Gabor Racz is a film director and author who for 30 years has worked with Hungarian Television, producing and directing films on the environment and nature conservation.
He still pursues this activity for Hungarian and other TV-stations today but as a free-lancer and owner of a private company.
Just five years ago, in the tiny region of Ormansag, Hungary, bordering Croatia, Tamas Lantos used his background in agricultural engineering and sociology and his love for the land to found the Ormansag Foundation. A non-governmental organization, the Foundation promotes sustainable development projects in the area involving local populations at all stages of planning and implementation.
Today, as the Foundation's President, Lantos leads six permanent staff and a team of volunteers in projects concerning organic farming, water resource protection and the preservation of the area's natural and cultural heritage. Through the Organic Agriculture Reference Programme, the Foundation operates a school farm and provides training and equipment to local farmers. This project helps local farms compete in the marketplace using conventional methods.
The Foundation is also introducing pollution prevention technologies and setting up a transborder nature park along the banks of the Drava River which will encompass 46 villages scattered between pastures and wetlands. To encourage the preservation of Ormansag's cultural heritage, Lantos has directed the Foundation in its work with the local Gypsy population to enlist their support in sustainable development. Projects have included courses in traditional Gypsy crafts and organic gardening as well as cultural exchanges with Gypsy populations living abroad.
In 1993 the Foundation was awarded the Hungarian Prize for Regional Action.
Ormansag Foundation, Arany Janos u. 4, 7967 Dravafok, Hungary; Tel./fax 011-36-73-352 333. Unpaid gardening work in orchard, herb garden, etc. at sustainable farm. Also coordinates volunteers for neighboring farms. Free accommodations. Minimum stay 1 week.
Zsuzsa Foltanyi is an expert in environmental protection, waste water and toxic waste treatment. She first worked as a design engineer, then as a journalist and columnist for a scientific bi-weekly. The real change in her life occurred when she became, in 1986, a member of the ELTE Nature Conservation Club - a non-profit organization where she organized forest-saving actions and co-edited the publication Nature Conservation. She was also a volunteer for the Danube Movement and worked with Slovak and Austrian groups to protect wetlands around the river. In 1989, she was one of the initiators of a major Earth Day event, and as a result became a Board Member of the Earth Day Foundation in Hungary. She was also co-editor of the Hungarian version of the State of the World report, published by the World Watch Institute. In 1990, she became project manager of the Panos Institute, Budapest and edited its publication Panos Feedback. In the same year, she founded the Energy Club, an alliance of Hungarian NGOs, whose aim is to develop sustainable energy policies and promote the efficient use of energy resources. In 1991, she initiated an East/West conference on energy and edited a book based on the proceedings and translated it into Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian and Russian. She was director of the Environmental Partnership Foundation which provides technical assistance, small grants and training to grassroots groups. She has been on the Board of various Central and Eastern European NGOs.