River profiles in Sweden and Hungary
Crosscultural partnership between
Naturbrukgymnasiet and Dráva Völgye High School
(Borián György - dr. Per Nelin)

In 1995 the Vasternorrland County from Sweden and Somogy County from Hungary started cooperation in many areas. One of the mutual programmes was to connect the schools of the same profiles: this way the partnership between the Naturbrukgymnasiet, Nordvik and Dráva Völgye High School, Barcs started.

In 1995-96 about 20 twenty teachers visited the partner schools to know each others and to start a long-term student exchange programme. They concluded that forestry and water education of both schools are very similar therefore these departments made a written contract of long-term student exchange programme. The exchange programme between the two water departments is based on the GREEN project: to compare the quality of the streams around the Swedish and Hungarian school.

The visit of the Swedish Students 

In October, 1996 Dr. Per Nelin and his 5 students (Hans Gustavsson, Jens Norberg, Fredrik Edin, Tommy Karttunen and Jonas Nyberg) spent two weeks in Barcs. The main goal of their visit was to take part in the Hugarian environmental education focusing on the monitoring of Rigóc creek. In 1995 the students of the Hungarian school started a monitoring system on that creek and they frequently measure the water quality.

Profile of Rigóc creek:

The Rigóc creek is the most important water course of the Protected Juniper Grove of 3400 ha. This area is one of the most beautiful protected area in South-Transdanubia, full of rare wild animals and plants.

The importance of this small stream is not given by his length - it is only 17 km and its discharge is 14 l/s -, but by the fact, that the Protected Juniper Grove is on its watershed and it flows into the Drava river. At the turn of the 19th century this stream was dammed at many places in order to create nine fishponds. The junniper grove-forest was the result of the extensive animal keeping of the 19th century. As grazing was gradually given up in this area the natural development of the forest started, first with the appearence of the pioneer species, which are under the conditons in this area the juniperus and birch. The present stage of the development reflects the transition of the juniper woods into a sand-liking oak forest.

Monitoring system

In October, 1995 just before the opening of the Danube-Dráva National Park Mr. Feny?si László, the manager of the Juniper Protected Area contacted Borián György whether the GREEN group of the Dráva Völgye High School was interested in establishing a monitoring system on the creek and measuring the water quality and to investigate the effect of the ponds on the water quality. He asked because two ponds on the creek belong to the school and they are used for education. In addition, some buildings of the school (the forestry and hunting departments, and a student hostel) are located on the catchment basin very close to the protected area.

The students found that the main pollution sources:

1. The agricultural chemicals in Szulok village (non-point source).

2. The Thermal bath of Szulok: it relases used hot water and detergents into the creek (point source).

3. The new artificial sport fishpond outside of Szulok (point-source).

In the protected area itself, they didn't find any significant pollution source. Due to the rising price of agricultural chemicals people use less and less them in this area and in all over Hungary, of course.

Considering the above mentioned facts four sampling points were selected. The first measurements showed quite high nitrate and phosphate pollution at the sampling points No. 1-2.

The result of the measurements

The results of the Swedish students supported the earlier measurements of the Hungarian students, ie: nitrate and phosphate concentration is very high in the upstream and that parameters are responsible for the medium quality in the vicinity of Szulok village. The Water Quality Indexes of the four points were 64.16; 61,94; 74.82; 82.32. These indexes show very well that the ponds clean very effectively the creek, so only a little pollution reaches the Dráva river.

Cultural programmes

During these two weeks the Swedish guests had some interesting programmes: they visited the Little Balaton, one of the biggest wetland rehabilitation of Europe. Unfortunately the Little-Balaton was drained in the beginning of the century it absolutely dried out. However, ten years ago a big project started: by damming the Zala river an artificial wetland was created on this area. In addition, this wetland is the natural treatment plant of the Zala river which is the main supplier of Lake Balaton. This wetland system, its islands and surroundings gives a home for a very rich flora and fauna, and is one of the main resting places for migrating birds in Hungary. On one of the islands the Swedish guests could taste the Hungarian fishsoup...

The Swedish guests visited an ale farm, too where hot spring of Hévíz is used for breeding ales and tropical catfish. They had some concerns about the used waters of the farm. They offered to show promisiing solutions in Sweden...

The visit of the Hungarian students 

In September, 1997 György Borián and his students (Edit Gerencsér, Mariann Gy?rfi, Ákos Lukács, Péter Zsolt Szabó) arrived to participate in the environmental education and research at Nordvikskolan at Västernorrlands Naturbruksgymnasium. Their programme has mainly concentrated on fishing technologies, vegetation study of the beach and monitoring of Skullersta water system. The study of the water quality was made again by the GREEN method. The reason to study the Skullersta is that an earlier pilot study (June) had indicated high values of phosphate. Since the cathment area is similar to the Hungarian Rigóc catchment (it also includes lakes, farmland and forest) it seemed to be an interesting topic for the Hungarian guests to study the effect of these landuses on the environment in Sweden.

The results:

Everybody was satisfied with the results because they didn't show any serious pollution. (It is important to mention that on the catchment area no point-source pollution was found.) We got the following four Water Quality Indexes: 82.12; 73.13; 88.67; 80.96.

Only the dissolved oxygen content seemed a little bit low but due to the warmest summer of this century in Sweden there were very little flow in the creeks. One of the creeks we wanted to measure was absolutely dry.

After having analised the results, the Nordvikskolan decided to use them as a basis for the further monitoring.

The cultural programmes:

During the first days the guest visited the school and its vicinity. On the second evening a football-match was organized between the Hungarian guests supported by some Swedish teachers and students from Nordvikskolan.

The Hungarian guests visited the Mid Sweden University at Härnösand where they could study a research work at a fishfarm. The Ecotechnological Department of the University started a project for biological treatment of the used waters of the fishfarm. They irrigate tomato in greenhouse with the nutrient rich water and the drained water is recirculated back to the fishpond. This way they try to reduce the polluting effect of fishfarms on the Baltic Sea.

In exchange for the Hungarian fishsoup Mr Nelin invited the Hungarian guests for a "fermented hering"... Only half of the group was brave enough to taste it....


All the participants of the exchange programme were absolutely satisfied: the Hungarian and Swedish students and teachers, as well gained a lot from these programmes. They had to work in a foreign country using the English language, they had insight into the daily life of a foreign school and they saw beautiful natural values what they have never thought of. They absolutely agreed that for such programmes the minimum period is ten days. Some days are needed for the students before the official programme to get to know each others, anyway they are not able to work efficiently together.

In addition to the above mentioned they carried out an interesting research: they studied thoroughly water courses nearby the schools and they could compare it. All of the participants was convinced that the water quality of the Skullersta creek is much better than that of the Rigóc creek.

The teachers of the schools agreed that they would like to expand this work for other water courses around the schools. Therefore Mr. Lars-Olaf Halvarsson will travel to Hungary with his class to 'explore' an other catchment in the surroundings of Barcs and to taste the original Hungarian gulash...

Dr. Per Nelin, Nordvik

Borián György, Barcs