On March 26, 2019, project beneficiaries from the area of Virovitica – Podravina County were invited by the Hungarian project beneficiaries, SEFAG Erdészeti és Faipari Zrt. to participate in the conference “Astronomy and Nature Protection” under the project “Common tourism development of natural and cultural assets of Suhopolje-Noskovačka Dubrava-Zselic Starry Park”.
The conference began with the welcoming speech by Jakó Gergely, Deputy CEO, SEFAG Zrt. in Zselic Starry Park. After the greeting speech, lectures by renowned experts followed. The first lecture was held by prof. Dr. Zoltán Kolláth, from Eötvös Loránd University, Savaria University Center, on “Natural and artificial night sky lights” where satellite images have shown a comparison of natural and artificial light. The second lecture on “Zselica Natural and Tourist Assets” was held by Zoltán Szegvári, Regional Manager of the Dunav-Drava National Park. The rich flora and fauna of the Zselica area have been presented as well as tourist and educational activities in the Danube-Drava National Park. Professor Željko Andreić from the Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering, University of Zagreb, gave a lecture on “The Influence of the LED Revolution in Public Lighting and Light Pollution”. The lecture has prompted numerous questions and led to discussions on possible solutions to reduce light pollution. Director of Public Institutions for Protected Areas of Nature and Ecological Network of Virovitica-Podravina County, Tatjana Arnold Sabo, held a lecture on “The Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve Area in Virovitica-Podravina County” where geological and landscape diversity of the area and rich flora and fauna with an emphasis on endemic species have been described. A traditional way of life and great potential for sustainable tourism development have been presented. Particularly emphasized has been put on the importance of educational and promotional activities with the aim of raising public awareness of the value and importance of preserving the exceptional biodiversity of the area.
Conference participants had a chance to see the Zselic Starry Park.
The afternoon was followed by workshops at SEFAG Zrt. Hotel Kardosfa on two subjects: “Protection of nature and education” (in Hungarian and Croatian) and “Light pollution and astronomy” (in English).
The moderator of the subject “Nature Protection and Education”, István Gyarmathy, Advisor to the Management Board of the National Park Hortobágy, gave a presentation on “Night Tours in Zselic Starry Park “. The presentation was abundant with interesting night sky photography and photography made by observation telescopes, along with a description of night outings. Júlianna Domokos and Dr. Maczó of SEFAG Zrt. Zselic Starry Park, featured in detail the activities of the Zselic Starry Park, with an emphasis on educational activities in the park.
The workshop on “Light pollution and astronomy” contained three presentations – “Day or night, how light patterns affect forest life”, held by Dr. Vilmos Altbäcker, University of Kaposvár, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; “Night Illumination Bridges and Its Ecological Effects on Mayflies” was presented by Dénes Száz from the Faculty of Biology and Physics of Eötvös Loránd University; “Measurement of light pollution from the universe,” presented by Kai Pong Tong, Eötvös Loránd University, Savaria University Center.
The conference was attended by representatives of all project beneficiaries, as well as representatives of the Regional Development Agency VIDRA who prepared the project, and a representative of the Joint Technical Secretariat of Interreg Antonija Bedeniković.