7-9 November 2013 at Hotel DoubleTree by Hilton Oradea we organized the Final Conference of the project. On the last day of the conference participants had the opportunity to visit two caves in the project area: Meziad Cave anf Cave Farcu with Crystals. Meziad is one of the most important underground habitats within the county of Bihor, also in this cave being implemented concrete conservation measures into the project.
The conference was attended by 67 people from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Commission of Speleology Heritage, Environmental protection agencies from the country, national and natural parks from the country and abroad, custodians and managers of Natura 2000 sites, NGOs, speleology clubs, researchers and specialists in the protection of bats and the environment in general.
On the 1-st of October, 2013, was organized the environmental education activities at the Gârda Visitor Center. The activity was attended by 35 pupils, accompanied by two teachers from the Elementary School “Emil Racoviţă” from Gârda de Sus and the Elementary School from Arieşeni. The aim of this work was to change the negative attitudes toward bats and to give pupils an environmental education for effective conservation of the environment in the future.
Participants were presented PowerPoint presentation about the LIFE project, an overview of bat biology, the need to protect bat species present in the area, key habitats and protective measures. At the end of the presentations, the pupils watched a documentary made in the frame of the LIFE project.
On the 3-rd of October 2013, was held the trip with the Buntești, Buduroasa and Pietroasa Schools, at the Padiș Visiting Center. The activity was attended by 47 pupils accompanied by seven teachers.
To the participants was presented the LIFE project, the need for bat protection, the present species in the area, the habitats and the protection measures. The park ranger gave an oral presentation about the Apuseni Natural Park and the Padis visitor center.
After the oral presentations, interactive educational activities were held as follows:
Following this event it could be observe the effect of environmental education activities conducted in schools in the frame of the project. Besides that, this helped pupils change their view on bats and helped them to assimilate information on their biology and ecology.
In September 2013 took place an ecological education activity in Cefa Nature Park. This activity was attended by students from the General School no. 1 from Cefa and Inand, total 45 participants. The activity started at the Cefa Nature Park Visitor Centre (being administered by Apuseni Nature Park Administration) where the education specialist, Philemon Claudiu, presented the project goals, objectives and achievements. Then the children have the opportunity to watch the movie about bats made in the project. To check the knowledge gained by children, each student was given one questionnaire.
The work continued with field trip in Cefa Nature Park – In The Rădvani Forest where bats specialist Richard Hoffmann presented to the participants the artificial shelters installed in the project, he explained why it is necessary to install this kind of housing, what bat species are present in the Nature Park Cefa, general rules of behavior. Students have shown a big interest, asked questions and provoked discussion on the protection of bats. The activity ended with the return to the Visitor Centre.
It is particularly important to involve in the excursions the students from areas where bats are present, especially where are taken special measures of protection for explaining to the children the importance of bats in their area.
On 13.08.2013 we held a Debate of Management Plan for the conservation of bats and specific habitats at the Gârda de Sus Viziting center from Nature Park Apuseni (Alba County). Through this activity was realized the public consulting of the Management Plan. At the meeting were invited local stakeholders ( landowners, local authorities, associations of owners, economic operators), decision factors (custodians, administrators of Natura 2000 sites, NGOs – Associations / Speleological clubs, local authorities from Bihor and Cluj Counties).
On 12.08.2013 we held a Debate of Management Plan for the conservation of bats and specific habitats at the Coultural Home fom Șuncuiuș (Bihor County). Through this activity was realized the public consulting of the Management Plan. At the meeting were invited local stakeholders ( landowners, local authorities, associations of owners, economic operators), decision factors (custodians, administrators of Natura 2000 sites, NGOs – Associations / Speleological clubs, local authorities from Bihor and Cluj Counties).
On 08/08/2013 at Hotel Continental Oradea we held a Twinning with Local Media regarding bat protection. The meting was attended by representatives of local and national media, in total the meting was attended by 16 journalists.
During the meeting, the project manager Szodoray-Paradi Farkas presented general information about bat protecting – the national and European legislation, the reasons why bats need to be protected, presented the objectives and results achieved in the project. The journalists watched the documentary film of the project, participants received brochures, pens, badges and caps.
The meeting continued with a field visit in Țiclu and Aștileu Cave. The participants had the opportunity to see more results of the project: at the entrance we placed a informative sign with the description of the bat species present in this cave, specifying the time intervals when the cave can be accessed without disturbing the bats, the most important rules of behavior in the cave. This cave was closed (within the project activities) because it hosts significant colonies of bats during the birth and young razing period. The journalists had the opportunity to enter the cave and see the bat colonies inside. Upon entering the cave, the project manager Szodoray-Paradi Farkas and bat specialists Richard Hoffmann and Csaba Jere answered all the press questions about project activities and results.
The field visit continued to the Astileu Cave. This cave also was closed during the project. This cave is the shelter for a birth colony during the summer.
This meeting is a very important step for informing local and national media about the achievements of the project, the results achieved in bat conservation and to eradicate the myths and superstitions about them.
Friday, 6/14/2013, 43 winners of the interschool competition ”Bats are our friends “- and their teachers – went on a trip that ends the contest. Deployment path of the trip was: Oradea – Sudrigiu – Meziad – Oradea. The children went by coach from Oradea to the administration of Apuseni Natural Park in Sudrigiu, where parks director – Alin Moș – talked about the park, caves and bats that are found in the park to the children. Children participated in intercactive games aimed to verify the knowledge about the bats, their ecology and their protection. The juniors were receptive and interested in the subject matter, knowledge is perfectly combined with fun specific childhood interactive games. Students answer questions correctly and showed that they have assimilated the information that was transmitted.
The next stage of the trip took place in Meziad Cave – one of the most important underground roost for bats in Bihor County. Upon entering the cave, the children were aware of the importance of this cave for bats, rules of behavior in an underground habitat, were discussed and analyzed superstitions about bats – to ensure that there are no questions or concerns regarding bats. Then the students visited the cave on arranged tourist route , along the route were observed many bats, children were delighted to observe bats live in their natural habitat – this being the purpose of the trip.