LIFE project for the Lesser Kestrel participated at the annual festival of Ecological Agriculture and Crafts that was held in Volos from 2 to 4 October 2015.
Many people approached our stand to ask questiona about the Lesser Kestrels and the project itself, whilst some of them shared their own experiences from living next to this species.
To celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity, LIFE project for the Lesser Kestrel organized a fun event for the students of the 4th and 5th Grade of Elementary school of Stefanovikeio. Students were familiar with the project and had rich knowledge about the species since they had previously participated in educational activities held few weeks ago.
Kids, along with scientists working at the LIFE project, walked in the main streets of Stefanovikeio, mapping all Lesser Kestrel nests they could find, counting Lesser Kestrels flying in the sky and even watched carefully while a pair of Lesser Kestrels entered their own nest. Their first bird watching experience!
Lake Karla used to be one of Greece’s major lakes, the biggest one in central Greece. Its history is closely tied to the history of people living in this area all the way back to antiquity as well as being a unique ecosystem for multitude different species of fauna and flora. Its history stopped abruptly in 1962 when Karla was drained to provide farmland for people living in the surrounding villages. Ultimately, this whole plan proved fruitless since its drainage ended up creating more disadvantages than advantages for all involved.
On a positive note, since 2007, a major project co-funded by the EU has brought Lake Karla back to life. A biotope is being re-created and many different kinds of bird species have begun establishing colonies in it.
Lake Karla lies close to Mount Pelion, an area very famous for its outstanding natural beauty that attracts thousands of visitors every year worldwide. However, the lake itself remains unknown to the vast majority of visitors. Can we change this? Could Lake Karla be given a second chance as an attraction for ecotourists and bird watchers? Could it be a new beginning, offering the local residents an income from sustainable tourist services?
On May 23rd 2015, Nature Conservation Consultants (NCC) Ltd along with Ecotourism Greece held a meeting to present the case for Lake Karla to the region’s tourism professionals. Many speakers offered their views on this subject and long discussions were made between them and the participants.
The conclusion reached was that ecotourism and birdwatching tourism can indeed influence local economy of Thessaly in a positive way by increasing number of visitors and helping small-medium sized enterprises.
In the evening of that same day, participants had the opportunity to enjoy some bird watching at Lake Karla as well as visit the villages and attraction points around the lake.
The meeting tied in with celebrations for European NATURA 2000 Day and is also presented on the LIFE Community site – which can be found here.
Presentation of LIFE Project’s educational material at the 7th Conference of PEEKPE (Greek Association of Teachers for Environmental Education)
During the 7th Conference of PEEKPE (the Greek Association for Teachers for Environmental Education) Ms. Eugenia Panoriou, who is responsible for the environmental education activities of LIFE project for the Lesser Kestrel, presented a paper entitled “Taking advantage of field work and local community dynamics to protect an endangered species. The case of Lesser Kestrels in Thessaly”, by P. Latsoudis and E. Panoriou.
The Conference was held in Volos, from 8th to 10th May 2015.
Aiming at local community participation, the Hellenic Ornithological Society, one of the LIFE project’s for the Lesser Kestrel partners, has created a Volunteering Group for the area of Thessalian plain.
This group plays a vital role for the success of the project offering help to various activities, like:
· Maintenance of nest boxes
· Communication of local communities and owners of buildings where Lesser Kestrels are nesting
· Monitoring of Lesser Kestrel population
· Monitoring of reproduction success of Lesser Kestrels
· Placing of informative signs about the species
· Participation in communication activities that are being implemented as part of this project.
All volunteers are being offered a chance to be trained in bird monitoring techniques through the IBA Caretakers Greek Network of the Hellenic Ornithological Society – a network that has been in place since 2003.
In February the 16th a meeting was held to present the project’s educational material to teachers who are working in the implementation area of the project.
Ms. Eugenia Panoriou and ms.RoulaTriggou presented the students’ activities book and the teacher’s book – both created by the Hellenic Ornithological Society, one this project’s partners. The presentation was followed by questions and discussion.
This event was co-organized with the Centre of Environmental Education of Makrynitsa.