Let's all be Bat-men!

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The project funds were used to secure the implementation of educational and information activities aimed at promoting bats, their conservation significance, and the need for their preservation. Therefore, we delivered a series of presentations and prepared information materials that were broadly disseminated and used during the celebration of the International Bat Night in 2015. We also organized a bat art competition, which became an integral part of the Bat Night celebration campaign, and, thanks to this project, honorary diplomas for the participants were developed.
 
PRESENTATION TO KIDS AND SCHOOLCHILDREN
Within this project we implemented 10 presentations in a total of 5 settlements (see the Gallery below). 
 
PUBLICATIONS
The project provided support for the production of a series of publications aimed at promoting bats throughout the country.
 
Posters, brochures and a book
This project also made possible the reprint of 500 posters on bat conservation. The posters were designed for kids and widely distributed among tens of schools, kindergartens, children, and citizens involved in the Bat Night. A total of 1000 brochures (envisaged in the project proposal) were published as well. The brochures were illustrated by Yana Kazakova. The texts contained in the brochure present in a popular and easy-to-understand way the most important facts about bats. Thus, this information was made accessible and understandable both to kids and adults. Through this brochure, the bat-related facts reached a wide range of people and were of great significance for the effect of the International Bat Night campaign in 2015.
 
   
 
1750 bat themed children’s book was published as a part of the project. The development of the bat themed children’s book represented an important part of this project. The experience gained so far as well as the public poll on bats carried out in 2013 reveal Bulgarian kids’ negative attitude toward bats, being afraid, disgusted or terrified of bats. The reasons for this are their parents’ perceptions and the lack of properly fostered attitude toward bats and other animals. Therefore, it was extremely important to develop a children’s book presenting bats as positive characters. At the same time, the book reveals some of the most important facts about bats in an easy-to-understand manner.
The children’s books are also useful to the parents, enhancing their knowledge and awareness through the texts intended for grown-ups. Thus, through the mediation of kids, lots of adults also learn new and interesting facts about bats and change their attitude toward these mammals.
Elena Kmetova developed 20 author’s illustrations for the children’s book. These illustrations present bats in an interesting and funny manner, thus contributing to the major messages of the book. The original illustrations made as part of the project can be used for the purposes of educational activities of EUROBATS.
The illustrations were also used for the construction of a kids’ section of the bat website – available here  and also for structuring of special kids presentation. They will also be used in the future in different information campaigns about bat conservation. Thanks to the support provided by Green Balkans’ volunteers, the book was translated into English and is now disseminated electronically. Click on the icons below to see some illustrations. The drawings will also be used in the forthcoming years during the celebration of various events, implementation of public campaigns, as well as on the Internet, in order to promote bats.
 
 
Rolling exhibition, educational and awareness raising information boards about bats
 
The project envisaged the production of 10 information boards on bats that would be used as a rolling exhibition to be arranged at public events related to bat conservation. Therefore, we produced two series of five information boards each, presenting the topics “bats in forests”, “bats in caves”, “bats in settlements”, as well as general information on bats.
These boards were used as roller banners during the International Bat Night 2015, supporting the celebration of the event in different towns and cities.
The information boards were based on the author’s drawings developed for the children’s book. The funds envisaged in the project were enough for the production of 200 poster-like information boards equipped with moldings. These information boards present bats in a more accessible and easy-to-understand manner, enabling the children to get a better idea and providing them with useful and interesting information. The captions to the drawings present some curious facts about bats. These 30 information boards were disseminated among tens of schools and kindergartens throughout the country, as their presentation was an integral part of the events related to the celebration of the International Bat Night.
   
 
T-shirts and eco-bags
This project included the production of 200 T-shirts. A special competition was organized to select the image that would be put on the T-shirts. The selected image was put both on T-shirts and eco-bags, as the competitive nature of the initiative made it possible to select a professional and, at the same time, colorful and funny image. T-shirts were given to all volunteers, participants in the International Bat Night 2015, bat lovers, kids and schoolchildren involved in the events. A total of 254 eco-bags were produced, bearing the author’s images from the t-shirt and eco-bag competition. The eco-bags were used as awards in the bat art competition, quizzes, and games related to the Bat Night. Eco-bags were also given to many bat lovers, volunteers, and citizens, who had contributed to the conservation of bats.
 
