“Golden Horseshoe” & Quality Sign “Land of the Horseshoe Bat”

PTPP „pro Natura” set up honourable recognition for persons and institutions for their activities supporting horseshoe bats.
Individual persons receive the distinction and medal of the Golden Horseshoe (PL: Złoty Podkowiec).
Institution, in turn, may receive Znak Jakości “Kraina Podkowca” (i.e. Quality Sign “Land of the Horseshoe Bat”), which they can use to mark their headquarters and products.
Medal “Golden Horseshoe”
Znak Jakości "Kraina Podkowca"
Quality Sign “Land of the Horseshoe Bat”
The awards are appointed by the Award Committee for activities significantly contributing to the protection or awareness of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat, or other bats in the Land of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat.
Candidates for the Medal or the Mark may be proposed by any person or institution, sending in writing to the Award Committee (to the address of PTPP “pro Natura”) a justification of the choice, together with information on achievements within the scope of the Terms and conditions. In the application, it is necessary to provide the name of the proposed and the proposer, along with the contact details, including telephone or e-mail.

Terms and conditions of the Sign (in Polish)

Złoty Podkowiec

Małgorzata Mordarska-Duda

The Golden Horseshoe medal was awarded to the Laureate in recognition of her significant contribution to bat conservation in the Małopolska region over many years.

The Award Committee noted with particular appreciation that in 1996, against many adversities, the Laureate, then acting as the Provincial Conservator of Nature in Nowy Sącz Province, supported the rescue of the only known at that time in Poland, a breeding colony of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat in Jaworki, thus contributing to its rescue. Importantly, this action became the inspiration and cornerstone of the establishment of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat Protection Programme in Poland.

The jury also appreciated the laureate’s personal involvement in taking care of the project “Protection of endangered species and protected habitats within the Natura 2000 network in Małopolska”. The exemplary implementation of this task, carried out by a team of employees of the Regional Directorate for Environment in Krakow, has resulted in impressive natural and social effects.

Mariola Klimska
Mariola Klimska

The Award Committee of the Horseshoe Bat Land awarded this distinction in 2021 in recognition of the Laureate’s achievements in bat conservation activities in the Małopolska region.

The personal commitment of the Laureate to the coordination of the project Protection of endangered species and protected habitats within the Natura 2000 network in Małopolska, which required dedication and coping with many unexpected difficulties, gained particular recognition and respect from the Committee. Thanks to this, the implementation of this task, undertaken by the Regional Directorate for Environment in Kraków, brought about impressive natural and social effects, while the project itself became a model example of activities within the Lesser Horseshoe Bat Protection Programme in Poland.

Peter Lina

Peter H.C. Lina is one of Europe’s and the world’s best-known researchers and activists in bat conservation. He currently works at the Naturalis Centre in Leiden. He is also the driving force behind the European Bat Research Symposia (EBRS), the originator and co-founder of BatLife and a key member of many panels, including EUROBATS.

The Polish chiropterological movement owes a lot to Peter Lina, his personal support and advocacy in the European arena. Also, scientific research and conservation of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat are among the areas whose development would certainly have been much more difficult without Peter’s help.

Henry Schofield
Henry Schofield

Henry Schofield is apparently the most recognised expert in horseshoe research and conservation. His PhD thesis belongs to the main sources of knowledge on the ecology and ethology of the lesser horseshoe bat.

Working as the Conservation and Science Manager in the Vincent Wildlife Trust, Henry run horseshoe conservation projects pioneering world-wide. Thanks to these actions, the VWT worked out standards, that have been adopted also by the Pro Natura, including in the LIFE Podkowiec+ project.

Vincent Wildlife Trust website.

Bożena Kotońska
Bożena Kotońska

Bożena Kotońska, PhD, biologist by education, works as a Regional Nature Conservator in Kraków.

Her engagement into nature conservation is both personal and professional. She initiated new programmes of the Regional Directorate for Environment and supported external initiatives, like those of the conservation NGOs.

Support of the Laureate to the Programme for Conservation of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat significantly helped in achievement of its goals.

Andrzej Węgiel, PhD, and Jolanta Węgiel, MSc, Eng, by education and vocation are forestry scientists, both working at the Nature Science University in Poznań. But at the same time they both are bat researchers, travellers, activists and educators.

They are authors of many publications, scientific and popular, and engage into nature conservation, especially protection of bats.

