Calla is a long-established organisation that aims to assist local people to conserve the environment, contribute to the preservation of valuable ecosystems and support the development of renewable energy resources.
Restoration of disused sand pits and quarries offers an opportunity to create important habitats to benefit endangered and threatened wildlife including sand martins (the smallest European swallow) and amphibians. Calla has created one of the largest nest sites in Southern Bohemia over the last 10 years through the management of a disused sand pit and has continued its work with the cooperation of local sand pit landowners, mining companies and professional institutions. The project includes:
- Creating new ponds and pools that are easier to keep clean, attracting a greater variety of amphibians
- Creating artificial nesting banks for sand martins, made by boring tunnels into the sand
- Management and cleansing of existing nest sites to remove parasites, re-cutting new sheer faces and removing excess vegetation providing clear flight for returning birds
- Informing the general public about the work through lectures, excursions, media and web presentations
In the autumn of 2009, the five new pools for amphibians at three new sand pits were created. The pools will become home for many kinds of endangered amphibians, such as the eft and fire bellied toad. Each of the locations will be observed and monitored during the spring of 2009. Meetings were held with sand pit landlords, about the necessity of the conservation work on their sites and how to comply with the relevant regulations.
Several nesting sites were also created or restored during the winter, lectures given and a conference held to share experiences with local mining companies, state institutions and environmental institutions. There have been several reports in the press about the work being undertaken, following media communications sent out by Calla.
The success of the new nesting sites and pools will be constantly monitored and evaluated, an information board was erected at one of the sites, and there was a public field trip to some of the sites during May 2010.