Project Team meeting and Monitoring visit in White Carpathian Mountain range

White Carpathians – white because of white limestone and Carpathians as they are part of the Carpathians mountain range – which stretches across central and Eastern Europe crossing Austria, Czechia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. 

LIFE Apollo 2020 Monitor, team, and external guests met in the Czech part of White Carpathians. The visit took place between 11- 14 of April. A joint Monitoring visit and Project Team meeting were hosted by VIS (Vzdělávací a informační středisko Bílé Karpaty) – one of two Czech organizations implementing the LIFE Apollo 2020 project. By reading this post, you will find out what we were doing in White Carpathians and why it was important to us and the protection of Parnassius apollo.

Not everything can happen on Zoom: visits in the field and in-person discussions

This in-person meeting was crucial to see the effects of our actions, raise questions, and discuss different solutions. It was valuable, to gather the international project team and host the project Monitor. Visiting together project sites- this time in White Carpathians, induced important discussions. Visits in the field allow conservation projects to discuss things which do not come up in the conference room. The conference room, allowed the team to summarise ideas, which emerged thanks to the field visits.

Czech and Slovakian sites in White Carpathians- visited

We have visited all together many sites together in the Czech White Carpathians where the project is implemented. We were accompanied by different experts on the Parnassius apollo species during these visits. Thanks to that it was assured that selected sites in White Carpathians (both on the Czech and Slovak sides) are suitable for the species and that the planned management measures can create conditions for the species to live. Strengthening of cooperation with Slovak partners is important not only in the context of obtaining individuals for the breeding farm od Apollo in White Carpathians but also to share knowledge on how to best take care of the species. We were happy to visit and learn in detail about Slovak Apollo butterfly sites, by zoologist Dušan Šácha from the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic.

Common monitoring practice before Apollo Season 2023

For the past months, we were working intensively on creating a Monitoring Protocol to monitor the situation of the species and its habitat in the project sites and get ready for Apollo season 2023.  To monitor the situation of Parnassius apollo and the impact of our project, we need to monitor and analyse a lot of different parameters. In aim to do that we combine different methods. Choosing the right set of methods, defining terms and adapting the methodology to the specificity of the terrain in different project sites- is crucial. This is essential, but not always obvious even an international team and great experts. Adapting the methodology to the territorial needs requires effort and time. Meeting in person in White Carpathians and Monitoring practice which took place in the field allowed us to gather information on adjustments needed in Czech sites.

Rajhrad School great example of effective environmental education

We also had a chance to watch young people during their class and educational activities and curricula implemented by the school with which our partners cooperate- Rajhrad School.

It was a great experience to watch those young people very engaged in the topic. This class together with the teacher used multiple educational techniques in their environmental class. All these techniques had a common base: engaging students together with the teacher in discussion, role play etc. It was learning- by doing approach put into practice. Also, curriculums for other age groups have been demonstrated during the meeting. Engaging with emotions in learning is a very effective learning approach and fun!

More learning by doing, and citizen science actions

We have discussed, as well our communication and educational aims for this year 2023, looking at our past experiences. Stay tuned for more learning by doing.

You can become part of our project by joining citizen science actions for Apollo!

Have a look at our get involved section on the website and follow us on social media!

Be ready for the 2023 Apollo season!


#followapollo and the efforts of our team! Combined skills in breeding, conservation of habitats, research, environmental education, and project management constitute a great combination for the success of our LIFE project

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Team Poland – Three organisations combine experience

Project leader- Karkonoski National Park (KPN), Klub Przyrodników (KP/Naturalists’ Club) and W. Szafer Institute of Botany at the Polish Academy of Science (IBPAN) constitute the Polish segment of the project team.

An experienced project leader: Karkonoski Park Narodowy

Karkonoski Park Narodowy is a public institution – one among 23 National Parks existing in Poland. KPN protects the so-called Karkonosze and their fauna and flora. Karkonosze Mountains are the part of Sudety Mountains in which Parnassius apollo became extinct in the XIX century. In 2007 KPN undertook first reintroduction attempts of the species in the area – by placing the eggs in an adequate environment. Next year the Park started to breed Parnassius apollo and release caterpillars and adult individuals. Now, thanks to the LIFE Apollo2020 project, KPN will be able to increase efforts on reintroduction, so as on the monitoring of the species and its feeding plants. 

Knowledge transfer in breeding and reintroduction experience

As part of the LIFE Apollo2020 project, Karkonoski National Park shares knowledge about the breeding of the Apollo butterfly with other partner organisations. Their knowledge serves as a foundation for establishing the methodology of monitoring Apollo in the project and its habitat. KPN plays also a very important role in knowledge transfer and in supporting the creation of new breeding stations. This year 2022,  eggs of Apollo travelled from KPN to the Czech Republic and to the new breeding station which is being established in Uniemyśl by Klub Przyrodników. Having multiple breeding stations and release points is a very important step toward creating metapopulations (groups of small populations) of Apollo. 

Co-lead: Klub Przyrodników

To be the first organisation in Poland that received funding from the LIFE Programme means years of experience and knowledge, which are crucial for a smooth project implementation.

Klub Przyrodników

Klub Przyrodników is a well-established association existing since 1989. It has an NGO status and unites environmentalists from the whole country. The Club implements a range of different conservation projects. It has two field stations – one in Owczary on the Polish-German border and the other one – in the South of the country, in Uniemyśl. A station in Uniemyśl will be developed during the project to facilitate the reintroduction of Parnassius apollo.  This is where a new breeding station for Apollo is located, and where Gardens for Apollo are being created, full of feeding plants for caterpillars and adult butterflies. Klub Przyrodników has a large range of responsibilities in the LIFE Apollo2020 project. KP together with KPN are responsible for the project management and coordinating the whole consortium. During the project, KP will open a new breeding station (already ongoing on the small scale), Garden for Apollo and Education Centre.

Research on the genetics of Parnassius apollo for the successful reintroduction

IBPAN –  W. Szafer Institute of Botany at the Polish Academy of Science is a third member of the Polish team. It is a well-recognised academic institution in Poland. In the project, they are participating through the work of dr Tomasz Suchan – a scientific researcher – focusing on the genetics of Parnassius apollo. Tomasz Suchan will sequence part of Apollo’s genome and will also research the population of the species in Europe – all that with the aim to inform successful reintroduction of the butterfly. Tomasz is also strongly supporting the Citizen Science component of the project.

Get to know the members of the Polish team

Magdalena Makowska
Project Manager
Julia Hava
Project management assistant
Kamila Grzesiak
Conservation actions
Anna Bator-Kocoł
Conservation actions
Grzegorz Hajnowski
Roman Rąpała
Dariusz Kuś
Project management
Tomasz Suchan
Anna Mitek
Krzysztof Kalemba
Aleksandra Puchtel
Project Assistant

#followapollo and the efforts of our team! Combined skills in breeding, conservation of habitats, research, environmental education, and project management constitute a great combination for the success of our LIFE project.

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