Research Programmes

Project of cooperation between The Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. Institute of Ecology and Environmental Protection and The Torun Zoobotanical Garden

Project: Creating breeding places for goosander /Mergus merganser/ in the area of the Lower Vistula Valley, within the county of Torun.

In spring 2005 The Centre of Environmental Education of The Torun Zoobotanical Garden and Ornithological Section of Biology Students Scientific Circle at The Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun initiated the action: "Nesting boxes for hollow-dwellers". The idea was to raise funds for buying and hanging nesting boxes for various species of birds in Torun. They hung 50 nesting boxes for hollow-dwellers and 10 breeding boxes for bats in all.

The successful outcome of the cooperation was creating The Torun University - The Torun Zoobotanical Garden joint scientific project aimed at creating nesting places for goosander (Mergus merganser) in Torun, in Special Bird Protection Areas, called The Lower Vistula Valley PLB040003.

The species can be found here on the boundary of its nesting area. And it suffers from the lack of natural hollows on lakes-shore and rivers-bank, caused by human recreational and economic activity. This situation should be changed as soon as possible.

The main stages /modules/ of the project between 2006 - 2010:


  1. marking out the area and selecting 60 trees for nesting boxes to be hung on
  2. hanging nesting boxes, 20 pieces per each of 3 seasons, i.e. in 2006, 2007 and 2008
  3. monitoring the nesting boxes settling in /during breeding season and after it/
  4. maintaining nesting boxes /cleaning, repairing and replacing damaged boxes after each breeding season/
  5. educating local community, i.e. activities for school groups in the Educational Center, arranging ornithological tours, preparing media coverage
  6. engaging local community members in the project by running media campaign, and raising funds and items to carry out the project
  7. evaluating the project - by mid-2011

The assumed environmental and scientific results of the project are:


  • increasing and stabilizing the population of Mergus merganser at least in the area of The Lower Vistula Valley, within the county of Torun
  • assessing the effectiveness of the solutions applied in the project
  • raising environmental awareness of local people about the need of species and regional form of nature protection