“Doing what we truly love and finding a work, which is our passion, is the best thing that could happen to us”
…says Iwona Krepic, Nature Guide in northwestern Poland, with a satisfied smile into the camera.
Recently the Polish morning show Dzien Dobry broadcasted a special TV report about Nature Guiding and the passionate people behind that job. The TV report also demonstrates the magic moments of Nature Guiding: The evoking of new emotions when spotting wolf or otter tracks. The excitement of guests when they see a deer passing by for the first time. Showing a sky full of stars to someone who lives where there is no night.
Even if becoming a Nature Guide and making a living from it can be hard in the beginning, the message is clear: When you are passionate about guiding and the nature around you, the work will pay off for you. You play an important role in transferring knowledge to people, creating awareness and protecting the environment by sharing your passion.
Have a look at the polish movie here!
What does the work of a Nature Guide look like?
[Iwona Krępic / Nature Guide] We saw white-tailed eagles gliding over our garden, and our first though was: „WOW, what do we have here?” That is how it started.
[Jacek Wójcik / Northern chamber of commerce] People escape into the wild in order to return to the roots, to feel their life a bit stronger.
[Artur Furdyna / Nature Guide] If one spots wolf tracks, it evokes new emotions, and it makes our guests simply happy.
[Reginald Ścieżka / Nature Guide] A deer was passing us by, and a guest from the Netherlands grabbed my arm quite strongly, as he could not believe it! I told him: “Leave my arm!”, and he returned: „I won’t do it!” So I replied: “Keep calm!” – it was a pretty funny adventure.
[Iwona] We are both city slickers, who moved to the village at the end of the world, and started to get to know nature from the very beginning. We spent our time mostly watching the nature, and then we looked at the tracks of wild animals, taking photographs and also recording them.
[Artur] Do you see this track? This rushed sand by the bank?
[Michał Kulesza / Guide] Yes, I see it. What is it?
[Artur] It is a very distinctive place, where the otter cleaned its paws.
[Artur] Often I invite guests for a walk through the forests, by the river, and I tell them how this ecosystem works. This is how the whole idea of nature guiding was born. Nature Guide – a guide, who not only guides tourists to these unique places, but also gives some information about this natural world.
[Iwona] A Nature Guide can show people nature from really close, in a nice place, make them fall in love with it, and also make it with all due respect.
[Narrator] Nature guiding is one of the latest professions linked with the nature, but in the West it has been known for years.
[Iwona] We actually started from a strong believe we had in these Nature Guides from Western Europe, who came here and taught us how to do it. That it is possible to do it and make a living from nature guiding. For the first three years, it was pretty hard, but now we have reservations for two years ahead. People come to us from all over Europe and the rest of the world to see our natural treasures. Mostly they come from countries, which had lost their true wild nature. Here we can show it to them.
[Reginald] I had once a guest from the Netherlands, who lived in an area where there is no night. There are hundreds of greenhouses, in which ultraviolet lights work 24/7. „I don’t see the stars”, he said, and „there’s a violet sky above me”.
[Artur] We have one of our favourite guests here, which we can actually call as a resident of
Stepnica. When he came here for the first time, he planned to stay for one week. After one and half months, we received an e-mail from his wife saying „Give me back my husband, please!”
[Michał] I saw another beautiful Pomeranian river named Gowienica, from a place I have never been before. Once again, I saw kingfishers, and I have to admit that each occasion to see them gives me amazing feelings; or the tracks of otters on the riverbank. I have seen otters before, but did not know that they leave traces like this. Now I know! Being with people like Nature Guides, who have knowledge and know the territory, is invaluable.
[Iwona] Over here, we have more than 200 bird species, like red-backed shrikes, who are small ‘Zorro-like’ hunting birds and live in nearby meadows; hoopoes, which are a real attraction; wrynecks, and of course white-tailed eagles. They are the main attraction and a symbol of Oder-Delta.
[Artur] Today some of us maybe do not make a living from guiding, but it becomes a crucial element of our plans and budgets.
[Iwona] It is not about the massive touristic movement. We have our offer specified for a group of tourists, which are deeply interested in this type of attractions and are ready to pay quite good money for it – and we did it.
[Jacek] It is a chain of mutual benefits. The tourists arrive and they have their expectations. They are being taken to the Oder Delta by anglers on their boats. When they want to taste some local food, they are guided to people who make delicious honey, or cook good food. Every branch has its own financial benefits. This is how it works.
[Iwona] The „WOW! Effect” as we call it, is to watch a white-tailed eagle from 10-15 meter distance or a deer passing by 2 meters from us.
[Reginald] It is sometimes so close, that one can take a great photo of a hunting eagle or a pair of playing badgers.
[Iwona] This contact with nature creates a feeling that lasts for hours on that day. It is what people have forgotten about but are able to experience once again.
[Reginald] It is like hundreds or thousands of hours yearly. I can easily go for a walk for five or six hours per day.
[Iwona] This is what we truly love. Finding a work, which is your passion, is the best thing that could happen to us.