INTERNATIONAL DAY OF BIODIVERSITY 2010
 

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Hungary: Children for the conservation of biodiversity

Announcement

Duna-Ipoly National Park

The Action Day

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Announcement

Original announcement of the event on this website (April 2010)


For the GEO article in Hungarian language, please go to the downloads section.


Duna-Ipoly National Park

North of Budapest, where the Danube bends to the south, the rugged mountains of the Duna-Ipoly National Park melt away to the rolling landscape of the Szénás mountains with their round, barren hills and pine green slopes. The tiny village Nagykovácsi is nestled in one of the valleys. It was here that the Hungarian Action Day started to explore the surroundings (Kutya hills, Fehérút hollow, Cserszynyés valley, Békás lake). The Day was made possible through the help of researchers and experts from the Hungarian Natural Sciences Museum and the Duna-Ipoly National Park. More than 90 school children from the primary school Nagykovácsi took part and also adult visitors were investigating the flora and fauna of their immediate environment. The motto: you can only protect what you know about.


The Action Day

The programme of events began on the afternoon of 21 May. Thanks to the participation of the Ministries for the Environment and Water Conservation the children were able to watch a film on Duna-Ipoly in their school. A quiz on the film followed. After prizes were handed out they set off for Békás Lake.


Here, at six in the evening, employees from the bird collection section of the Hungarian Museum of Natural Sciences (MTM) – director István Fuisz and Zoltán Vas had set up a 7-metre net on the shore and demonstrated how the net curtain worked. Using recordings of birdcalls they tried to attract the European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus). Unfortunately it began to rain shortly before nightfall and it was also unusually cool for the time of year – no birds could be caught in the evening. Bat specialists Dávid Kováts and his colleagues had more luck. They did manage to catch some bats (common noctule - Nyctalus noctula) and the braver visitors were even able to stroke one. As darkness fell slowly the experts from the museum – Ottó Merkl, László Peregovits, János Babits and Zoltán Soltész set up light and ground traps. The next morning the experts collected their traps and opened them in front of the children and classified the animals. Using a microscope the children were able to marvel at the variety of smaller life forms. Following this, all participants walked to the different habitats of the animals – thus began a long day out and one full of discovery.


In the course of the day, the experts at Békás lake caught and ringed three birds: two male greenfinches (Carduelis chloris) and a female blue tit (Parus caeruleus). The visitors also got to learn about the natural life of the lake: marsh turtles, newts, water snakes, water scorpions. In two places the forest environment was also introduced – with the common hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) and the Turkish Oak (Quercus cerris). On the Kutya hill slope the participants were able to admire warm, sub-Mediterranean habitats in a blossom-covered meadow of boulders. With the assistance of researcher Beáta Papp several interesting and protected plants were found alongside roof and wall mosses, crisp moss and schistidium moss; tapping brought out various bugs, grasshoppers, crickets and even crab spiders.


The contents of the traps and all the collected samples are still being recorded, and a list of species will only be completed once some of the lesser-known specimens have been identified following further research. All in all more than 300 species, two thirds of them insects, can be expected to be on the list.


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Hungary_Biodiversity_October_2010.pdf

GEO coverage of Biodiversity Action Day in Hungary (GEO Hungary, October 2010, in Hungarian)

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Photos: Sándor Zsila