This book is a collaborative guide to conservation holidays in Bulgaria focused on volunteering, bird watching and protection of birds habitats. Over 10 conservation projects in different Bulgarian regions, in which I participated personally! part of my ethnographic project, my book was among the 11 best Bulgarian ecological initiatives supported by the Open Society Institute – Sofia and the Open Society Foundations through the Bulgarian Fund for Women.

Based on 30 interviews: Birding & Conservation

The word ‘collaborative’ implies that the book is based on 30 interviews with participants of the conservation activities in different Bulgarian regions: Pomorie, Burgas, Stara Zagora, Durankulak, Sofia, Kotel, etc. The guide is the final stage of my two-year-long project ‘Mapping Sustainable Holidays in Bulgaria: Combine Volunteering and Holidays!’.

Featured by Bulgarian National Radio, my project covered the best bird watching destinations in Bulgaria. It consisted of articles, workshops and a book (in English and Bulgarian).

  • LEARN about the oldest Bulgarian volunteer conservation vacation with 33-year-long tradition;
  • EXPLORE 30 opinions of the participants on sustainable peer-to-peer learning;
  • JOIN the best conservation bird-watching projects in Bulgaria + online communities.

5 Highlights of Cultural Insights into Conservation Volunteer Bird Watching Holidays in Bulgaria

  • The two oldest Bulgarian bird-watching vacations in Pomorie and Burgas – the Pomorie Lake Volunteer Brigade (26 years) by Green Balkans and the Atanasovsko Lake Camp (33 years) by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds.
  • The major Bulgarian citizen science project in Durankulak – Durankulak Bird-ringing Camp by the 4 partners: the National Museum of Natural History and the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Balkani Wildlife Society, and Branta Birding Lodge & Conservation Centre. The international partner is Dutch bird ringer Patrick Bergkamp who provided the equipment for the research.
  • The unique Bulgarian organization that deals with the restoration of endangered bird species – Wildlife Rescue Centre in Stara Zagora by Green Balkans. In my book, I present it with my adoption experience. I adopted there four wild birds and visited them in April 2021.
  • The project devoted to free bird walking tours in Sofia and a great digital learning resource – Sofia Bird Walks.
  • One excursion in a nature reserve in Kotel, one of the popular habitats of vultures in Bulgaria – The Nature Park Sinite Kamani.

This one-minute video offers a brief overview of ‘Cultural Insights into Conservation Volunteer Bird Watching Holidays in Bulgaria. It’s Not Only About Birds’.

Table of Contents

The Islands of Hope for Birds and People
Chapters Overview
Chapter 1 Deciphering green narratives
1.1 Values, Volunteering and Peer-to-peer learning
1.2 Sociosemiotic ethnography
1.3 Participatory action research 
1.4 The prospects for Bulgaria
Chapter 2 Bulgarian collaborative practices: a historical overview
2.1 The chitalishta in Bulgaria and life-long learning
2.2 The Bulgarian Brigadier Movement and cultural ‘colonization’ of society 
2.3 Modern eco-initiatives and alternative tourism 
Chapter 3 The Conservation Camp Atanasovsko Lake: Collaborations
3.1 The summer camp for like-minded nature lovers
3.2 Counting birds: nature is a book, and species are its alphabets
3.3 The campsite for reconsidering values 
3.4 Developing curiosity for birds
Chapter 4 Pomorie Lake Volunteer Brigade: Choices
4.1 The Symbol of the Brigade
4.2 Half-time Holidays with Full-time Fun
4.3 Recording a Sensation 
4.4 Challenging Gender Stereotypes 
Additional Insights: Case study: Interactive online communication for ecological projects
Chapter 5 Stara Zagora Wildlife Rescue Centre: Names
5.1 Disabled birds on special missions
5.2 How I adopted 4 wild birds
5.3 Witnessing bird operations
Additional Insights: Species restoration: Vultures in Sinite Kamani Nature Park
Chapter 6 Durankulak Bird Ringing Camp: Sunrises
6.1 The caught birds, photo sessions and the ethics
6.2 Delayed Flight
6.3 Women and Children in the Ornithological World
Additional Insights: 2 Useful Online Tools for Identifying Birds