Our History

Ełk Ecological Society 

Ełk Ecological Society has been a leader in environmental education since 1994. In 1999, it began to work with the Voivodeship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Olsztyn, Poland. It undertakes many projects and covers a variety of issues on the local, national, and international scale. Ełk Ecological Society encourages the growth of environmental education in the city's schools by coordinating workshops, meetings, and contests. Likewise, the Society offers support to ecological initiatives the schools themselves create which involve the local community. Since 2001, the Society has devoted itself to helping grow the Center for Ecology Education in Ełk, Poland.


How the Impossible Became Possible

It all began with a dream. Make Ełk truly an eco-city.



Pioneers in the Warmia-Masuria region, we started a Clean Up the World campaign in our very own Ełk



We already had a strong presence in the city and, thanks to our registration, became a legal entity - Ełk Ecological Society. 



This was a busy year with the initiation of our very own local pilot project modeling the federal version, National Program of Action for the Environment in Poland. We began to investigate the living conditions of our residents, and how they could be improved. Our kitchens were transformed. Homes began to have recycling bins and we began to look at the amount of trash we produced. Step by step, Ełk was becoming more environmentally friendly.



We published our first bulletin "E3: Ełk - Ecology - Economy" as well as a popular comic book, bringing to life our hero "Eco-Man". Children learned to separate trash into paper, glass, and plastic in "Eco Contests" and enjoyed themselves at the annual "Ecology Ball". We also began a new project initiative - "Youth Agenda 21". Thanks to our efforts, local citizens are able to support the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe in Budapest, Hungary.



Thanks to our partnership with PELP, fluorescent lights began to be more widely used. Ełk becomes an "ecologically-lit" city, with electricity being better and cheaper.



It was time for us to share our knowledge and abilities with the rest of Poland. We organized the first-ever Forum for Ecology Education. Behind the scenes, Professor Łukasiewicz inspired us to organize summer and winter activities related to environmental sustainability.



We reached an agreement with the Voivodeship Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Olsztyn and with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Great Masury Lakes, giving us the necessary funds to run our programs. We are now also able to give small grants to schools in support of their initiatives.



After many years, our dream of a building to house our programs comes true with the opening of the Center for Ecology Education. The building is fully furnished and all necessary equipment bought thanks to the generous donations from the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Warsaw, Poland. Environmental education in Ełk has been modernized and brought into the 21st Century. We begin to prepare the residents of the city to the new recycling policies that are to be set in place. 



For the first time ever, the European Commission Representation in Poland and the fund "Phare" finance one of our projects. Youth Agenda 21 becomes a reality.



Project after project becomes a reality: "The River Talks", "We Live in Peace with Nature", "Masuria Under a Magnifying Glass", and "Recycling in All Schools and Pre-schools"



Though we have come so far, we still dream of more: A hub of sustainable energy, a museum of natural science, and a botanical garden. We have more work to do. In the Center for Ecology Education building, a Masurian Lake Museum is established.



The City decides to incorporate us into their services under the name, "Center for Ecology Education". Our wings expand with us becoming a fully recognized government unit.




There is definitely not a lack of ideas. We begin to hold annual activities: Stork Day Festival, the sculpture show "Nature and Culture", a film festival in Ełk featuring many nature videographers, and seminars presenting "Protected Areas and Their Value". Bird Lovers Club is also established.



This is a very eventful year for us as we begin to invest in and plan for two large projects ahead of us: 

  1. Enhancing the esplanade that surrounds Lake Ełk and making it more tourist-friendly with the addition of a bike path, longer route, street lamps, and traditional wooden folk carvings lining the promenade. 
  2. An application for a renewable source of energy to heat the Center for Ecology Education building.

Our international relations with Germany and Russia also improve thanks to the Stefan Batorego Foundation that sponsors the project, "Neighbors Partnering for a Better Future". 



Both projects qualify for financial aid and are all the more closer to becoming a reality.



The projects receive funding from the European Regional Development Fund to advance ecotourism on Lake Ełk and transform our own Center for Ecology Education into a more green and sustainable building.