The LIFE project implementation could not achieve its objectives without an important public awareness component, designed to build the public support for the project actions, to communicate the Natura 2000, to aware the local people, visitors, and other categories of targeted audience, by the importance of the nature conservation generally and listed species and habitats especially. The main activities carried on in this component are the following:
Elaboration of promotional materials (leaflets, small book)
The park mascot was produced (in 2004) in a number of 500 pieces and is represented by chamois. Even it is not a listed species, the importance and the impact for the people is very high.
In September 2005 it was issued a set of promotional materials not fully related with the project, but containing important aspects related with NATURA 2000 and listed habitats and species.
The general leaflet of the park (4000 copies-English and Romanian) contains information about Natura 2000 importance and advantages for the local people, and LIFE project and was issued in June 2007.
The educational manual (second edition) was issued and it has a number of 9 out of 49 pages dedicated to the Natura 2000, LIFE project and explanatory notes and pictures for the most important listed habitats and species. The manual is printed 1.500 copies, being taught in a number of 22 schools from the localities nearby the park and not only. The manual is an important awareness tool, targeting the children from the localities affected by the presence of the park an project implementation.
There were also produced several types of promotional materials with LIFE logo posted on them (stickers, paper cases, pennons, park tourist map-2000 copies, posters-1000 copies).
The booklet (67 pages-foreseen 60) was produced June 2007 in 4000 copies only in Romanian and English as we considered that there is more important to issue this material to the Romanian recipients because the Natura 2000 network and its signification are widely known in the member states. The booklet contains general information about the National Park and Natura 2000 network, the detailed description of 15 listed habitats in Annex I of the Habitats Directive, 33 species included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive and 20 species included in the Birds Directive. For each of these habitats and species there are presented information regarding their distribution, correspondence with other classifications (habitats), surface or distribution area, structure and flora composition, threats, management measures and monitoring as well as maps and suggestive pictures.
The general leaflet was produced also in June 2007 in 8000 copies, only in Romanian and English from the same reasons as mentioned at the booklet. The leaflet contains general information regarding the project objectives and results, Natura 2000 importance and significance, advantages for the local population.
The booklet and the leaflet will be distributed in the Visitor Centre, a large number of tourists (50.000 annually) entering in the park on the road the centre is located nearby. These promotional materials will be also distributed whenever necessary at meetings, contest, camps, presentations, conferences etc.
All of these materials are contributing to the promotion of the Natura 2000 and LIFE project at several categories of targeted audience, being an important tool for changing the attitude related with the park protection in general and project objectives in particular.
Exhibition and materials for the Zarnesti visitor centre
Because of the depreciation of the US dollars comparing with the euro currency, we were forced to renounce at the construction of the small visitor centre in Rucar within the GEF funded project. Only the Zarnesti Visitor Centre will be realised. At this moment more than half of the construction works have been realised (see photos in Annex), but there still some furniture work to do in the reception area where the promotional materials of the project will be distributed as well as the project results will be presented. The furniture is already bought and will be in place in the middle of October at latest. For the classroom we have the financial support of the National Forest Administration (see the official translated letter in Annex), for December 2007 these facilities being fully operable.
There will be around of 600 m2 of exhibition spaces from which around 300 will be dedicated to the presentation of the envisaged listed species and habitats and to the project action. This will be an important mean of communicating the Natura 2000 importance, the conservation measures and importance of the listed habitats and species, which will finally create public support for the future conservation efforts.
There will be also organized a classroom (40 places), where classes related with the sections from the ecological manual dedicated to the Life project and Natura 2000 could take place. This will be very effective especially from groups of pupils coming from other areas and entering the visitor centre.
Two touch screen computers were purchased December 2005 in order to be installed in the visitor centre, which will give the opportunity of an interactive visitors’ information.
A video projector was acquired in December 2004 and the second with slide projectors also, will be purchased in September 2006. Both of them will be installed in the visitor centre (one in the visited area, and will project aspects regarding Natura 2000, project implementation, listed species and habitats and the second in the conference room).
The microscopes were purchased in April 2006 and were installed in the laboratory for pupils and researchers use.
The action was foreseen in May 2005 but it was delayed because of the issues related with the construction of the visitor centre. Meanwhile all the issued promotional materials which were foreseen to be distributed in the Visitor Centre have been distributed at the old office of the Park Administration, at cabins and pension. The Educational Manual was taught in the schools nearby the park.
Public awareness on the effects of water pollution
A number of 2000 leaflets regarding the water ecosystems importance and water pollution effects were produced. The leaflets were distributed to the local people and tourists by the park rangers. They are also available in the Zarnesti Visitor Centre. The leaflet presents general aspects about the water system over the park area and surroundings, their habitats and the species protected at the European level. There are presented also aspect regarding the pollution effects over the aquatic habitats and species and the main pollution sources in the Piatra Craiului NP area.