Their activity was crucial in recovery of the lesser horseshoe bat population in Poland, and in planning of conservation activities, including Programme for the Conservation of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat. Both of them have substantial achievements in popularisation of knowledge about bats, and in shaping friendly attitude towards these animals.

Rev. Jan Pipka is a parish in the Greek-catholic chuirch in Krynica Zdrój. The roof of the church is inhabited by the colonies of the lesser horseshoe and greater mouse-eared bats, that are amongst the most important in the region.

Earlier, serving as a parish in St Dymitri church in Śnietnica, also helped to sustain the lesser horseshoe bat roost.

Rev. Pipka actively promotes conservation of the bats, that we call his parishioners, also in media, reaching out not only the local parish but also general community.

Church in Górki Wielkie
Church in Górki Wielkie

Rev. Krzysztof Pacyga, parish priest of All Saints Church in Górki Wielkie, took care of the colonies of Lesser Horseshoe and Greater Mouse-eared bats that live in the church attic. Both colonies are nationally important and amongst the largest in the region.

Jan and Urszula Gawłowski
Jan and Urszula Gawłowski

Jan and Urszula Gawłowski and their family have tiny sub-occupants in the form of bats under the roof of the mill they inhabit. The Lesser Horseshoe Bat colony they look after is one of the most important in the country.

Jan Wróblewski
Jan Wróblewski

an Wróblewski years long contribution to protect one of the most important Lesser horseshoe bat sites in Poland, near Głuchołazy. The roost located in the “Marmur” marble processing factory hosts the largest maternity and second largest winter colony in the country. Almost 10% of Polish population lives here, making it important even in Europe-wide scale. It exists thanks to the determination, care and sensitivity of the Laureate.

Kazimierz Staszków

Kazimierz Staszków is engaged in the protection of Polish nature for years, with special focus on bats in the Nysa County and Opole Vivodeship. His particular contribution was into spreading knowledge of bats and their protection through the art of photography, and organisation of exhibitions. Mr Staszków initiated and headed the “Marmurowa Dolina” Association, setting among its main goals protection of bats in the surroundings of Głuchołazy.

Wojciech Sanek
Wojciech Sanek

Wojciech Sanek coordinated activities of the Ciężkowice Museum, and on top of that was very active running lectures and field events. He initiated regular celebration of the Bat Night in the region, and hanging out the bat boxes.

Tomasz Kokurewicz

Tomasz Kokurewicz is active in bat research, protection and education, for decades. In particular, his scientific elaborations, and personal engagement to protect the few Lesser horseshoe bat roosts known in the early 1990s, laid the foundation and inspired to start the PTPP “pro Natura” Lesser horseshoe bat conservation Programme, still in operation.

M. & R. Rybczyński

The Rybczyński Family got engaged into protection of Lesser horseshoe bat colony, rarity for the Lower Silesia. They not only let the bats live under the roof of the lime kiln they adopted and restored but also made the bats feel as good
as possible. It resulted in appearance of new maternity colony of another species – the greater mouse-eared bat.
The Family is very active as artists in creative promotion and education on bat conservation. Thanks to their activities, the “Benevolent Stone” Lime-kiln became important place on the Horseshoe Trail and the chiropterological map of Poland.

Rev. Zenon Tomasiak
Rev. Zenon Tomasiak

Ksiądz doktor Zenon Krzysztof Tomasiak dzięki konsekwentnym staraniom o ochronę kolonii rozrodczych i zimowisk oraz promowanie pozytywnego wizerunku nietoperzy zyskał przydomek „proboszcza od nietoperzy”. Jego starania o utrzymanie odpowiednich siedlisk wykraczały poza obręb kościoła parafialnego. Starał się zachować drzewa na trasach przelotów podkowców, udzielał też pomocy chiropterologom podczas ich badań, a sam będąc amatorem speleologii, wspierał ochronę jaskini Diabla Dziura, w której zimują podkowce i nietoperze z innych gatunków.

Kraina Podkowca

Zuzanna Długosz
Zuzanna Długosz

The Horseshoe Land Quality Label was awarded to the tourist initiative, formally operating as Zuzanna Długosz Usługomat, but commonly known as Baba z Gór (Woman from the Mountains).

The jury highly appreciated the laureate’s creative involvement and ingenuity in using the idea of the Horseshoe Land in her guiding, tourist and educational activities. The Jury considered the activities of Baba z Gór to be a model example of the kind of activity that the Horseshoe Land logo is meant to serve, benefiting both the region’s nature and the people living here.

