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Dimitar Popov speaks about the Visitor and Nature Conservation Center at Pomorie Lake

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Green Balkans is a federation of nature conservation NGOs. It is one of the most active and famous in Bulgaria and has many contributions to the protection of our environment. I’m interviewing Dimitar Popov, who is a dear friend of mine and is in the management board of the federation. The topic of my written conversation with him is the Green Balkan’s Visitor and Nature Conservation centre at Pomorie Lake. I’ve been there are few times and I found the exposition and the view to be truly amazing.

Dear Dimitar, for how long have you been working for Green Balkans?
I have started as a volunteer in 2002 and since 2005 have turned professionally.

When was the Visitor and Nature Conservation Center at Pomorie Lake constructed?
It was built in 2010.

Why was it built?
The centre was created as part of a larger GEF-funded project that had the main aim to develop and implement a management plan for the protected areas’ complex (national protected area, two N2000 sites and Ramsar site). The main purpose of the visitor centre was to serve as the main CEPA point for visitors providing information and code of conduct for the protected area to visitors plus environmental education for schoolchildren and students. In addition, the centre should support on-site conservation (ex. traditional conservation holidays for restoring breeding habitat for waterbirds) and support controlling authorities by notifying for violations.

What conservation activities are carrying at the lake on a year-to-year basis?
The longest activity has been the bird habitat restoration – islets, platforms – for nesting of rare birds like terns, avocets. One of the landmarks has been the success with Sandwich tern colony and its increase from 6 to more than 2000 pairs.

What are the current threats to the wildlife living in the lake?
Numerous – largest being plans for further urbanization around the lake that are being promoted by the municipality and local construction business; illegal waste disposal is also a constant problem at the site; illegal water sports practising like kite-surfing leads to disturbance of breeding birds; poaching is decreasing but still illegal fishing is regular.

Do you offer tours to foreign visitors around the lake?
Yes, we do. Typically these are individual visitors but we had some small groups, too.

How many species of birds have been registered on the territory of the lake?
More than 270 species have been recorded at the site.

Besides the birds are there any other animals interesting for the general public?
Otter, pond terrapins, newts and toads, diced snake is very common.

Is the Visitor Center opened throughout the year?
Yes, we try to keep it open all year round but generally, winter is very low season.

Are the exposition and the lectures in the centre suitable for English-speaking foreign children? What is there for them?
Yes, all plates have English signage and the guide speaks English. The children can watch a video, birds with telescopes or by the special camera on a large monitor.

Is your staff speaking other languages besides English and Bulgarian?
Yes, Russian. Pomorie has many Russian-speaking visitors.

What are the future plans for the centre?
We keep on working and inform visitors about the natural heritage of the site.

Thank you very much for your time. I hope more and more people appreciate the beauty of Pomorie Lake in the upcoming years.

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