A public awareness campaign trough promotional and educational materials about the protected birds from the sites
A leaflet regarding the protection of the bird species in the five Natura 2000 sites in the park area, addressed to the local communities and tourists was issued (2,500 copies). The leaflet contains information about Natura 2000 network, and how it interacts with the local communities and benefits resulting; why are important the bird species from the biodiversity point of view and for the local people; how the people could protect the bird species; a short presentation of some listed bird species (Dryocopus martius, Dendrocopos leucotos, Picoides tridactylus, Athene noctua, Bubo bubo), which interacts with the local people. The leaflet was distributed by the rangers to the tourist and local people. At the public meetings organised by the park administration with the local people there were also presented and discussed aspects regarding the protection of the birds.
A small field guide (500 copies) regarding the birds of Piatra Craiului, was issued. The guide contains general data regarding Natura 2000; data regarding the project and the Natura 2000 site in Piatra Craiului National Park; general information regarding the birds and birds protection; paintings of the 115 bird species for the park, with a short description, focused on the listed species; presentation of five educational trails for bird species observation, etc. This field book is a very good way of promoting the importance of the Natura 2000 site and protected bird species within, as it will be distributed in the visitor centre and to the tourists who will visit the birds watching towers and the educational trails. The ornithological tourism is developing in Romania, and there and there is an increased demand for observing the birds. The use of the watching towers in conjunction with these promotional materials will lead to a better understanding of the Piatra Craiului Natura 2000 site bird species protection and the raising of awareness related with the conservation of bird habitats and species.
Public awareness. Leaflets and meetings with the local people
A number of 2.500 copies of leaflets regarding the protection of hayfields were produced in August 2005 and paid in September 2005. They contain information about the protected species (Trolius europaeus, Gladiolus imbricatus, Orchis morio, O. sambucina, Gymnadenia conopsea, O. ustulata etc.) and the main threats on the hayfields. There also recommendations for the ecological exploitation of the hayfields and the importance of the traditional mowing style and periods. A short description of the Natura 2000 network importance and benefits for the local population are also included.
The leaflet was distributed to the local people during the mowing season by the park rangers, when additional information was also delivered. On the Barsa Valley there are around 200 of hayfield owners, the majority being contacted.
There were organised 5 meetings with the local people for distributing leaflets and discussing aspects about the project and hayfields protection. The difficulty of organising more meetings appeared because the local people are not very happy to participate when a meeting is organised by the Park Administration especially because these hayfield could be sold for realising constructions but due to the Park restriction they are not allowed. We tried to associate these meeting with other kind of meetings like the allocation of the pasturelands for the villagers livestock. A number of 250 people attended these meetings.
Meetings with local people and introduction of the educational information in promotional materials
A number of 2500 leaflets regarding the protection of the riparian galleries were produced and distributed to the local people trough 9 organised meetings and by the local administration of the Dambovicioara and Zarnesti representatives. The leaflet contains general data about the Life project, the importance of the Natura 2000 and specific aspects regarding the protection of the riparian galleries.
The illegal actions related with the logging of trees and bushes of Myricaria germanica are regulated by the park regulations.
Putting in place of informational panels and leaflets for Ligularia sibirica
Two panels describing the importance of the Ligularia sibirica species were installed. They contain also general information about the Life project, Natura 2000 and the reasons of closing with fence of the leased area. The tourist and local people have in this way the opportunity to get informed by the importance of this species and the measures undertaken by the park administration for its protection.
The leaflet was issued in April 2006 in 2.000 copies (foreseen May 2005) containing information about the Ligularia sibirica and the importance of its conservation along with the threats and management measures on this species. The leaflet was distributed to the tourist frequenting the area and villagers from Dambovicioara.
Nearby this area there is an important road which leads to a visited cabin (Brusturet), so a large number of visitors became aware by the importance of preserving Ligularia sibirica.
During the project implementation a large set of high-resolution pictures was produce using professional photo camera (Mamiya). They will be posted in the visitor centre and were intensively used for the design of all the promotional materials realised in the project.
The film regarding the presentation of the project was realised in February 2007 (foreseen May 2005). The reason for delay of this action was the fact that collecting enough footage for producing the film is a very time consuming operation and the initial period for realising had been extended as asked by the subcontractors.
The film is focused on the presentation of the Natura 2000 network, its importance and benefits for the local population. There will be also presented the listed habitats and species from the park area. The camcorder used was professional Betacam, and the film has around 40 minutes (delivered on high quality VHS cassettes and DVD).
