About Young Researches of Serbia – Voluntary Service of Serbia:
YRS was founded in 1976. Our main aims are environmental protection and education, promotion of sustainable development, work with young people in an international context, promotion of scientific creativity and voluntarism and its values. Voluntary Service of Serbia is a volunteer exchange service center founded in 1990 as one of the sectors of YRS. It is a volunteer exchange reference point for this part of Europe. Through VSS passed more than 5000 Serbian volunteers who participated in international voluntary workcamps all around the world and 2500 of foreign ones at more than 250 workcamps in Serbia and about 40 long-term volunteers.
YRS is a member of: the Coordinating Committee of International Voluntary Service, Youth and Environment Europe, Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organizations, and a partner of Service Civil International in Serbia. YRS is one of the founding members of the networks: South East European Youth Network and Youth Culture in Action Network.
Obedska Pond is a vast swamp-forest area stretching along the river Sava in Southern Srem (Vojvodina). It is an authentic complex of stagnant tributaries, marshes, pits, marsh vegetation, damp meadows and forests with an exceptionally rich diversity of the ecosystems and recent species. The pond is an oxbow lake a remnant of the old Sava river meanders of which the main stream flows nowadays more southward. Due to its shape, the swampy bed of the Pond, situated between the villages of Obrez and Kupinovo is called “The Horse-shoe”. Higher grounds with cut-in depressions and old oak forest habitats are called “The Hoof”. Obedska bara, well known for its variety of swamp and forest habitats is actually famous for its bird fauna (more than 220 bird species) as a swamp bird’s sanctuary. It is one of the oldest protected areas in the world. The first administrative protective measures were introduced as early as in 1874 protecting Obedska bara as a hunting ground. It was reserved only for the members of the Austrian royal family, as at that time it belonged to the Habsburg monarchy. According to the present status of the legal protection regime it belongs to the first category, which means that it is a natural asset of exceptional value. Its status has been verified by the international community i.e. ratified by the Convention on Swamps (Ramsar site since 1977) and included in the List of Areas of Special Significance for Birds of Europe.
In 1992 students from the Belgrade University members of the Students Biological Research Society “Josif Pancic” started scientific research project symbolically called “The Return of the Ibis” (“Povratak Ibisa”). It has been a successful project becoming the main support to the struggle for the protection and preservation of this beautiful wildlife reserve. Numerous negative processes have been detected so far, conditioned by human impact and natural succession, which pose the greatest danger to the nature of Obedska pond. These processes include natural overgrowing, decreasing of free water surfaces and forest dying due to the decline of flood and underground water levels. The next step of the project is “swamp healing”. Together with the public enterprise “Vojvodina sume”, which governs this special nature reserve, the experts from the Institute for Protection of Nature of Serbia, Regional Secretariat for Environment and Sustainable Development and Municipality of Pecinci, the sponsor of this workcamp, The Young Researches of Serbia – Voluntary Service of Serbia is organizing the twenty-third (23rd) international workcamp at Obedska Bara whose volunteers will help to decrease the negative effects of overgrowing the “Horseshoe”. Our work has given very good and visible results: so far because of our activities several bird species have returned and the bird colony is now bigger with a stable number of nesting species.