The first nature protection festival dedicated to the Dalmatian Pelican, organized by Persina Nature Park Directorate, has passed. The event took place on July 2 and 3 in front of the Visitor Centre of the park with a rich and interesting program.
The Festival of the Dalmatian Pelican was organized as an informational and educational event with ecological themes. The purpose of the event was to increase public attention to the need to protect the Dalmatian pelican and to promote the return of pelicans as a nesting species in the Persina Nature Park. Mainly to deploy wide awareness to create an informed understanding of pelican conservation, engaging local audiences with the main problems for the protection of these specific birds.
The first edition of the festival took place with the participation of the Nature Parks of Bulgaria, which made interesting information stands and workshops for young and old.
Games on the method of “forest pedagogy” were organized on the green meadows along the Danube River, where the visitor centre of Persina Nature Park is located, with the help of trained pedagogues from the structures of the Executive Forest Agency, guests of the Festival of the Dalmatian pelican. The games were attended by children of different ages, who embarked on activities that recreate the living conditions in nature and the behaviour of different species of animals and also of pelicans.
During the second day of the festival, the event was attended by environmental organizations: the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds and WWF – Bulgaria with interesting workshops, educational lectures, films and presentations. Visitors learned about: the places where Dalmatian pelicans are nesting, from Persina Nature Park experts; about the Lagoon of Atanasovsko Lake, from the guests the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation; for the fish on the Danube River, with a story from WWF – Bulgaria; for the natural landmarks of the town of Belene with a movie made by students under the Erasmus project at High school “D. Debelyanov” Belene and many others.
The festival program was enriched by the Community Center “Hristo Botev” in Belene and included performances by the Children’s Folklore Ensemble “Dimum”, a number of young musicians and the Modern Dances Club “DivnA”. The event was also attended by local information – educational, cultural and social organizations with interesting workshops and lessons in modern dance, all intertwining the idea of Dalmatian pelicans and the need to protect these giant fish-eating birds. The major threats to the species at the moment are disturbance, direct prosecution and drainage of wetlands.
The Dalmatian Pelican returned to the Persina Nature Park after a long absence, it has been nesting again on Persin Island in the Maintained Reserve “Persinski blata” since 2016.
The “Pelican Way of LIFE” initiative was represented by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria.
The Festival of the Dalmatian Pelican was organized as part of the implementation of the “Pelican Way of Life” project LIFE18 / NAT / NL / 000716, funded by the EU LIFE program.
Photos: Daniela Karakasheva/PNPD and Radoslava Marinova/PNPD