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On a cold November morning the invited folks from the press and media gathered at the parking area of the Budapest’s WWF Office take part on a tour to discover Hercegerdő.   On our way our hosts were from the WWF: Ms. Alexa Antal, Media and Brand maganer and  representing the  protection of forests Mr. László Gálhidy. The distance from Budapest was 140 kms.  Even though  the temperature was  close to the freezing point,the warmth of the shining sun through the glass windows made the route pretty pleasant and the WWF’s hosts were excellently prepared to pass us on our way the press meterials. So we were heading to the uplands of Lake Balaton beside Zánka. The purpose of our invitation was to be present at the “official opening” of a private forest area. First we arrived to Zánka, where Mr. Gábor Figeczky, WWF Director in charge and residents welcomed us. After a short greeting  words we altogether headed to the local elementary school to pick up a class of age 11 yrs. old students and their teachers to join us up to the Prince Forest “Hercegerdő” Arriving by bus to the edge of the road that led up to the forest we continued our tour by foot. During our steps we had to watch out on the sloppy route covered with  fallen leaves. The local  forester  owners introduced us the previously unknow, unique shapes of  mushrooms.  On our way we discovered interesting green color, shape balls, “the forbidden fruit” on heavy weight  holding trees! Heading up the highland the silence of the sleeping nature and the view of the proudly standing tall trees really caught our  attention. Only one bird wished to great us on this cold day by singing for a while. As we reach the “border-line” of the forest, a teacher stood beside a tree and showed the class how to carry out the staking, marking a visible sign on the tree. Following the first run the students  also joined in marking the trees. Of course while being up their they weren’t able to mark all of them. The class will continue the staking in the future to come.

After  spending long hours in the woods it was good to head to warm up ourselves. The bus picked us up and drove to a restaurant named “Theodora“  close to Hercegerdő. The hospitality and the fine “gulyás soup” was like being in heaven. Fantastic taste. The kids and teachers, forest owners also joined us for a late afternoon lunch. The place is a family owned restaurant.The owner also has a small vineyard field. He invited us for wine tasting.  Mr. Zoltán Varga, the story-teller, owner of the Lidia Wine House “Lidia Borház”. told us that his vineyard belonged to his grandparents and as in producing wine. He named his wine house as a memorial to his grandmother Lidia. The label on the bottle shows an old photo of his grandparents, dress in to style in the beginning of the 20th century. Each new types of wine he  bottles are named  after one of the family’s members.  The qualified dry red-wine named  Tihanyi Kékfrankos is from the vineyard area of Balatonfüred – Chopak. This area is not really a red wine-country area, yet it tasted purely fresh and remarkable. Mr. Zoltán Varga told us he and his son will be at Budapest forthcoming New Wine and hand-made cheese Festival at the end of November, at the Budapest’s City Park “Városliget”.   So, if your around during this time be sure to look for his stand and taste a snip of the wines for yourself. While tasting, everyone will feel the breeze of the Lake Balaton, the grapes sweetness  from the warmth of  the sun.

A few thoughts to assume the private owned Hercegerdő  “ Prince forrest”

The local owner of the Hercegerdő “Prince Forrest”  contacted the WWF to ask for professional support in their  conservation of the forest. The WWF was pleased to be involved and  back up them in assisting their efforts. As the WWF director said, this was a unique private initiative and in favor to tend to the success of this enterprise.

Hercegerdő, is a forest area in the uplands of Lake Balaton beside Zánka. Lays beyond the pale of settlements. Here in Hungary this is the one-and-only forest area that belongs to a fellowship of a dozen private former foresters.They wished to give back the forest to the “natureland”. They joined together to protect and to show for the coming generations the species in the state of nature and  hopefully carry on the mission by the forthcoming  generation to protect, keep unharmed the environment of this forest. The territory is free of any sylviculture.  The total size of the forest area is 160 hectare and the reservation stands of 8 hectare, it is 0.02% of the whole territory of Hungary. It is the size of 16 football fields. Not a large area, but keeping in mind as being the one and only private forest environment it is a remarkable measure. On this huge range of forest spices of durmast-oak groves, moss-capped oak, field maple tress, blooming ask tress, service-tress can be seen. Only in an environment of unperturbed nature can be a preserved forest like this.Also important to give a chance to the living nature, the local plants, animals and mushrooms a peaceful environment to be able to survive.The song-birds, the bats, the rare evergreens, forest, native species can be all seen at this area.

The life of unique mushrooms can only be assured if the dead trees remain in this nature field. The  foresters discovered two new species of mushrooms that where previously unknown in Hungary. They grow on the body of these dead trees and other elements. In the field of animals: the hind, the deers the boars, the pheasants, the foxes, the partridges, the quails also need the protection in the forest reservation.

It was a fine and  fruitful discover day organized by the WWF  and the local foresters to  get acquainted of an unknown environment taken under shelter.

Yes, I think this enterprise is like the first sparrow to arrive, hopefully there will be more flying in (spring into existence) to have more „natureland” around us here in Hungary.

Uploaded  and snaps by Aggie Reiter

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Chris Hanlon on 19/11/2011 at 08:44

    What a wonderful example these former farmers are setting ….It is such a great initiative to preserve the natural state of things….It is sad that so many others don’t have the wisdom to realise the importance of preservation…

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