Ukrainian Trail Group Visits ISC
After learning about the Long Trail in Vermont, they joined us to talk about successful advocacy and coalition building.
ISC was delighted to host a group of conservationists and sustainability practitioners from Ukraine, who were in Vermont to learn about how they might take lessons learned on the state's famed Long Trail and apply them to the proposed Transcarpathian Hiking Trail in Ukraine.
The group included Lesya Loyko and Nataliya Voloshyna of the Agency for Sustainable Development of the Carpathian Region (FORZA); Valentyn Voloshyn, Deputy Director of Ushanskyy National Park; and Vasyl Huturyak, Director of Carpathian Paths.
They first came to Vermont to meet with staff at the Green Mountain Club on issues specific to trail conservation and how to better operate and structure hiking opportunities in the Carpathian Mountains.
They then visited ISC to learn about how they can more effectively advocate for the importance of the trail, and its myriad community benefits. We shared our work in increasing public participation and engaging citizens in addressing community and regional needs, how to build the capacity of organizations to more effectively serve the needs of communities and constituents, and some ideas for developing coalitions and partnerships that can effectively advocate for change.
We were also joined by Todd Comen, founder of the Institute for Integrated Rural Tourism and professor in Johnson State College's Hospitality and Tourism Management Program, who talked about his work on integrated rural tourismhow communities can plan for, develop, market, and provide tourism opportunities in rural communitiesin the U.S., Romania, Poland, and Belarus.
Rick Paradis, director of UVM's Natural Areas Center, talked about conservation partnerships and trail stewardship in Vermont, and Marta Ceroni from UVM's Gund Institute for Environmental Economics shared her biodiversity work and scientific research.
All of these pieces will help stakeholders in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine (Zakarpattya) develop sustainable solutions for their communities, and create working partnerships among government agencies, business, nonprofits, and citizens.
We hope that the beautiful Trancarpathian Hiking Trail will prove to be the hub of a robust ecotourism network, and that the spirit of the Long Trail and Vermont will return back to Ukraine with our wonderful visitors.