Friends of Gökova Akyaka

Report of Activities  2000

11. General Assembly 2002

Report of Activities  200
1 and 2002

Dear members,

Welcome to our 11th ordinary general meeting. Originally our activity report should have begun like this:

"At the end of two years and a very intensive period of work I can announce only a summary of our work to you. Please learn the remaining information from our project brochures, or from our newsboard"

However, due to the fire in our office in Akyaka, Nail Cakirhan Sokak No: 9 on Tuesday, September 3rd, we are not able to distribute our brochures, because almost all our print material and other  documents are destroyed or became useless through fire distinguishing . This loss is very painful for us. Apart from the damage done to the building, our complete electric and electronic devices have burned or became unusable. Almost the total interior turned to ashes, press documents, books, working materials, hand-written notes and much more were destroyed. Contrary to widespread rumours, no legal files have been destroyed because as always, we had put all our important documents, bills etc. in the safe for safe keeping. Nothing burned and in spite of the wetness all papers are quite read- and useable. The Gendarmes and the Security Police have been informed about this and the facts have been noted in the police-report corresponding to the fire.

Our society has been controlled as usual in June by our internal control organ.

One could say that we were reviewed this year anyway more than sufficiently.

Normally there is a chronological sequence in our activity report, but because we would like to show our activities in a flow, we thought it better this time to arrange the subjects differently.

I would like to begin with the member's situation: in the last year, we lost 75 members for different reasons; mostly because they did not pay their yearly fees for more than two years. For this reason the membership ends legally. Since we gained 26 new members, we actually lost only 49 in numbers.


What we had planned for this year and could only partly succeed in:

We had prepared all materials to give environmental lessons at the Güneyman elementary school in December 2000. The official documents had been sent for permission to the authorities. Although permission had been given verbally, in the end we were not allowed to proceed for unknown reasons. We have been very unhappy about that and for the local school kids it was disappointing, too. 

We wanted to print new brochures, but then we decided to shift the preparations to the future.

 The “Animal Aid South/Germany”, a German animal protection society which works in the Mediterranean region, contacted us about supervising the animal resort in Mugla. A future animal resort in Akyaka had been mentioned as well. Unfortunately, after we started negotiations with the Municipality of Mugla, the society did not stick to its word, so that we had to cancel the project. Afterwards we learned that the Fethiye Animal Protection Society had similar problems with this German society, as a result we stopped further contacts with “Animal Aid South/Germany”.

We undertook the first steps regarding an own society coffee shop. But due to a lack of essential funding our plans could not be realised.

In March 2001 we began with the preparations for our association's 10th-Year-Anniversary. We wanted to celebrate with a festival. Unfortunately we had to face many organisational problems so that neither a celebration nor a festival took place. Due to these problems Serdar Denktas resigned from his board membership and Ahmet Menekse took his place.


Regular activities:

In addition to our usual internal organisation tasks, we started monitoring the wetlands of the province and have been very busy with our new birding group. Plans to sell our river water to Bodrum kept us busy far into the summer 2001. We formally requested expertises about the effect a lower water level could have on our wetland. Our further actions will be determined by the results of the expertise.

In the summers 2001 and 2002 we have been active cleaning the "long beach". From May until September the garbage there has been weekly collected by a worker paid by us. We were able to cover the costs completely with donations collected for this purpose. Herewith I would like to thank all our donors.

We organised the exhibitions in the Nail Cakirhan - Halet Cambel Culture and Art House from May to October during the last two summers. They brought a lot of publicity for the society and already became a cultural tradition. Some of the openings ended in streets parties and we had lots of fun.

We contributed 50 sacks of cement towards the construction of the new basketball field of the Güneyman elementary school in Akyaka. We also donated stationary material to the Gendarme's office in Akyaka.

In January, an education seminar about "Development of Environmental Projects" has been organised by the FETAV Environmental Foundation. Our chairperson participated as educator with a presentation together with representatives of the DHKD and UNDP.

The environmental group of the Yunus Emre secondary school approached us in April to hold  a conference about environmental education. Our chairperson has been happy to do this.

We now want to introduce our new birding and wetland monitoring group Gök-Kus-Agi" (Rainbow):

During the "White-headed Duck Festival" October 2000 in Burdur we had first contacts with other organised birding groups and renewed our acquaintance with the DHKD. From this moment on our newly established group developed into a very successful working team.

 The DHKD sent us in the winter a contact list of persons living in the province of Mugla who are interested in bird observation. We met the first time on 3rd March 2001 in Akyaka to define our aims, solve logistical problems etc. and establish contact to other bird groups. The name Gök-Kus-Agi was agreed upon (in Turkish an abbreviation for ”Gökova-Bird-Network”, Gökkusagi means also ”Rainbow”). From this moment on monthly birding tours started monitoring the wetlands in the province of Mugla; bird censuses were done; we gained new members, trained them and on each tour we invited the regional press,  so the correspondents  were able to report about the problems in the wetlands. These tours were personally financed by the participants. Our name became known very quickly, by now birders in the whole of
Turkey know who "Rainbow"(Gök-Kus-Agi) is. Due to our good work, the DHKD asked us to participate in the "International Balkan Wetland Monitoring and Bird Protection Project". We worked from September 2001 to May 2002 as a group every 2nd week in the Güllük Delta and on Lake Tuzla in Bodrum/Milas. Conversations with local people and the Gendarme prevented poaching to a degree. Concerning birds and nature we work closely together with the Directorate for Hunting, Forestry and National Parks" of the province of Mugla. Participation in another project of the DHKD/WWF is discussed for the coming winter. This would be a big challenge and success for our pretty young group. For the necessary expensive equipment (binoculars, telescope etc.) we presented a project to the DHKD/WWF. The project has been accepted and we could spend 5.5 billions of TL.(3000 €) for equipment.

