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In the realm of rhododendron

Mai 14, 2024
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During the weekend, the project "Life for the Lesser kestrel" LIFE19 NAT/BG/001017, implemented by Green Balkans with the support of the LIFE Program of the EU, visited the Rhododendron Festival, organized by our friends from Strandzha Nature Park, where we presented to the guests the activities and results of the project.

Our team attended the 20th consecutive edition of the Festival, which was held in Gramatikovo village, Malko Tarnovo municipality. We introdused to the visitors the cause and activities of Green Balkans NGO and the potential opportunities for everyone to support and contribute to the conservation of Bulgaria's nature.

The festival gathers hundreds of Strandja and nature lovers every year. Traditionally, it is held in the first half of May, when the rhododendron blooms. In addition to the nature park, the two municipalities of Strandja - Tsarevo and Malko Tarnovo, Southeastern State Forest Company, Sliven and the Forestry Executive Agency were actively involved in the organization of the festival.

At the official opening of the 20th edition of the Rhododendron Festival, the anthem of the Bulgarian forest and the anthem of Strandzha were performed by folk groups. The guests were able to try the traditional foods and drinks that were part of the Contest for a delicious, spring, Strandzha meal, and later in the program there was also the awarding of the winners of the culinary competition - the tastiest Strandzha zelnik and the best Strandzha rakia.

This year also, the participants had the opportunity to go along specially selected routes to see the unique purple colors of the Strandzha rhododendron.

As part of the initiative, we talked about the Lesser kestrel, about the work for reintroduction of this unique and useful species, and we presented to the guests of the event the "Living Exhibition", which once again featured the Lesser kestrel.

The "Living Exhibition" is dedicated to the European Green Belt International Initiative, it represents life-size models of protected bird species. The exhibition presents both target species of the BESTbelt project implemented by Green Balkans. The project is aimed at the conservation and study of iconic bird species found in the Green Belt, which covers the border areas falling within the scope of the former Iron Curtain.

Once again, the guests of the festival were able to enjoy a rich folklore program, buy delicious local produce and culinary delights, or join one of the routes around the village and take a closer look at the Strandja rhododendron. At the end of the festival, guests enjoyed the lighting of the festival bonfire, dinner under the stars and dances.