Taking care of nature and local community
Spend your family holiday in Marina's countryside. Learn about rural development, participate in local clean-ups, and relax by doing activities in nature.
Country living is heaven. All the clichés are true. Bountiful fresh air. Unfettered access to nature. A slower, gentler pace. The blissful isolation and absence of crowds. However, living in rural idyll also comes with a lot of challenges.
Meet Mario Matijaš, a vice president of the “Association eco Village Vrsine”, who is committed to create a better future for his village. Even though this NGO is only one year old, it has already gained a reputation for innovative organization with ambitious projects and a great positive impact. Mario passionately leads and inspires people to participate in sustainable rural development.
Developing sustainable and responsible tourism
The village of Vrsine is one of the most picturesque places in Marina municipality. In comparison with the coastal part that may sometimes feel overcrowded with seaside apartments and villas, tourism here has only just started to develop in the recent years. Luckily it is taking a positive turn towards rural luxury with comfortable holiday homes.
»We are developing tourism that is in harmony with nature and our local community. Always addressing the importance of sustainability. I have spent some time at ecovillages around the world and learned that you can always replicate a building, but you can’t replicate the pristine land. Our land is authentic and we are encouraging people to approach it with ultimate respect,” says Mario.
Taking care of nature
“Because we may think that nature is ‘free’, we may tend to take it for granted and exploit it. By not taking into account that we are a part of the ecosystem, we can cause significant social and economic costs for ourselves”, he emphasizes.
Only a few generations ago, people were throwing their garbage into the karst caves, as they thought they were endless. Marina countryside is rich with gorgeous underground caves, but they all need to get cleaned first.
“We want to create a better place to live and it all starts with the clean environment. Association eco Village Vrsine is continuously organizing clean-ups. In fact, these became a sort of social gatherings for locals and volunteers from abroad. We do something good for our environment and at the same time we are socializing, discussing new ideas, projects, etc.,“ he explains.
Attracting and keeping people in the countryside
The depopulation of rural areas goes beyond small villages being abandoned, as it also affects the environment and people’s quality of life. Their goal is to boost the local economy and breathe new life into community.
Association has developed a special program “Green trips in Open Villages”, through which they aim to connect travelers, accommodation renters and tour operators with the local providers and family farms and help the local economy thrive.
With several projects always on the go, they want to present the opportunities and promote the beauty of the countryside living. To inspire people to leave the city and start a whole new chapter in green Marina. Or just to stay a few months and work remotely from here.
Preserving the tradition
“Older generations have precious knowledge and wisdom about life. We need to respect them, take time to listen and have an open heart for our culture and tradition. The tree is as strong as its roots and we are passionate about keeping our tradition alive. We are preserving our heritage through various events, such as “Stories from Vrsine's grandmothers,” says Mario.
A great deal of work lies ahead, but Mario remains optimistic and motivated. If you would like to join his Association, either though volunteer work or joint projects; do not hesitate to contact him.