Communication is a significant part of every LIFE project. Sharing and disseminating information about the goals, activities and results of the project are the main tools for gaining support and building a wide public response to the issues it aims to resolve.
Developing community understanding, education and engagement of the different stakeholders in the activities concerning the Saker Falcon species will be the main group of communications activities.
Involvement of the community and key audiences in conservation activities of the Saker Falcon, as well as increasing their knowledge regarding the species and Natura 2000 represent the key to the success of their conservation, especially in the long run.
During the 5 years of the project, we will organize awareness seminars and events dedicated to the Saker Falcon and the conservation activities of the project. Training sessions with hunters and practical training seminars with the employees in the Forestry whose territories the project areas are on will be held aiming to give them knowledge and experience in recognizing the various offences and situations.
A Saker Falcon Festival will be held once a year after the end of every field work season to involve local people and increase awareness of the species and project work.
The use of pesticides and associated risks for wildlife and humans will be a topic of special interest and efforts by the BSPB, Green Balkans and Habitat Foundation. The communication with all stakeholders will aim to involve them for joint activities against illegal use of pesticides within the project areas. A series of 5 workshops for farmers and other stakeholders and 5 for hunters and local communities will be held about the identified measures which have to be undertaken to remove the threat for the Saker Falcon and other raptors.
Following this, a roundtable on the issues will be held with the participation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, State Fund Agriculture, Ministry of Environment and Waters, and Ministry of Internal Affairs to initiate debate on the issue and discuss potential policy measures.
To favor the replication of the project’s results a replicability plan will be developed to decide the most adequate actions for this purpose and the best partners for each of them. This will be followed by the development of the concrete implementation strategy.
The project will seek to present and share the results, lessons learned, and findings with the relevant stakeholders on European and national level, at international symposia and other events, organized by the project team and/or by third parties.
Transfer of experience and networking is another part of the communication plan which has a crucial importance for the success of our activities. Study visits in well-established falcon breeding and rehabilitation centers will help with gathering the knowledge and experience with the state-of-the-art captive breeding techniques, toxicological analyses, methods in autopsy and post-mortem examinations of raptors and other specific ex-situ activities.
Networking with other projects` teams that work on raptor conservation inside and outside Bulgaria will ensure direct transfer of experience and help the Life for Falcon project team to find the best solutions for the issues it tackles. On site visits to other LIFE projects, meetings with their staff and exchange of ideas and experience will support more effective and efficient solutions to problems. Experience will be informally shared on an ad-hoc basis between this Project team members and at least 5 pertinent team members from the other projects both in Bulgaria and abroad.
Media relations and online presence
The project’s success and sustainability depends largely on building understanding, acceptance and support of the stakeholders. Media coverage is one of the most powerful tools to influence the key audiences and to create a positive attitude for constructive change among them.
Good presence in the media – both social and traditional – is a must for reaching the wider audience and gaining public support for the project’s objectives. The main social media channel of the project will be Facebook page Save Raptors (www.facebook.com/saveraptors) as well as the own Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels of the partners.
The three-lingual website www.saveraptors.org will be the main source of information and it will represent the project online. Building and maintaining it will ensure the dissemination of the results and keeping all the relevant information about the project and its activities at hand.
Releasing the information regarding the achieved milestones and results of the project to the national and international media will ensure its coverage and public presence. Special emphasis will be put on the specialized media for hunters, agricultural and farming TV channels and newspapers as one of the main stakeholders of the project.
All of the activities of the project will be supported by the integrated materials prepared during the key points of its implementation. They will provide key messages and key facts to be reinforced with all audiences after an event, meeting, site visit or other activity with any given audience, location or occasion.
Initially physical materials will promote awareness of the Project’s existence and understanding of its objectives, target species, project sites, key issues and expected results. Over time, there will naturally be a shift in emphasis, to explain the Project’s findings, results and achievements, in order to generate long-lasting support from key stakeholder groups for the Saker Falcon and the priority sites locally, nationally and internationally.
For the purpose of Project communications, we will install 10 information signboards at the most suitable locations within the Project SPAs by the end of the 2023. Materials are anticipated to be oriented in three parallel strands – to provide information on the Saker falcon, priority Natura 2000 sites, and the Project as a whole. The types of printed materials are envisaged to include traditional leaflets and fact sheets, alongside contemporary portable displays, calendars, stickers, enamel pin badges, t-shirts and advertisements. All project communication materials will be integrated in terms of design and content.
A special set of informational materials for hunters will be produced by the Union of Hunters and Anglers in Bulgaria.
At the end of the Project BSPB and SOR will produce a Layman’s Report in both print and digital formats.