Local Tourist Organization of Stepnica (SOT)

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Story of bottom-up initiative 

Iwona Krępic and Reginald Ścieżka – SOT’s founders – have moved to the small village Kopice in the Oder Delta from the city (Szczecin) in 2007. They were looking for a peace and quiet place. They didn’t realize that they have found their heaven on the earth. Now they belive that it was their small miracle.

“We love this amazing place because we can meet the wildlife everywhere around our house. We feel like guests in the nature world.” said Iwona and Reginald

They have explored the area around by going for a walk with their small children and thay have met beavers, red deers, elks, red kites, black kites, woodpeckers, redshanks, lapwings flying over the pastures, yellowhammers, flocks of geese rest and feed in the grass, in the summer it is easier to hear than to see corn crakes. From early springs cranes take dignified walks in the meadows. Thay also have observed other iconic European wildlife species like ruff, dunlin, bearded tit, little ringed plover. The most awesome for them is that they can spot white-tailed eagle in it’s majestic flight even sitting in their garden.

In the course of time they have met interesting people from the local community, and this is sad, but true, that they don’t realize that this is the unique place in Europe. After a while they have learnt more about the Oder Delta and they have realized that they should find the way to help in protecting the nature and developing in this area.

Iwona and Reginald in SOT's headquater in Kopice, Oder Delta, Poland
Iwona and Reginald in the rural SOT’s headquater in Kopice, Oder Delta, Poland

“Coming close to nature gives us – the local people – opportunities for a new economy. Wildlife around our houses provides a potential for a better life. However, only when we understand this, we will protect it. We should be proud of our amazing environment: white-tailed eagles fly above our heads, roe deer and red deer are coming into our gardens, wolves, beavers, wild boar and many more iconic species are living in our vicinity. Visit this undiscovered place, experience unbelievable wildlife in the centre of Europe and fall in love with the Oder Delta, just as we did. I believe that together we will find a good direction for both people and nature in this area.” said Iwona.

Set-up SOT

On March 2011 together with more local people Iwona and Reginald founded an association the Tourist Organization of Stepnica (SOT). SOT gather people who want to live and work cultivating the beliefs & ideas of the sustainable development.

It is the new way of our life and chance for developing of the region.” says Reginald.

Activities of SOT:

  • Creation of transbordering, regional, local tourist products based on the safari tourism, birdwatching, wildlife photography, ecotourism, traditional food, local handicraft etc.
  • Education programmes targeted at children, youth and local community covering: NATURA2000, environmental protection, rare species, animals, tourist products & ecotourism
  • Branding, marketing of the Oder Delta region
  • protection of national and cultural heritage in the Oder Delta
  • establishing a network of cross-border cooperating Polish and German partners
  • obtaining supporters from all over Europe

SOT is a non-governmental and non-profit organization.

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