THE INVOLVEMENT OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN RURAL AREAS OF POLAND IN THE LIGHT OF QUESTIONNAIRE SURVEY RESULTS

J. Witkowski

Lublin University of Technology (POLAND)
This study outlines the activity of local self- governments in Poland for the dissemination of knowledge in the field of natural resources, pro-ecological attitudes and widely understood environmental protection. It has been assumed that the activeness of managing bodies in rural areas increases in this scope which manifests itself in various initiatives associated with environmental education and increasing financial engagement in this type of undertakings.

The empirical part, preceded by short review of literature on the subject, shows the results of the survey carried out in the group of commune heads directing the works of local self- governments in 110 communes situated in the territory of Lubelskie Voivodship in the south – eastern part of Poland.

The questionnaire method was applied in order to gather materials subjected to analysis. However only some from among 34 closed-ended questions contained in the form completed by the respondents, have been used in the present text. In their answers, the respondents discussed such topic as the trainings proposed for the officials, financial support granted by the communes offices for the tasks directly associated with education or external funds rising for such tasks. When discussing the conclusions from the research, it was pointed out that the self- governments are rather willing to participate in educational campaigns organized in schools but less frequently care about proper training for their officials who have to make environmentally significant decisions every day. Furthermore, the local officials avoid larger projects, particularly those associated with nature conservation (e.g. creation of ecology-related educational trails in legally protected areas). Perhaps it results from the fact that higher expenditure would have be incurred but the survey shows that the most funds (including external funds) are mainly used for the development of so called hard infrastructure.