Restorer of dry stone – guardian of the past
Join us and become guardians of the past by restoring old dry stone.
By building dry stone, we build the future and preserve the past.
The goal of the volunteer program and compliance with the goals of the protection of the Park:
The goal of the volunteer program is to restore the existing dry stone structures in the Park, which represent the traditional heritage of the island of Mljet, and to contribute to the preservation of dry stone restoration skills. The art of dry stone construction has been protected as an intangible cultural asset of the Republic of Croatia since 2016. The program is harmonized with the Management Plan of NP Mljet 2017-2026 and designed to contribute to the protection of natural and cultural heritage:
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE: AB To preserve the traditional landscape and habitats and populations of species related to agricultural areas by increasing their area by 20% compared to the situation in 2011.
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE: CA To improve the existing and build a new visitor infrastructure compared to the situation in 2013.
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE: CB To improve the organization of visits, to enrich the visitor offer in the season, and to expand the programs of visits in the off-season.
Description of jobs that volunteers will work on:
Volunteers will work on the restoration of dry stone structures, including the restoration of stone walls and other stone surfaces such as boundaries, sub-walls, stairways and the like (Figures 1 and 2).
The job includes the following activities:
– clearing and cleaning of vegetation that has overgrown dry stone;
– cleaning of the surrounding terrain;
– collecting, carrying, and sorting stones;
– simple processing of stones with hand tools;
– stacking stones;
– recording the coordinates of existing stone wall structures;
– photographing stone walls before and after renovation.
The work will be organized in the area of the basic phenomenon of salt lakes and in the wider area of the Park, which includes recreational and hiking trails, promenades, and lookouts. In accordance with the agreement with the owners of private land, the renovation will be carried out in the area of arable land and old olive groves.
Competences and experiences that volunteers will gain during volunteering:
– knowledge and skills of traditional construction of stone wall structures;
– skills of using hand tools for stone processing;
– teamwork skills;
– strengthening self-confidence;
– cooperation and responsibility;
– stay and work outdoors;
– getting to know and sensitizing to the natural and cultural heritage of NP Mljet.
Volunteer program success indicator:
– number of volunteers: minimum 6, maximum up to 12 volunteers at a time;
– number of volunteer hours: 6 hours a day, 6 days, 20 volunteers = 720 hours;
– volume of work: renewed 2 m of dry stone per day per volunteer;
– satisfaction with the overall organization of volunteering, motivation, and work of volunteers and the work of volunteer coordinators;
– positive attitude of the local community towards the volunteer program and the volunteers themselves.
– satisfaction of volunteers with accommodation, food, and tools;
– satisfaction of volunteers with the overall organization of work, communication with the public institution and other volunteers, and acceptance by the local community;
– satisfaction of volunteers with the work done.
Volunteering period and working hours:
Volunteering is possible in April, May, June and October, and November. Volunteering lasts 7 days, of which one day is planned for rest and an organized tour of the island. Volunteers will work 6 hours a day, including one hour of rest. As this is physical work, which in adverse weather conditions (strong sun, wind, etc.) can be very strenuous, it is recommended to reduce the number of working hours per day if necessary.
Required tools for the implementation of the volunteer program:
During the fieldwork, it is necessary to provide volunteers with enough tools for all participants, drink, and sun protection (parasols in case of higher heat). It is recommended to avoid disposable plastic drinking bottles and cutlery.
From the material it is necessary:
– work gloves (for all participants);
– garden shears (classic garden shears for cutting vines, flowers, thin trees);
– trash bags;
– bins for carrying smaller stones;
– hammers, two types;
Example of the above tool:
What languages does the volunteer need to know?
Croatian and/or English. English is required for foreign volunteers to be able to communicate with Park staff.
Possibility of volunteering for people with disabilities:
The job is partly suitable for volunteering for people with disabilities as it involves physically demanding work in open and inaccessible terrain.
Accommodation is provided and free. Volunteers will be housed in the Collier building owned by the Park. There are 7 rooms with bunk beds, toilets, showers, kitchen, living room. The building is 2 km away from the village of Pomena, which is the only hotel on the island, with several restaurants, and two shops that are open during the summer.
Meals are free and provided – Park staff will provide volunteers with self-prepared groceries or, alternatively, provide them with a free meal at a local hotel.
The cost of travel to Mljet is borne by volunteers. The public institution will organize the transport of volunteers from the ferry/catamaran port to Mljet to the place of accommodation.
There is also the option of using a bicycle for volunteers to and from the place of volunteering and to the place of eating. Bicycles will be rented by JU NP Mljet at more favorable prices.
What can volunteers do when they are not volunteering?
– hiking, hiking, or cycling on over 40 km of marked and marked trails;
– rent kayaks and canoes for lakes (Big and Small Lakes);
– rent a bicycle (several hours, half a day, or several days);
– dive independently or under the professional supervision of an instructor at a diving school in Pomena;
– rent a scooter or car in Polače and Pomena and visit the rest of the island with them and see many sights;
– relax and socialize with fellow volunteers, Park staff, and visitors to the Park and the island in cafes and beach bars, and restaurants where you can taste local specialties.
Why volunteer in our Park?
– through volunteering you can gain new experiences and strengthen your communication skills;
– you will get to know the visitors, the local population, and the Public Institution in general, as well as its employees, and expand your social network by meeting new people;
– you will get to know the beauties and peculiarities of the Park and the island as a whole;
– you will participate in outdoor work in a unique environment;
– you will cooperate with the employees of the Park (nature conservationists, informants, tourist guides) and learn about the management of the protected area;
– you will be able to enjoy nature, sun, and sea, relax on the beach or engage in sports activities such as swimming, diving, cycling, rowing, running, hiking,…
Contact Damjan Aljinović, Head of the Department for Volunteers, Sports, and Recreational Activities in the Mljet National Park. All you have to do is fill out the form. Damjan will get back to you with more information or apply for volunteering if you are interested (and if there are vacancies)!