Summary of Apollo EduActivities in Austria 2023

The LIFEApollo2020 project includes educational activities aiming at raising awareness about the need of preserving the Parnassius apollo butterfly. This species serves as an umbrella species, meaning its well-being reflects the overall health of its habitat. By focusing on the conservation of this flagship species, the project indirectly addresses the conservation needs of the entire ecosystem it inhabits. Moreover, the project emphasizes inclusivity by actively involving the broader community in environmental conservation efforts and promoting social responsibility. Through workshops and hands-on activities, participants are engaged in learning about the life cycle and ecological significance of the Apollo butterfly.

As part of the LIFEApollo 2020 project, our Austrian partner, the European Wilderness Society, in collaboration with butterfly expert Otto Feldner, conducted  numerous engaging workshops in various Austrian schools, from kinder-gardens to high schools. These workshops were designed to capture the attention and curiosity of students and to create an interactive learning environment. 

Throughout these sessions, students were introduced to the captivating world of Apollo butterflies, delving into every stage of their life cycle, from eggs to fully developed adults. Vital topics such as habitat requirements, overwintering behaviors, and the significance of specific feeding plants essential for Apollo butterflies were covered in detail. Notably, these workshops ignited a sense of enthusiasm among students, who eagerly shared their knowledge about butterflies. This enthusiastic response underscores the importance of fostering a connection between young minds and the natural world.

The LIFEApollo2020 project also aims to build Apollo gardens, unique spaces dedicated to cultivating food plants essential for the caterpillars and butterflies of the Apollo species. In Austria, two such gardens were established, one involving secondary school students and the other engaging children from a kindergarten. These gardens not only served as educational tools but also as practical conservation measures. Students eagerly participated in their production, and during construction, the significance of plants that attract butterflies—especially the vital Sedum for the Apollo caterpillar—was highlighted. The success of the Apollo Gardens was evident through the satisfaction expressed by smiling students and teachers involved in the activity.

In Autumn, European Wilderness Society took an advantage of the chance to reach a wider audience by participating in the “Fest der Natur” event in Wels, Austria. EWS was one of more than thirty exhibitors that presented presented nature conservation initiatives. The engaging event featured interactive games and content designed to educate both younger and older about the importance and protection of the Parnassius apollo butterfly. By providing a platform for participants to actively learn and engage in nature conservation, the event highlighted the broader significance of protecting local nature and biodiversity. The positive response and varied program ensured that the project’s message resonated effectively.

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