On 14 September, the LIFE+ project Horseshoe Towers visited Polanica-Zdrój. Together with the General Directorate of State Forests, we organised a two-day organisational meeting. The host of the meeting was the Zdroje Forestry District, where the first bat huts were built. These huts were also the destination of field visit part of our meeting..
During the indoor session, Ms Agata Lichocka from the General Directorate of State Forests talked about bat protection on State Forest land. The number of projects, their range and the effectiveness of their protection were really impressive! Then the Mayor of Polanica-Zdrój, Mateusz Jellin, talked about the active protection of bats in the city. He talked about our joint initiatives, such as the 1st Lower Silesian Bat Night. Subsequent presentations were made by project coordinator Rafał Szkudlak on the project’s objectives, methods and activities. However, the most important part of the meeting was a detailed presentation of the LIFE+ Podkowiec Towers project. The project activities include international cooperation – hence the presentation by Renata Paszkiewicz, who talked about the tasks our Czech, Slovak and Romanian partners are working on. The whole meeting was held in a pleasant and friendly atmosphere, thanks to the good energy of the participants, but also to the indefatigable Piotr Firlej, who positively animated the participants. He presented his own recipe for awakening people’s passion and willingness to act, in short: for bats. A good example of this are the educator-animators of the Horseshoe Bat Land, whose first group has just completed a training course conducted by the Polish Society of Wildlife Friends ‘pro Natura’ as part of the LIFE+ Podkowiec Towers project.
The second day of the meeting was a very practical part: procedures, tenders, templates, applications, forms. Together, presenters and participants solved the not easy, but very important problems of the LIFE+ Podkowiec Towers project.
The Horseshoe Bat is a shield species, or as some say: umbrella species, i.e. one whose conservation promotes the protection and survival of other species. It is well known that when it rains an umbrella brings people together. While the weather was good to us, our bat umbrella brought us firmly together with local government officials and foresters from all 11 participating Forest Districts during these two-day sessions.