GATE TO THE FOREST
The Academy of Nature is – as you have already read in the section about the new city center – a concept, not one specific place in the city. Its goal is to make everyone who comes to Hajnówka have no doubts: I am in a city that is “the gate to the Białowieża Forest”.
Our goal is for the inhabitants to begin to appreciate the health benefits and natural values of the vicinity of the Forest. The Academy of Nature is to be a showcase of Hajnówka, something that the city will be famous for in this part of Poland.
Something that will make Hajnówka stand out and make the city attractive to tourists. After all, it is something to brag about. The Białowieża Forest is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is therefore the heritage not only of Poland, but also of Europe and the world. It is a natural forest with well-preserved habitats, natural processes and biodiversity. It is also a forest that has been well researched by scientists. On the other hand, there is a great need to popularize this knowledge. The public should be able to learn how the natural forest functions, what it needs and how it should be protected.
photo: Andrzej Szypulski / Metamorphosis Association
We plan to locate the seat of the Academy of Nature within the New Center of Hajnówka. However, we do not want to lock ourselves only in the building. Various types of workshops will be held both inside, in the park and in the forest, which will allow you to come into contact with primeval nature. Then it’s time for a forest detox. How about a small health infrastructure in the city? Would you like to walk the sensory path? Massage only with what nature gives – stones, cones, bark, etc. After the walk, you could sit at a table or lie on a deckchair. In such a place there could also be nesting boxes for birds, houses for bats, and the eyes would be pleased with a flowerbed with plants selected in such a way that it would look attractive at any time of the year. It would be a great place for seniors, but also giving a respite to young people, tired after working all day.
LIVE MUSHROOM LABORATORY
We are not all aware of the huge role fungi play in the environment and how many uses they have. In the Living Mushroom Laboratory, thanks to the permanent exhibition, we will find out which mushrooms can be found in the Białowieża Forest. We will learn about the various stages of their growth and find out what health benefits they bring. Volunteers will be able to grow their own mycelium and observe it and fruiting bodies under a microscope, and even take it home in a pot. The detailed concept of the experiment is still under development, but the idea is very specific.
It will not be the usual cultivation of mushrooms under controlled conditions. A stay here is supposed to leave visitors with a sense of tangible experience of the richness of the Białowieża Forest, participation in the natural processes that are constantly happening right next to us. A visit to the Living Mushroom Laboratory will raise our awareness, which will accompany us during every walk in the Białowieża Forest.
prof. Eng. Sławomir Bakier / Białystok University of Technology