In 2020 Šilainiai Project is focusing on biodiversity of our neighbourhood and long – term strategies for public space.
Kaunas city is changing rapidly and in this fast pace it is easy to overlook the details, even though they are important to us. Last year, during the project “Šilainiai Bees” (Šilainių bitės), local community members have identified, that bees are important to them, however, there is a problem – the grass is being cut short in all neighbourhood so that the bees have not much to eat. Clearly defined and easy to manage “Food for bees – flowering meadow islands” were identified as one inexpensive and easy to do action, that could help to solve the problem. The pilot “Meadow island” is installed in Fort no. 8. We hope that it could potentially be an example/ inspiration to other “Meadow islands” in the rest of the city.
But what about the other species of animals and birds? We realized the we know very little about what is out there. What biological diversity is in our neighbourhood? What animals, plats, mushrooms grow here? And, when we find out what we have – how should we act, so that they don’t disappear?
Many Šilainiai residents are proud of how green the neighbourhood is. However these green spaces are slowly shrinking or are under threat, often without realizing, by the decisions of the residents themselves.
Fort no. 8 is a military heritage site that is now a park for the local communities. Part of the process of creating a long-term strategy for Fort no. 8, we are going to investigate its biodiversity and produce a Fort no. 8 biodiversity map.
Collection of data will be done collaboratively with local residents by using a free app iNaturalist from April until September 1st 2020. There is also a live event planned for June 6th (could be postponed or online due to quarantine). The map will be released in autumn 2020.
Path in Fort no. 8, photograph by Saulius Irmantas
This year we are going to investigate what animals, birds, plants and mushrooms grow in Kaunas neighbourhood of Šilainiai!
Everyone from fifth grader to nature expert will be able to participate, all you will need is a smartphone or a photo camera and access to a computer.
What to do?
1. Download a free app iNaturalist now! www.inaturalist.org
2. Photograph and record animal and plant species until 1 September.
3. Ones who find the most species in Kaunas fort no. 8 territory until 1 September will receive project partner prizes and the newly published map! This will be announced October 1st on Šilainiai Project Facebook page.
What will happen 6th June?
🦋 We wil meet a naturalist, biological diversity expert Tomas Pocius;
🦋 Together with Tomas we will search, photograph and recognise different species of animals, birds, plants and mushrooms in Kaunas Fort no. 8 area;
🦋 We will record everything on a free mobile app https://www.inaturalist.org/
🦋 From the collected material we will create a unique Fort no. 8 map! The most active participants will receive the first copies of the map in autumn! From November everyone will be able to see it in our local library.
The event will be held in Lithuanian, translation to English could be arranged on request.
– The fort tunnels are Natura 2000 bat reserve and entrance is prohibited until May 1st.
– The event date could change due to the weather conditions and the official corona-virus quarantine recommendations.
There will be photography and filming at the event.
Biological diversity specialist, naturalist – Tomas Pocius
Tomas Pocius studied Biology in Klaipeda University and Biodiversity at Vilnius University. He is currently working at the Lithuanian centre of non-formal youth education, Department of Natural and Ecological Education. Tomas is fascinated by the nature of Lithuania. In his free time he is looking for species that he has not yet discovered. Tomas enjoys hosting educational activities and popularization of science.
Tomas’ expertise is invaluable in collecting and systematizing the data, recognizing the species and leading the ‘species search’ in the neighborhood on 6th of June.
Vutautas Paplauskas has studied visual arts and in his work, he pays special attention to composition, light and colors. Vytautas has been working as events and editorial photographer for more than five years and has been the main photographer for Šilainiai Project events since 2019. Having started photographing Šilainiai bees last year, in 2020 Vytautas is going to continue to capture different species of animals and plants in Šilainiai.
I appreciate the simple humanity in his photos and professional, sensitive and humble work attitude. Evelina Šimkutė
Photographer – Saulius Irmantas
Saulius Irmantas photographing birds at Kaunas fort no. 8
Saulius Irmantas grew up next to the fort no. 8 and he knows the history of Kaunas Fortress very well, he even worked as a guide in fort no. 9 in teenage years! Saulius normally works at the events and photo-shoots and this was his first task to photograph wildlife. The job was not easy. It was important for us that the photographing process was done ethically and the birds were not disturbed in any way, so Saulius spent three days in the fort, taking time and observing the wildlife and taking some breathtaking images.
Birds in Kaunas fort no. 8, spring 2020, photographer Saulius Irmantas
Graphic designer – Kotryna Ražinskaitė
Kotryna is creating the poster, visuals for social media and the actual Kaunas Fort no. 8 biodiversity map. The map will be full of illustrations and will be aimed at the youngest residents of Šilainiai neighbourhood. Map will be released in autumn 2020.
Being curious and genuinely interest in the values of the projects, her graphic design and illustrations brings out the well-thought through messages to the screen or on-print. Evelina Šimkutė
Project coordinator – Evelina Šimkutė
Photograph by Justė Vyšniauskaitė
Leader of Šilainiai Project, Evelina is an artist and creative placemaker, she creates project concepts, initiates them and coordinates the process.
VšĮ Kaunas Fortress Park
Association “Kaunas Fortress” Fort no. 8 volunteers
Project dissemination partners
Kaunas Vincas Kudirka public library, Šilainiai department
Kaunas City museum, Kaunas Castle department
Kaunas Photography Gallery
This project is supported by
Actors of Urban Change is a program by MitOst e.V. supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung. It connects people working on new forms of sustainable urban development in Europe, and promotes a culture of co-creation as a driving force for positive change.