International conference on "CULTURE AND NATURE. Local communities for heritage: good practices in Central Europe" was held on March 29, 2023 at the Cieszyn Castle, Poland. The idea of Nature and Culture was taken from the work entitled "Kultura a Natura" from 1913 by Jan Gwalbert Pawlikowski (1860-1939), an outstanding publicist, economist and politician, one of the precursors of nature conservation in Poland. When choosing the place of the conference, we decided that Cieszyn and the cross-border Cieszyn-Těšín Silesia combine the idea of Culture and Nature in a great way, and that the region inspires actions for the protection of heritage and the development of ecotourism.
The event was attended by over 50 representatives of civil society organizations, local governments and entrepreneurs from the Cieszyn-Těšín Silesia region, the Upper Oder region and all of Poland (representatives of the Partnership Academy) and Central Europe - the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Ukraine. The whole event took the form of lectures, interviews and debates with interesting, inspiring people - creators of unique ideas and projects who presented good practices for cultural and natural heritage in their small homelands.
We discussed heritage as a unique value for local communities. We presented inspiring examples from the cross-border region of Cieszyn Silesia, Poland and Central Europe. We talked about ways to interpret and preserve the heritage of the place and the development of ecotourism. We also paid attention to the participation of women - leaders in using heritage for local development, improving the quality of life and sensitizing to the beauty inherent in culture, nature and landscape. The effect of the conference was the signing of the Central European Declaration "Culture and Nature - on the role of sustainable tourism in the protection and preservation of heritage" and the Declaration on cooperation of the Cieszyn Wine Route as part of the Greenways network.
The conference was accompanied by an eco-study tour of the region of Cieszyn Silesia and the communes of Godów and Jastrzębie-Zdrój. The program of the study visit included meetings with leaders of initiatives for local heritage, such as: Iron Bicycle Trail, Szymanówka canoe harbor in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Naturalist's House in Hażlach and the Cieszyn Wine Route with its center in the Palace in Kończyce Wielkie.
Organizers: Partnership Fund and OLZA Association for Development and Regional Cooperation
Partners: Greenways Poland Association, Iron Bike Trail and Cieszyn Wine Route