History of ELF's talgud
Estonian Fund for Nature (ELF) organized the first volunteering camp in 1998 and the camps have been continuous since 2001. We have held 819 events on different sites, with more than 13 650 participants who contributed over 119 100 hours of work.
Over the years we have had partnerships with Environmental Investments Centre, Estonian State Nature Conservation Centre, British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), Global Nature Fund, Southampton University Conservation Volunteers, Association of Nature Conservation Eagle, Estonian Semi-Natural Community Conservation Association (ESCCA), Estonian Nature Tours, as well as many landowners and individuals.
ELF’s volunteers have had a big impact on conservation in many sites and green spaces including:
- Annual habitat restoration projects in Kumari islet in Matsalu NP have improved and protected one of last remaining natural population of Natterjack toad, helping increase their numbers
- Annual visits by ELF’s and ESCCA's volunteers to Hobulaid islet in the Western-Estonia have restored over two hectares (ha) of valuable wooded meadow
- In 2005, over 80 ELF’s volunteers helped locals to overcome storm devastation in Rannametsa-Soometsa Nature Reserve in the South-West.
...and so on
An example of results: the natterjack toads at Saastna. The number of male toads in the area is fluctuating, because species experts used to reintroduce pregrown young toads from Penijõe breeding center into Saastna each year. Note that before the volunteering camps started, the breeding was not very successful nor was the population reproductive. However, since the removal of brushwood started in 2015 the condition of the breeding pond has gotten better and better each year. As of 2019, the breeding has been successful and there has been no need to reintroduce pregrown toads into the area. The pictures of the pond are from 2005 and 2020.