Press conferences and mass-media articles
At the beginning of May 2004 a press conference was held at Pitesti (Arges county) with the local mass media. There were presented aspects regarding the activity of the Piatra Craiului National Park Administration in the last three years with more focus on the NATURA 2000 Sites in The Piatra Craiului National Park project.
From 21st to 27th of May 2004 was organized a camp called “The NATURA 2000 Enthomological camp”. This camp was part of a public awareness campaign regarding the NATURA 2000 sites combined with the entomological studies in two sites: Prapastiile Zarnestiului Gorges and Creasta Pietrei Craiului - Valea Bârsei. At the camp participated 24 researchers and local mass media. In the first day a presentation of the project, what NATURA 2000 means and a brief presentation of the five proposed sites, was done. At the end of the activity, each researcher, which participated at the camp, received a diploma. A field trip with the representatives of the mass media was organised in the park area.
In November 2004 the park manager gave one interview to the Radio Romania International and presents the project to the listeners.
Two televisions (Mix TV and Pro TV) attended the contest organized on 19th of March 2005.
On 22nd of April 2005 for the Earth Day, Brasov County Council together with the Piatra Craiului National Park, organized a symposium, where aspects regarding the LIFE project had been presented. Local newspapers and TV journalist attended the event.
The article related with the park and the project was also issued in Brasov newspapers (Transilvania Express and Inside Brasov).
The last conference press was foreseen for June 2006 and was held at Bucharest on 24th of May 2006 at the headquarter of NFA when a presentation of the already project achievements and the launch of the birds field guide and two volumes from the “Research in the Piatra Craiului National Park” (a collection of scientific articles- some of them related with the listed habitats and species) took place.
The following representatives of the central mass media attended the event: televisions (second channel of the Romanian National Television –TVR2, OTV, Realitatea TV), radio stations (Radio Romania Actualitati, Radio Bucuresti, Radio Romania International), newspapers (Adevarul, Cronica Romana, Curierul National, Cotidianul, Economistul, Gandul, Romania Libera, Mesagerul economic, Ziua, Rompress). Environmental NGO’s and other relevant institutions representatives were invited.
On 24th May 2007 together with the event of awarding the European Diploma for Protected Areas to the Piatra Craiului National Park by the Council of Europe, a presentation with the result of the project took place. The event was widely communicated by local and national televisions, local and national newspapers and Radio Romania International. Some of the mass media representative participated to a field trip on the Barsa Valley, result of the project being presented.
Putting in place informational panels for the caves not opened to the public
For all closed caves (15) there have been installed wooden plates, realised with the engraving machine. The information from the plates describes the reason of closing the cave and importance of its habits and the LIFE and park logos.
Sharing the experience for other potential Natura 2000 sites in Romania
Two meetings focused on sharing the experience regarding Natura 2000 sites were conducted at the National Forest Administration Headquarter, in Bucharest (May-June 2004). The target group was composed of the managers from the parks administrated by the National Forest Administration, many of them being potential Natura 2000 sites. The representatives of the Piatra Craiului National Park presented general aspects of the LIFE NATURE Programme, the procedures for writing and submitting proposals, as well as the experience gained until that time by the park staff. As result twelve parks administrations submitted proposals to the Commission in 2004 and Retezat National Park had a successful application.
For the period of writing proposal, the park staff provided help and consultancy to the colleagues from other parks and we received even visit of some.
There is also a good communication with the representatives of the Retezat National Park in providing information related with their project implementation.
Another meeting, addressed to the biologists working in the protected areas and focused on Natura 2000 was held in Piatra Craiului National Park, in Zarnesti (July 2005). One of the main discussed topics was related with the presentation of the results already produced in our project with focus on the listed species population assessment and the designing of the monitoring protocols and management recommendation for the listed species and habitats.
One meeting focused on sharing the experience regarding Natura 2000 sites were conducted at the National Forest Administration Headquarter, in Bucharest on 24th of May 2006. The target group was composed by the staff of the parks administrated by the National Forest Administration, mass media representatives and by the researchers working in many Romanian Universities, Research Institutes and Museums. There were also representatives of the central mass media, as mentioned in the action E5. There were around 50 participants to the meeting.
After the finish of the classroom and conference room in Zarnesti Visitor Centre, the park administration will organise meetings with interested organisation in order to spread the information gained during the project, which will contribute to a better understanding of the Natura 2000 networtk, the listed habitats and species and extension possibilities of this network in other areas in Romania.
Natura 2000 and Life web site
The project site is included in park website (www.pcrai.ro) with a direct link on the main entrance page being updated with all the project achievements. The available languages are: Romanian, English, French and German.