Sep. 21, 2023

Volunteer conservation camp organized by Persina Nature Park Directorate

The second volunteer conservation camp organized by the Directorate of “Persina” Nature Park under the project "Pelican way of Life" has passed. It was attended by the students from the Erasmus + project at "Dimcho Debelianov" High School in Belene. The camp was held for the period from 27.08. to 30.08.2023 with field work and lectures in the Visitor Center of “Persina” Nature Park, prepared and delivered by the experts in the park.
The volunteers took part in monitoring the species diversity of the wetlands of Persin Island, got acquainted with bird watching methodologies and observed interesting species, such as the Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), the Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus), the Great Crested Greebe (Podiceps cristatus), the Black stork (Ciconia nigra), the Purple heron (Ardea purpurea), the White - tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and many others. Observations included, distinguishing juveniles from adults and tracking animal feeding behavior and the presence of danger.
One of the most important tasks of the camp was to identify and count the birds in the colony of Dalmatian Pelicans (Pelecanus crispus) in the “Pescina” Marsh. The main objective of the camp was to make the participants aware of the potential threats to the pelicans on the island and the measures being taken for the restoration and conservation of the species on the territory of “Persina” NP.
The camp also included a presentation of one of the interesting habitats that the DSP "Persina" is working to maintain and restore, 2340* Pannonic Inland Dunes. The habitat is one of the priorities for conservation and subject of restoration. Work in this direction includes measures to control the spread of invasive plant species, such as bush amorpha (Amorpha fruticosa). Habitat maintenance currently consists of removing the plant and its remnants from the cleared habitat area at specific locations on the island.
On one of the field days, participants were given the opportunity to see how the maintenance of water levels in the island's marshes is also taking place. They were shown how the whole system is managed to ensure sufficient water in the wetland. Water is an extremely important requirement for the habitat of waterfowl species. Maintaining water supplies that are linked to the natural processes of the Danube's full flow are critical for species such as Dalmatian pelicans and a number of other colonially breeding birds on the island. The wetland area on Persin Island is maintained by the “Persina” Nature Park Administration, an extremely important and responsible task, ensuring its life and biodiversity.
Apart from the work and observations in the field, the camp also included an interesting lecture part, focused on the pelicans, the history of their return to Persin Island, presentation of the protected areas by categories according to the Protected Areas Act in Bulgaria, etc.
At the end, the volunteers were introduced to another major initiative that "Persina" NPD is working on to protect the "wild islands" on the Danube called - DANUBEWILDislands. Preserving the natural state of the islands along the river ensures its connectivity as a complete biocorridor. Each wild spot is an oasis for migratory animal species and a refuge in the face of danger and changing climatic conditions. The territory of the “Persina” NP includes the islands of the Milka and Kitka reserves as a benchmark representing an entirely wild nature. All activities in the reserves are prohibited in order to preserve them as natural ecosystems. To learn more about the wild islands and their importance to the river, you can visit the project website www.wildislands.danubeparks.org.
“Persina” NP directorate, also invites you to take part in the survey, which is taking place in all Danube countries, to learn more about the Danube and enrich your knowledge. Join at the following link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GJ929QZ
The volunteer camp is part of the activities that "Persina"NP implements in an international project dedicated to the conservation of Dalmatian Pelicans (Pelecanus crispus), another one is to be organized next year.
Everyone is welcome to join the "Pelican way of Life", LIFE18/NAT/NL/000716.
Text and Photos credits: Persina Nature Park Directorate