 To talk about our UNDP Project: We began in March - May 2002 with some bigger work. We participated on a 5 day seminar in Izmir organised by UNDP GEF/SGP in order to obtain better knowledge about project development. We made first contacts with the representatives of the German Company for Technical Collaboration (GTZ) in Mugla to develop a project concerning recycling local waste.

 After our project had been proposed in May 2001 and approved, we launched the "Biyo - Gökova" UNDP GEF/SGP project in summer. Developing the project kept us so busy, that it looked to the village like we no longer worked in Akyaka.
In August we held a big conference in the Yücelen Hotel with all project stakeholders and other interested local people. Project participation and eventual costs as well as the project frame were discussed at a round table. With the representatives of the municipalities of Akyaka and Gökova, the local administrations of Akçapinar and Gökçe and the chairperson of the society, a Local Work Group was established meeting monthly. At these meetings, questions and problems in the Gökova basin and their solutions are discussed openly.

From then on we communicated really well together.

In October the UNDP‘s National Committee agreed on "Biyo-Gökova". Groups were established; we developed PR material and bought equipment - the entire work based on the decisions of the Local Work Group.

In March the Project Research Group held a four-day workshop to develop the basic research objectives of the project and to plan further action.

We also engaged a project assistant paid by the project, Mustafa Ates. This eases our work load and he  is a great help presenting the project to the community.

Beginning of June, when our project finally came into a presentable condition, we held a press conference together with the Governor of Mugla, our project partner for everyone actively supporting us. Representatives of state institutions, regional and national press were invited.

Ten days later we began in Akyaka with the first of four one-day village meetings in the involved municipalities and villages to introduce the project and it’s objectives to the local community. Another aim of these meetings was to learn directly about the problems of the farmers working in the plain.

By request of the local population we brought together representatives of the government, the environmental authorities and the Çirali Ulupinar Ecological Agriculture Co-operative. This was an important and successful initiative.

I would like to give some examples of the collaboration that emerged on these meetings:

The offer for collaboration from the local health authorities concerning  the mosquito problem has been accepted gladly, and for working on this subject we formed a team. During the village meetings we introduced “our“alternative to the problem: Not an entirely severe measure though - fly swats were distributed as a symbol for initiative and a call for self responsibility in the mosquito fight.

In order to extend a hunting permission or to reapply for it, it is now necessary to stand a serious hunting exam. Currently courses are offered only in Mugla. To make participation easier for the hunters in Gökova, signatures were gathered during the sessions so that the courses could take place in Gökova in the future. A proposition, supported through the society, was sent to the forest direction. Later an initiative to build a skeet-shooting area has been discussed. We think that we can protect biological diversity better, if hunters have an alternative choice for their sport.

Here, I would like to say a couple of words about the changed working principles. The project and the increasing tasks naturally are connected with more work. This can be carried only by division of responsibility. On this occasion I sincerely like to thank the volunteer groups and committees that work with us.

Also we need new helpers for our work and I hope for further support in the coming year. As an example: if we had more volunteers, we would have been able to begin with the mosquito committee work. But because we have not enough capacity, we could not start yet.

For better presentation and more communication, a project centre is required. Actually we wanted to start already this summer but had to shift the start to autumn. Seminars, conferences will take place in this centre, meetings will be held and we would like to open a cafeteria as well. We hope to be able to invite you soon to our new centre.

The "Biyo-Gökova" project was interrupted for two months due to the office fire. For example the question how to replace the destroyed equipment that had been bought with project funds is still open. Also the already printed materials for the project must be reprinted etc.

Another important objective of our society has been to participate in various meetings, seminars etc. for capacity building: in November we went to Antalya/
Çirali where a GEF/SGP project dealing with ecological agriculture is successfully managed by the Ulupinar Cooperative and we exchanged experience on many subjects. We participated in some meetings about wetlands and Important Bird Areas. Further we took part in the yearly conference of GEF project coordinators in Ankara. We sent our representatives to the meetings of the Mediterranean Environmental Network (BAÇEP/AKÇEP).

In order to acquire the permission for our waste recycling project with the GTZ, we applied to the Ministry of the Interior in October 2001; unfortunately we still wait for an answer. We already work almost a year on this subject and participated on some stakeholder meetings on invitation of the Governor of Mugla.
Besides that we began to sort out the collected data about our local fish otter. The National Fish Otter Data Bank Project has been started by our experts. A teamwork proposal has been sent to the Ministry for Forest to increase the input for the database.

We hope you have been content with our activities in the last period and remain wishing for your further support in future.

Bahar Suseven


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