The Award Committee particularly appreciated the field lessons in nature conducted by the Laureate, combined with bat observations, which have become a permanent part of her educational and guiding offer.

The Baba z Gór tourist initiative was awarded the right to use the Horseshoe Bat Lands logo as a testimony to its commitment to nature conservation.

Website: www.babazgor.pl

Piotr Firlej
Piotr Firlej

Distinction awarded by the Award Committee of the Horseshoe Land in 2021 in recognition of the Laureate’s commitment to spreading the idea of bat conservation and the idea of the Horseshoe Land in the framework of his tourism and educational activities.

The chapter particularly appreciated the laureate’s enormous contribution to the development of the concept of the Horseshoe Bat Land and its creative promotion among the multitude of tourist guides as well as among other branches related to the popularisation of the landscape, historical and cultural values of southern Poland.

Piotr Firlej’s tourism company was granted the right to use the Land of the Horseshoe Bat as a certificate of commitment to nature conservation.

Centre profile on FaceBook

logo of the Regional Directorate for Environment in Rzeszów
logo of the Regional Directorate for Environment in Rzeszów

The Regional Directorate for Environment in Rzeszów was awarded the 2018 Horseshoe Bat Land Quality Label.

The Award Committee took into account, among other things, the Directorate’s undertaking of the continuation of Horseshoe Bat conservation in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship, its commitment to the protection of bat sites and its support for social activities undertaken in the region.

Directorate’s website

logo of the Regional Directorate for Environment in Opole
logo of the Regional Directorate for Environment in Opole

Regional Directorate for Environment in Opole

The Regional Directorate for Environment in Opole has contributed to saving Poland’s largest Lesser Horseshoe Bat colony in Sławniowice.

The Land of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat Quality Label testifies to RDOŚ’s strong commitment to nature conservation in the voivodeship and its support for social initiatives in this area.

Website of the Directorate (in Polish)

Logo of the Foundation Benevolens
Logo of the Foundation Benevolens

The Benevolens Foundation takes care of the Lesser Horseshoe Bat colony located in Głuchołazy. The site is one of the few in the Polish Sudetes and is important for the population of this species in Poland.

The Foundation also conducts interesting educational activities about bats, for instance in the park adjacent to the horseshoe bat site.

Foundation’s website

Complex of Schools in Jerzmanowice
Complex of Schools in Jerzmanowice

The School Complex in Jerzmanowice, in Jura Krakowsko-Częstochowska, has been organising bat-related events for many years. Conducted in a creative and attractive manner, the education provided by the teachers and pupils of the School Complex is aimed at the local community and visitors. Many local partners are involved in organising the events, which makes the offer even more attractive.

Website of the School (in Polish)

Castle in Nowy Wiśnicz
Castle in Nowy Wiśnicz

The Museum of the Wiśnicz Land manages the castle in Nowy Wiśnicz, a valuable site for bats, primarily the Lesser Horseshoe Bat. The castle provides both a maternity roost and a wintering ground for these bats.

The museum has not only adapted its educational and tourist offer to the bats’ needs, but has also introduced innovative educational methods specifically related to bats.

With the involvement of the Polish Society of Wildlife Friends ‘pro Natura’, model adaptations have been implemented in the castle, serving both to improve living conditions for the Lesser Horseshoe Bat and to enrich the museum’s offer with elements of unique nature education.

Museum website

Brenna coat of arms
Brenna coat of arms

The contributions of the Municipality of Brenna to bats include active protection of Lesser Horseshoe and Greater Mouse-eared bat the habitats and the creation of the observatory, allowing watching of the bats in a way that is safe for animals.

The Brenna local government has also introduced legal protection in the form of a documentation site (SSSI) for an important bat hibernation roost.

Portal of Brenna (in Polish)

Logo of the Zofia Kossak Foundation
Logo of the Zofia Kossak Foundation

Zofia Kossak Foundation looks after bat sites in its own and nearby facilities, actively protecting these mammals in a nearby park, summer colony and wintering grounds.

It organises interesting bat-inspired events, with art workshops being particularly stimulating.

Contact form of the Foundation

Logo of the Diocese in Tarnów
Logo of the Diocese in Tarnów

Most of the Polish lesser horseshoes live at the church attics of the Tarnów Diocese. These buildings are often important element of the cultural and natural heritage.
Thanks to the responsible management of the Diocese, invaluable bat roosts have been secured.

