Green Circle – Friends of the Earth’s member
Our NGO got registered in the autumn of 1991, under the name of Youth Conservation Circle of Hajdúböszörmény. At that time we mainly concentrated our efforts towards environmental education campaigns, and conservational activities around our town Hajdúböszörmény.
During these early years step by step, we got involved in projects focused on environmental protection, consumer protection, area development and ecotourism. Community and public participation strengthening programs were also on our agenda.
Our mission is best described as follows: laying down the foundations of a living, livable, and sustainable future. In this mission, our tools are active environmental and conservational work, our methods are awareness raising and partnership building.
Sections of our programs aim to reform environmental policy. We maintain municipal environmental counseling service on a regional level, while our educational projects cover county and sub-regional levels. These projects are carried out and organized in Eastern Hungary, more specifically in the Sárospatak and Hajdúböszörmény micro-regions.
Today, our NGO operates two well equipped offices: our headquarters is in Hajdúböszörmény’s main square, while our project office is located in Bodrogolaszi. We also own a campsite on the bank of the Bodrog river, this is the site where our river tours depart from. In Hajdúböszörmény, our environmental and conservational education room called ”ürgelyuk” has been created in order to help the teachers of that area.
Inside the Hungarian green movement, we were able to earn respect: “Ökotárs” Foundation awarded us with the „NGO of the year” in 1995. We organized the Annual Meeting of Green NGO’s of Hungary, first in 1999 in Hajdúböszörmény, then in 2004 in Debrecen.
Beyond the Hungarian borders, our most important working relationship is with „Friends of the Earth”, (FOE). We adopted FOE’s branding elements (logos, etc.) in 2006.
We regularly participate in FOE’s international campaigns especially those focusing on climate protection and biodiversity. These campaigns are coordinated domestically by the Association of Hungarian Conservationists (MTVSZ).
Our international connections are strongest on the eastern borders of Hungary. We have completed numerous cross-border projects, and some are under way with Romanian, Ukranian and Slovakian civil organizations. Addition to this, our exchange programs target Hungarian environmental NGO’s in Transylvania.
Environmental counseling service is our long running project, which is free for the public. We put special emphasis –beyond counseling- on the right attitude in waste management issues among the population. Another important work is to help local municipalities in their environmental management tasks.
We compiled more than two dozen municipalities’ environmental plan in frame of expert contracts during the last 10 years.
GMO, climate change and biodiversity campaigns in which we participated, offered alternative solutions to the public, combined with signature collecting and similar public participation strengthening methods helped to put pressure on decision-makers in their environmental related work.
Joint conservational activities aim the preserve the biodiversity in valuable areas of the Hajdúság, Northern-Hortobágy, Bodrog river area and in the Hungarian-Romanian border areas. In the Hajdúböszörmény region, we are assigned by the local municipality to take care of 7 locally protected sites, while elsewhere our main goal is to designate new areas for protection.
Addition to this, biotop and species protection projects are under way, we regularly monitor several Natura 2000 areas, as we also participate in bird monitoring campaigns regularly.
Awareness raising campaigns with seasonal „green-days”, „green-competitions”, summer camps, and also with temporary programs such as clubs, etc. are important elements of our work.
Finally, few examples from additional projects are: photo competition, moving exhibitions, birdwatching tours in the Hortobágy, and other nature treks, organizing regional civil conciliation forums for the active public participation in area development.