Closer to Nature: New educational trail across volcanic chimneys of Baba and Dědek
The densely wooded hilltop named Baba near Mladá Boleslav, which has been a nature reserve since as far back as 1950, may as of today pride itself on having a new educational trail with an interesting concept that is bound to captivate adults and children alike. It was built by the local Klenice chapter of the Czech Union for Nature Conservation (ČSOP) within the context of the NET4GAS Closer to Nature Programme and with the support of the town of Kosmonosy.
You may think that the natural world around the industrial hubs of Mladá Boleslav can’t be very diverse or interesting – but you would be sorely mistaken. Upon taking a closer look, the attentive visitor will appreciate how valuable it is from the point of view of a natural scientist. Five years ago, an interesting educational trail (exploring Chlum, a natural monument near Nepřevázka) was built here with the help of the NET4GAS Closer to Nature programme. Today, we follow up with yet another one. Above Horní Starkory lies a very interesting site – the world of an extinct volcano. The area enjoys protection as a nature reserve under the name Vrch Baba (Baba Hilltop). The local conservationists from ČSOP Klenice decided to lead visitors through the extensive and varied biotopes that are found here, and to teach them more about the site. Thanks to their efforts, a 2.5-km educational trail has come into existence.
Long ago, during the tertiary, Baba was a high-rising volcano. Erosion has seen to it that only two basalt monadnocks are left standing: Baba and Dědek (Grandma and Grandpa), with an elevation of around 350 metres above sea level. Humans then came to mine for high-quality building stone, thanks to which we are today treated to intriguing rock gates, caves, and narrow passageways. In spring, the forested reservation is burgeoning with flowering herbaceous plants, such as the buttercup anemone or spring vetch. The narrow ravines are evergreen with ferns: maidenhair spleenwort and common polypody. The herbaceous floor is rich in orchids, too, such as the lady orchid, and in humid years, violet helleborine. "Baba is home to many rare invertebrate species, the air is filled with protected butterfly species, and the pond grants refuge to a number of amphibians. To learn and see more, come and walk the trail," says its creator, Milada Vrbová of ČSOP Klenice.
As part of the project, 7 info panels were built, 6 of which are covered with information on both sides – one for the adult visitor and one for children. The children's section has its own guide, a little troll called Nefelínek, who has prepared various tasks for the young naturalists to fulfil. On the hilltop, two frottage reliefs are installed for children, who with some paper and crayons may take a rubbing of them. Along the way, visitors walk past a restored natural fountain, and just below the hilltop, benches have been installed for the foot-weary wanderer.
The Vrch Baba nature reserve lies to the northeast of Kosmonosy. The approx. 2.5 km circular trail begins and ends in Horní Stakory. GPS: 50°26'55.971"N, 14°57'52.043"E. This is the 99th site built with the help of NET4GAS Closer to Nature, the programme through which NET4GAS has for the past thirteen years been supporting conservationist projects across the entire country. At press time, sixteen such ČSOP sites have been made accessible to the public in the Central Bohemian region.
To find out more about the NET4GAS Closer to Nature program and on the sites opened to public, please, visit www.closertonature.cz.