of professionals, where not only partners from Lithuania, but also partners from Belarus cooperate. It’s amazing, that we can share the experience, while pursuing common goal and without fear of new challenges.”
Irina is leading researcher of the international cooperation sector and scientific support of environmental conventions of the NGO “Scientific – Practical Center of Natural Recourses of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences”. For more than 5 years she has been working as a manager of scientific projects.
“I like the fact that my work helps my colleagues scientists to do important things in order to preserve Aquatic warblers. The work in this project in very inspiring – the conservation of this little bird makes such big things – bogs are being restored, people cooperate and countries are associating.”
Olga – scientific researcher of the international cooperation sector and scientific support of environmental conventions of the NGO “Scientific – Practical Center of Natural Recourses of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences”. Since 2004 she has been working in the sphere of preservation of unique natural territories of Belarus. Ecologist, communication specialist of LIFE projects in Belarus.
“Aquatic warbler is a small bird that unites countries and people of different generations. For me, as a mother and also a teacher, it is very important that one of the components of this project is the involvement of children in it. They are our future, so unique corners of the Earth and preservation of species is in their hands. I would like to believe that hearing and learning about the importance of preserving the swamps, the children will be inspired by this touch to the nature, and when they grow up, all decision and actions that depend on them in the field of nature conservation, they will treat it with great responsibility, love and care.”
Natalija – leading specialist of the international cooperation sector and scientific support of environmental conventions of the NGO “Scientific – Practical Center of Natural Recourses of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences”. More than 15 years is working in the field of finances (accounting) and economics, including about 7 years of experience as a financial manager of international projects.
“It is really important that the joint efforts of specialists from Lithuania and Belarus in order to solve such global tasks as preserving such unique species as Aquatic warbler. Human is a part of nature and therefore work in LIFE project is very important and interesting to me.”
Republican Center of Ecology and Landscape management, Minsk. Zoologist of the mini-zoo. Ornithologist.
“I’m glad that the project, which is aimed to preserving the endangered species – the Aquatic warbler – has united a large number of people from different countries, for whom the rescue of this little bird is interesting, important and significant, and everyone contributes to this great cause, and that I am part of this. Joint work, with mutual understanding and support for all project participants, is of great importance for the recovery of this easily vulnerable species.”