Interpretation of specific knowledge for the local communities in protected areas: BioLearn Project area experience

In implementation of the activity “Better cooperation and capacity building among interested organizations in BSB” Project partner 5: Green Balkans – Stara Zagora NGO organized and successfully conducted a two-day online workshop on “Interpretation of specific knowledge for local communities in protected areas: BioLearn Project area experience”.

The main goal of this meeting was to exchange good examples and know-how among the partners about their knowledge and experience in management of wetlands registered as Ramsar Sites and part of the NATURA 2000 network and about the partners’ experience in training of young people and organization of public awareness campaigns for protection of biodiversity in the wetlands of BSB. Additionally the methods for waste management: especially methods for composting of agricultural waste were presented.

The progress of the partners in the preparation of a Manual of best educational and training practices that aim to reduce the amount of river based and marine litter was discussed.

Due to the epidemiological situation, the meeting was held on 19 and 20 November 2020 through an online Zoom meeting attended by scientists, teachers and experts in various fields related to environmental management and protection and waste, NGOs and environmental organizations and others. A brief description of the program and the speeches is given below:

At the beginning of the first day, Dimitar Popov started the workshop welcoming and introducing the participants. The first day of the workshop was dedicated to the Ramsar sites in the Black Sea basin and the partners presented the Ramsar sites in their countries.

The presentation “Ramsan sites in Bulgaria” of Dr. Svetla Dalakchieva from the Burgas University was the introductory and presented basic information about the Ramsar Convention for conservation of wetlands and its implementation in Bulgaria. There are currently 11 Ramsar sites in Bulgaria and brief descriptions of those situated on the Black sea coast were given.

Dimitar Popov presented the Green Balkans NGO’s Long-Term Conservation Program for Pomorie Lake, describing both the rich biodiversity of Pomorie Lake and the results of the long-term work of Green Balkans to study and protect this important wetland. Special emphasis was put on the development of management plan for the site and conducted restoration activities.

The management in the Evros Delta National Park in Greece was represented by Eleni Makrigianni. She revealed the process of restoration of Drana lagoon and the subsequent monitoring of the components of the environment and biodiversity.

Volodymyr Poltorak from Agricola NGO gave a presentation on Ramsar sites in Ukraine, when the Ramsar Convention enters into force in the country, the number of Ramsar sites and a brief presentation of some of them.

Izolda Matchutatdze of Foundation Caucasus Environment has presented Ramsar sites of the Kolkheti National Park in Georgia. Emphasis was on their rich biodiversity and preserving peat and percolation bogs, glacial relicts as well as threats for these sites by developments like oil terminals, etc.

Radostina Tzenova, an expert from the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, presented Atanasovsko Lake – a Ramsar site and a Special Protection Areas of the Natura 2000 network. The focus of the presentation was the interpretation of conservation knowledge of Atanasovsko Lake for the local communities.

Dr. Petar Yankov, an expert from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, presented the approaches in conservation management of Poda Ramsar Site. The various aspects of the management of a Ramsar site were presented – working with local authorities, local NGOs and tourism organizations, biodiversity conservation, environmental education and public awareness campaigns.

Ina Agafonova, the President of Via Pontica Foundation, presented the Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism “Vaya”, which the foundation built and manages.The Ecopark is part of Lake Vaya, one of the Ramsar sites on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Within a 2-minute video, the activities that the Ecopark is developing were presented.

Agricultural waste management was presented by Stela Naydenova “Prof. Asen Zlatarov University.  The main steps of agriculture management process were described – composting, recycling and incineration. And also useful ways to minimize agricultural waste – ethanol, bio-gas, biofertilizer, vermiculture and green energy production. She emphasized that the current challenge for scientists in the conditions of exhaustible resources is the maximum utilization of agricultural waste in order to extract the maximum of useful substances and the minimum of waste.

The second day of the Workshop began with the delivery of 4 presentations, presenting the experience of the partners for training young people and organizing campaigns to raise public awareness.

Nazlı Yıldız Dönmez presented their experience in Organizations to increase environmental awareness of the public. It was explained what exactly Environmental awareness means, why it is important and the specific experience in organizing nature education and the various activities that can be involved were shared.

Volodymyr Poltorak and NGO Agricola presented how the Danube and Dnieper estuaries pollution was used as a topic for school lessons and local communities activity. The activities they organized were shown – litter exhibitions, competitions, posters and the main messages to the target groups.

Manana Devidze, Foundation Caucasus Environment presented experience in training young people and organizing campaigns to raise public awareness on environment. Focus was on environmental monitoring; separation collection of waste and clean-up campaigns.

Andrei Ralev, expert of the Balkani Wildlife Society, presented the main stages in organizing a public campaign in the presentation “11 Steps for Organizing Environmental Campaigns”

The last 2 presentations expplained what has been done so far on the development of educational sets and the Manual of best educational and training practices that aim to reduce the amount of river based and marine litter. There was a discussion on the content, and some basic organizational aspects.

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