Lifelong Learning Programme

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Geographical Areas

Homepage > Learning Science through Nature > Geographical Areas


Part of NERINGA (Smiltynė)
Chemistry, Biology
NERINGA is at the southern Lithuanian end of a remarkable geological formation known as the Curonian Spit. The spit is not connected to mainland Lithuania. Car ferries provide a transportation link between Smiltynė, located on the spit, and the port town of Klaipėda.
The spit starts at the sea gate of Klaipeda and runs for a 100 km south into the Russian region of Kaliningrad. Outstretching through the territories of two states, the Republic of Lithuania and the Russian Federation (the Kaliningrad Region), this 98 km-long and 0,4 – 4 km wide peninsula is an outstanding creation of nature and man. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000.Human habitation of this elongated sand dune peninsuladates back to prehistoric times(5,000 years ago).
The Curonian Spit is a unique and vulnerable, sandy and wooded cultural landscape on a coastal spit which features small Curonian lagoon settlements. The Spit was formed by the sea, wind and human activity and continues to be shaped by them. Rich with an abundance of unique natural and cultural features, it has retained its social and cultural importance. The main elements are the distinctive Great Dune Ridge and individual dunes, relics of ancient parabolic dunes; a human-made protective coastal dune ridge; relics of moraine islands, seacoast and littoral forests and littoral capes; ancient forests, mountain pine forests and other unique sand flora and fauna including a bird migration path.

Local communities adapted to the changes in the natural environment in order to survive. This interaction between humans and nature shaped the Curonian Spit cultural landscape. The Curonian Spit is an outstanding example of a landscape of sand dunes that is under constant threat from natural forces (wind and tide). After disastrous human interventions that menaced its survival, the Spit was reclaimed by massive protection and stabilization works that began in the 19th century and are still continuing to the present day.

Neringa,The Lithuanian National Park, is forested with linden, elm, birch and pine and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including wild boar, deer and fox. The Curonian Spit is also a quiet and popular nesting place and an important bird migration route. At Lybio Ragas, just south of Juodkrante, you can see whooper swans, cormorants, white-tailed eagles, red-throated divers, sheldrakes, and herons. The Curonian Spit National Park vegetation boasts about 900 plant species (including 31 species on the Lithuanian Red Book). it is also home to approximately 40 species of mammals and as many as about 300 species of birds. The White Sea/Baltic Sea migration highway goes along the Curonian Also, there is a large two-hectare colony of grey herons and cormorants nesting side by side. The dunes and sand hills are covered by grassy flora.
The Juodkrante Landscape Reserve gives shelter for a number of species that are included in the Red List: plants - Ivy-leaved Speedwell (Veronica hederfolia L.); birds - hobby (Falco subbuteo), stock dove (Columba oenas L.); mammals - otter (Lutra lutra L.) and stoat (Mustella erminea). Neringa is forested with linden, elm, birch and pine and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including wild boar, deer and fox.
Neringa is a prestigious international seacoast resort located in the Curonian Spit National Park. It features cognitive tourism and rationally used natural and cultural resources. resort. According to the climate, Neringa is a seacoast resort, and according to treatment resources, it is a climatic resort. Neringa differs from other Lithuanian resorts by its seacoast and nature included into the list of the UNESCO heritage objects. In addition to the unique natural resources, it also offers a modern tourism infrastructure and various active leisure forms. Special attention is paid here to the outdoor recreation: playgrounds, sports and recreation meadows, specially adapted forest infrastructure (cognitive trails), zones of non-smoking and silence, and sports equipment for outdoor entertainment, etc.