   
 
Honorary diplomas
The honorary diplomas envisaged in the project were used to reward the participants in the celebration of the International Bat Night 2015. Therefore, already in June, we announced “Bat Art” competition, inviting people of all ages. A total of 114 participants took part in it from 4 to 62 years old! The competition also involved schools or art groups of schools from 30 towns and cities. An international competition for “bat art” was carried out for the first time. Works of art arrived from nearly 30 locations – Sofia, Plovdiv, Yambol, Mezdra, Razgrad, Chepelare, Dobrich, Nikopol, Kostenets, Vratsa, Popovo, Svishtov, Burgas, Panagyurishte, Sliven, Pernik, Targovishte, Lom, Stara Zagora, etc. Besides the drawings, we received also different original works of art – recyclable paper bats, patchwork creations, origami, painted crystal glass, bat doll and realistic paper model of bat and cave! We also received a poem (from Yulia Ivanova) and a short story (from Olya Nedkova). Professional artists also joined the initiative – they will be awarded with special thanks and with our presents. They are: Milena Radeva and Iliya Boyarov from the initiative Animalia; the Italian illustrator Romina Bonavetti; the illustrator Desislava Ganeva, participated with drawings of horse-shoe bat; Petya Zlateva, who provided the images for the T-shirts and bags – awards in this competition. In addition to the drawings, we also received models of bats and caves, painted mugs, patchwork, origami, as well as bats made of recycled materials.
A special Facebook event was organized with regard to this competition, presenting all works.
The participation in this competition was the reason for many of the participants to become interested in bat anatomy and biology. Thus, the competition achieved its goals – promoting bats and raising public awareness.
All the participants were given awards – honorary diplomas, t-shirts, bags, children’s books, brochures, etc. developed within this project, which enhanced their knowledge of bats and strengthened their motivation to participate in other public activities aimed at promoting bat species.
     
 
Celebrating the Bat Night 2015
This project had a significant contribution to the campaign celebrating the International Bat Night in the country. In 2015, the campaign did not receive funding from the Ministry of Environment and Water, so the only resources that could be used were those attracted by Green Balkans and other NGOs. BGN 6,000 were provided by M-tel – one of the Bulgarian Mobile Operators, BGN 1,000 were contributed by Green Balkans, BGN 500 by Lovech Municipality, while materials and consumables were provided by more than 20 organizations and institutions. The majority of publications and information materials used during the Bat Night 2015 were secured by this project and used as awards in quizzes, provided to schools and kindergartens, thus contributing considerably to the successful realization of the campaign.
In September and October over 20 events took place as part of the national campaign. It was realized thanks to the support of Mtel, Eurobats, Green Balkans donation, contribution of Lovech municipality and the voluntary contribution of all the partner organizations.
In this year record number of towns and villages joined the campaign – 17 in total. Among them are: Sofia, Stara Zagora, Plovdiv, Burgas, Pomorie, Knezha, Pleven, Lovech, Blagoevgrad, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo, Shumen, Sliven, Pazardzhik, Vratsa, Belyakovets village, Mezdra.
Almost 20 organizations, state institutions, caving clubs participated in the campaign, they are: Bat research and conservation center (BRCC) at National museum of natural history (NMNH) – Bulgarian academy of science (BAS); Bulgarian biodiversity foundation (BBF); Scout club “Madarski konnik” – Shumen; RIEW – Shumen; Regional museum of history – Rousse; Historical museum – Knezha; Regional museum of history – Stara Zagora; Regional museum of history – Blagoevgrad; Regional museum of history – Pleven; Bulgarian society for the protection of birds BSPB; Directorate of nature park “Vrachanski Balkan”; Directorate of nature park “Sinite kamani”; Caving club “Prista” - Ruse; Caving club “Salamander”- Stara Zagora; Caving club “Dervent” – Veliko Tarnovo; Speleo club “Puldin” – Plovdiv; Caving club “Nepiast”- Burgas; Caving club “Helictit” – Sofia. Presentations, art workshops, caving equipment demonstrations, media interviews, competitions, quizzes, etc., aimed at popularization of bats. 20 schools, hobby clubs and art clubs joined the campaign in one way or another.
More than 50 volunteers put in over 60 man-days voluntary work for the successful realization of the events, which made it possible for the campaign to cover almost the entire country.
                          
 
Media coverage
In 2015 the campaign had (for a first time) a media partner for the first time – DARIK radio, who committed themselves to broadcast radio announcement for the Bat night and to cover the event locally. We would like to especially thank them as well as all the media who through the coverage of the campaign became part of our idea for conservation of the bats!
The Bat Night campaign was greatly promoted. 20 information announcements were prepared and sent to different medias as part of the project activities, every announcement was
sent to 200 representatives of regional and national medias. Information about the upcoming and past events have already been uploaded by the project coordinator on the Green Balkans` web site about bats http://greenbalkans.org/prilepi.
The Bat night event was covered by the national television, BBC Knowledge magazine, a lot of national and many regional medias. Database was created about the media coverage and was applied to the current report. In general, the Bat night was one of the most successful environmental campaigns in Bulgaria for 2015 for which the contribution of the current project is significant.
 
 
For contacts and additional information:
Elena Stoeva – Project coordinator,
e-mail: etilova@greenbalkans.org, Mobile phone: +359 887574699
 
In addition to the Coordinator, the following experts were also involved in the implementation of the project activities as voluntary assistants:
- Antoniya Hubancheva – Bat Research & Conservation Centre – NMNH/BAS - Anelia Pavlova – Green Balkans;
- Stanimkira Deleva – Green Balkans;
- Apostol Karadelev – Green Balkans;
- Slaveya Stoycheva – Green Balkans.