Longstanding cooperation of the curia and particular parishes with the Polish Society of Wildlife Friends “pro Natura” in the implementation of the projects resulted from the Programme for Conservation of the Lesser horseshoe bat in Poland proved possible the synergy in achieving goals focused on nature, social and heritage issues.

Diocese website (in Polish)

logo of the Regional Directorate for Environment in Kraków
logo of the Regional Directorate for Environment in Kraków

The Regional Directorate for Environment in Kraków deals with nature protection ex officio. However, the way the Directorate fulfils its statutory duties stands out in the country and creates exemplary standards.

The Directorate supports social initiatives and undertakes its own initiatives aimed at improving the condition of natural habitats. The laureate’s active involvement in the Lesser Horseshoe Bat Protection Programme by developing its own project to protect and revitalise Lesser Horseshoe Bat roosts in Małopolskie Voivodeship, which have not been protected so far, deserves special recognition.

RDOŚ website (in Polish)

Logo Pienińskiego Parku Narodowego
Logo Pienińskiego Parku Narodowego

Pieniny Mts was the last refuge of the lesser horseshoe bats in Poland, where these bats survived.

In the Pieniny National Park, with kind support of its staff, first Polish research and conservation activities of this species took place, and became the base to create the Lesser Horseshoe Bat Conservation Programme.

The Park safeguarded the horseshoe bat hibernacula and implemented in cooperation with the PTPP “pro Natura”, an experiment to conform the new building of park headquarters to the needs of the bats. As a result, a new horseshoe bat roost have been created.

Pieniny National Park website.

Logo of the Ojców National Park
Logo of the Ojców National Park

Ojców National Park is special among Poland’s national parks. Bats are amongst the most important wildlife features in its territory, which is reflected even in the Park’s logo. The Park’s activities contribute to the protection of winter and summer roosts, including the Lesser Horseshoe Bat colony at the Park’s headquarters.

The Park conducts very intensive and interesting educational activities, alongside interesting exhibitions, including field classes with specialists.

Park website (in Polish)

Cistercian Abbey in Szczyrzyc
Cistercian Abbey in Szczyrzyc

For many years, endangered in Europe lesser horseshoe, Geoffroy’s and greater mouse-eared bats find excellent conditions at the loft space of the church and monastery in Szczyrzyc.

Thanks to the responsible management of the Abbey, this one of the most important bat roosts in Poland remains in excellent condition, and bats living in it, thrive.

The Laureate receives regular monitoring visits of the PTPP “pro Natura” bat researchers with commendable kindness and is open for the proposed improvements in bat habitats inside the roost.

The Abbey’s website

The Baligród Forest District buildings in Bukowiec house one of the few Lesser Horseshoe Bat colonies in the region. The roost has been saved and improved thanks to the Forest District’s commitment, in cooperation with PTPP “pro Natura”.

Baligród Forest District website (in Polish)

The Old Lime-kiln in Stara Morawa
Stary Wapiennik (The Old Lime-kiln) in Stara Morawa

The Musem Wapiennik Association, initiated by the Rybczyński family, organises meetings with writers, concerts, artistic events, workshops for youth etc. The organisation takes care for nature and promotion of environmentally friendly behaviour.
Important part of their activities is caring for the bats inhabiting the lime-kiln, mainly Lesser horseshoe and Greater mouse-eared bats.

Thanks to the LIFE Podkowiec+ project assistance, the Association was able to renovate the lime-kiln roof. The Association ran a project, supported by the National Fund for Environment and Water Management, to install infra-red cameras and screens, thus helping to monitor the bat colonies. Several dozen bat boxes were also installed in the surroundings of the building.

These adaptations made it possible to visitors to have a very close contact with the bats, and learn more about their life. The association runs workshops where young people may produce their own bat shaped paper or create batty prints, they can take back as the souvenirs from their visit to Wapiennik. The Association publishes information about bats on its web sites
www.wapiennik.eu and www.chiropterium.com as well as a Facebook page, organises bat events and meetings with bat researchers.

Museum of Nature in Ciężkowice
Museum of Nature in Ciężkowice

The Muzeum Przyrodnicze im. Krystyny i Włodzimierza Tomków from Ciężkowice.
[The Krystyna and Włodzimierz Tomek Natural Science Museum in Ciężkowice].

For many years, The Museum organised exhibitions and educational events about bats, stipulated local bat conservation activities, including help in raising fund for the renovation of the church in Bukowiec, important Lesser horseshoe bat roost.

Museum website.