Xanthoria parietina Xanthoria parietina belongs in the family Teloschistaceae.This lichen is penetrating everywhere, where ther is a lot of dust and nitrogen compounds, often pushing the other in the same place growing kinsman. Xanthoria parietina is a foliose, or leafy, lichen. It has wide distribution, Xanthoria parietina can grow on the tree barks, stones, concrete, slate, although in the pine and shady forests Xanthoria parietina is virtually undetectable.
Hypogymnia physodes Hypogymnia is a genus of lichenized fungi within the Parmeliaceae family. This type of lichens is widespread around the world, they are found on stones, wood, trees and land. The macroscopic lichen wisps show their affection for light habitats. Hypogymnia physodes wisp is leafy, its edges are widening and it is quite freely attached to the substrate with rhizines.
Ramalina fraxinea Ramalina fraxinea belongs to the Ramalinaceae lichens family. This type of lichens have a large wisp and most of them are found on the tree trunks. Ramalina fraxinea is spread around the world, perhaps more abundant in the northern hemisphere.
Lichens When determining the air pollution in Smiltyne according to the abundance of kinds of lichen and the covered area, the research shows the pollution in Smiltyne is not great, because the influence of SO2 and NO2 oxide on lichen is average. There are three kinds of lichen in Smiltyne: Xanthoria parietina ( sieninė geltonkerpė), Hypogymnia physodes (putlusis plynkežis), Ramalina fraxinea (uosinė ramalina). Two types of zones dominate in our explored territory, the zone of inner fight and the zone of exterior fight. Also, Crusty lichen is mostly found in the explored areas.
Sand pollution on the coast of the Baltic sea-Smiltynė Sea and sand pollution is very dangerous for both nature and human beings, because various pollutants being toxic can cause different deseases, kill sea flora, fish. In Smiltynė when doing the research macro pollutants dominated as they made up 76 per cent of all litter (plastic bags). Foil things made up only 5 per cent, rrubber items appear rarely; .from micro litter cigarettes and things made of paper dominate.
Water contamination in Curonian Lagoon Analyzed ion concentration: a)The lowest Cl- concentrations are observed inJuodkrante (0.5mg / L) and the New Ferry (0,1mg / L), while in other research places it is constant (~ 1,0mg / L); b) Fe2+ / Fe3+ has not been set in the Curonian Lagoon; c) The highest Cu1+ / Cu2+ concentrations are found in the New Ferry (1,0mg / L), and the Dolphinarium (1,0mg / L), and the lowest concentration is found in the Old Ferry;
Sea Sandwort/ Honckenya peploides The plants are quite small, thick and juicy. They usually are around 10 cm high. Leaves are opposite, stalkless, tapered, glabrous, fleshy, dark–lime green color. Flowers are 1 cm in diameter, stalks are short. Petals are white, oval. This plant is perennial.A fruit is spherical with large seeds. Blooming time varies from June to July. It grows in sandy, stony and gravelly areas by seashores. It is spread from Nida to Smiltynė. Sea sandwort’s flowers are usually unisexual. The flowers are pollinated by insects and have an abundance of nectar. The Sea sandwort spreads efficiently through its rootstock.
Gypsophila paniculata Stalks of these plants are vertical, rising, heavily branched, around 1 m high. Leaves are elongated, tapered, located in pairs against each other. Racemes grow on the tops of the branches. Flowers are white, fragrant and small. Fruit is a round box with small seeds. Blooming time starts in June and continues throughout the summer. It is a perennial plant and it reproduces by seeds. The branches break easily. The wind rolls them and they spread the seeds. This plant grows in sandy areas. In Lithuania self-contained only on seashore. It was planted there to secure the dunes.
Curonian spit/Kuršių nerija/Smiltynė The stalks are usually status or rising, heavily branched. Leaves are thick and juicy, cleaved pinnate. They also have long, white roots. Light purple blossoms are growing on top of the plant. The blooming time begins in June and usually ends in autumn. It is only a yearling plant. Grows in the sea, sand or gravel, avant and dunes. It is spread all over the seashore and the sand coast in Kuršmarė. This plant has nectar, so it is visited by insects and also eaten by animals. It is planted to protect and secure the dunes.
Baltic Goatsbeard /Tragopogon heterospermus A stalk is vertical, long, shaggy and cilindrical. It is usually branched from the bottom and is leafy. This plant blossoms from June to August, it is also perennial. It is found on the east coast of the Baltic shore, Kaliningrad, Lithuania and Latvia. Often found all across the while and grey sand dunes, a little bit rarer in the dunes, which are secured with pines. Very rare in continental dunes. It is often used to secure the dunes.


The changes in Smiltyne’s landscape

“The changes in Smiltynė‘s landscape over a period of time“ is a presentation of the results and the process of the research. It is a video that is constantly updated after the trips to Smiltynė by adding the newly taken photos (a set of 13 pictures). At the moment, you can see the changes that occurred by watching the differences of six sets of photos (the photographing angle and the resolution of second week‘s photos did not match) during a seven week period at thirteen chosen objects around Smiltynė.The object locations are shown in the montage. Calm and relaxing ambient music style and „fade“ type transitions create a comfortable watching experience for a viewer.