Communication, Education & Public Awareness

Hungary Celebrates International Biodiversity Day in the Kiskunság National Park

This year the official celebration of the International Biodiversity Day took place in Bugac in the Kiskunság National Park. This is one of the driest parts of Hungary, which was the reason why we found it a suitable place to be linked to the International Year of Deserts and Desertification.

One month before the International Biodiversity Day we invited students, who are interested in biodiversity conservation and journalism as well to write a short essay about the importance of biological diversity and the role of the (mass) media in environmental awareness-raising. Afterwards, these students have been invited to participate in our programme on 22 May 2006.

The Biodiversity Day started with a press conference, held by the Minister of Environment and Water, where not only the representatives of the media but also the invited students were present.

Afterwards, on the occasion of the International Biodiversity Day the newest nature trail of the National Park was inaugurated. The director of the National Park and the ranger of this area guided a tour on the newly opened nature trail, where 34 information boards demonstrate the local flora (trees and shrubs) and describe the functioning and structure of artificial nest-boxes, which help the settling of birds, mammals and insects.

Professional journalists (from daily/weekly papers and periodicals) were invited to hold interactive workshops for students about the importance of media in biodiversity conservation (e.g. how to write articles and reports on biodiversity, how to raise environmental awareness through media etc.). Each journalist dealt with a small group (5-6 person/group), which let every student be involved in the discussion. Now the task of the students is to write articles about the Biodiversity Day or other biodiversity-related issues using the advice of the professional journalists. Afterwards, the journalists review the articles of the students of their groups and give them further advice how to improve it. Finally, the amended articles will be posted on our clearing house-mechanism with the name and photo of the writer and the best ones will be published in newspapers. Our aim is to make a network among these students as their range of interest is very similar and they are willing to be involved in our awareness-raising activities on biodiversity conservation. We plan to ask some of them next year to participate again in our Biodiversity Day and inform their schoolmates about our event.