Name of organisation
Via Pontica Foundation
Number of staff
Number of visitors per year
Only opened 2018
Overall aims of the centre
To protect the biodiversity and wetlands in the region and to promote sustainable tourism activities
Description of the centre
The site is located on the shore of Burgas Lake /one of the four wetland sites recognized by the Ramsar Convention in the Region of Burgas– part of the Burgas lakes complex. The size of the centre is approximately 600 acres and Via Pontica Foundation has signed in 2018 a MOU with the Governorship of Burgas for the protection and restoration of the rest of the protected area that is under Governor’s management. The territory of Ecopark Vaya is shared with an extensive fish farm for provision of combined ecosystem services. Currently our efforts are focused on building the information and visitor center in order to be able to launch the organization of workshops, lectures and discussions on ecological themes year round and facilitate birdwatchers and other nature lovers in their exploration of the site.
Main CEPA work area
As one of the most proactive NGOs in Bulgaria, Via Pontica Foundation has a lot of projects related to education and spreading awareness – events, workshops, lectures. The Foundation is also a CEPA NGO Focal Point for Bulgaria of the Ramsar Convention (2018-2020). Currently we are cooperating with engaged theater and art schools with the execution of a play script in order to raise awareness and further promote education with interactive approach and on establishing a kite-surfing zone on Burgas central beach. Further information on our CEPA work can be obtained on our website at www.viapontica.org
Top three successes
Restoring damaged habitats, water purification and providing equipment for birdwatching in the area of Burgas lake. The activities were monitored and declared successful because the local population was involved and the outcomes of the projects were very clearly communicated to all stakeholders. Our team has learnt that sustainability aims and outcomes should be enlisted, explained and further promoted in order to work in a responsive manner.
Top three challenges
As a relatively new NGO in Bulgaria (est. 2015) Via Pontica Foundation is experiencing some resistance from the other NGOs active in the region who are acting in a kind of cartel, but we are working toward integration with the community through common participation in projects for environmental protection.
Attracting experts from other NGOs has been a challenge, but as we know their expertise is essential as they have a broad experience in monitoring the biodiversity in the area and we are working to improve cooperation.
The attraction of the attention and support of the large audience that stands outside the small group of environmentalists from the region is a challenge too.
Creating signage; Producing written materials
Setting up a new visitor centre; Managing / creating habitat; Building / maintaining structures
Engaging young people; Engaging the local community; Working with volunteers
Education and communication
Delivering adult education; Working with primary schools; Lobbying / running campaigns; Working with secondary schools; Developing resources / materials
Auditing / assessing effectiveness; Health and safety; Project planning.
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