Green Balkans projects for the NATURA 2000 and the vultures awarded journalists with prizes for GREEN journalism “WILD CHESTNUT” 2021

This year the competition was organized collaboratively with “Natura 2000 in Bulgaria – New Horizons” LIFE17 GIE/BG/371 project and “Bright Future for Black Vulture” LIFE14 NAT/BG/649 project. The aim of the competition is to reward journalists who have contributed to the coverage of topics about nature, Natura 2000, protected species and protected areas.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday (6-7-8 August 2021) we awarded journalists and civil activists with a close look of the activities for protection of the target species under the "Natura 2000 in Bulgaria - New Horizons" project and “Bright Future for Black Vulture” LIFE14 NAT/BG/649 project. Twenty two participants empathized and took part directly in the Green Balkans conservation activities, as they visited the protected areas of the Natura 2000 network near Kotel and Sliven.

We were really glad for the opportunity to participate part of the finalists from the “WILD CHESTNUT” 2020 competition. We remind that back then due to the epidemic situation we held the award ceremony online.

On Saturday we visited the aviary for vultures above Sliven which is maintained by Green Balkans. Ivelin Ivanov, the “The Bright Future for Black Vulture” project manager – told about the long-term activities of the organization and the programme for return and conservation of the nature’s cleaning crew – the vultures. We watched both Griffon and Black Vultures.

Later the group visited the Natural History Museum in Kotel where at the moment the travelling exhibition of Green Balkans about Natura 2000 is displayed under the “Natura 2000 in Bulgaria – New Horizons” project.

At the end of the day we have met with the colleagues from the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna, who are partners within “The Bright Future for Black Vulture” project and maintain the aviary for the vultures above Kotel. Emiliyan Stoynov (FWFF) told us about the combining the work with vultures and with the livestock breeding via indigenous breeds – such as the Karakachan sheeps.

On Sunday (08.08.2021) in Sliven Apostol Karaganchev – a long-term volunteer of Green Balkans, was a phenomenal host of the official awarding ceremony in the National competition for GREEN journalism “WILD CHESTNUT” 2021.

Aneliya Pavlova, the “Natura 2000 in Bulgaria – New Horizon” project coordinator, awarded all 15 journalists with certificates as finalists, and five of them with the “WILD CHESTNUT” plaque – per 1 of each category: television, radio, print media, online publication and blog.

Here are the awarded:
TV category:
with a plaque and a certificate: Emil Mitev, BTV (for the construction works in Iskar dam, the sludge storage in Pernik and the attempts for trees destruction)
with certificates:
Gergana Gaydarova – BNT (for the materials about nature - the garbage in the Iskar River, damages from the climate changes, a digital map of the Sofia trees and the rescued stork Vihren)
and Kameliya Evgenieva Karadocheva – AgroTV (Zero waste and a model of
circular economy, a reportage about the activities of the Wildlife Rescue Centre and how a business is made out of textile waste).

Radio category:
with a plaque and a certificate: Dobromir Videv, Horizont Programme BNR (Jein Gudol about the people, the animals and the pandemics, the internet imprint on the environment)
with certificates:
Zornitsa Garkova – Hristo Botev Programme BNR (a reportage about the biodegradable foil and about the Seeds Festival)
and Svetlana Dicheva, Gavrail Gavrailov – Horizont Programme BNR – ("Graffiti on air" show about the interviews of people with green ideas).

Print media category:
with a plaque and a certificate: Diyan Bozhidarov, SEGA (for parks protection in Stara Zagora, Varna and Sofia)
with certificates:
Liliya Lozanova, Agrovestnik (for the organic farming topics - the "Obichkovtsi" mansion and the farm for water lilies)
and Plamena Petkova, Agrovestnik (materials, dedicated to Natura 2000 topics).

Online media category:
with a plaque and a certificate: Viktoria Simeonova, (for the thrown plastic in the construction waste landfill, the dried fishponds in Petarch and protection of Cental Balkan Park)
with certificates:
Gavrail Gavrailov, (for the female activitsts, the transition to a simple life from the cities to the villages and the battle of the Karaysen residents for water)
and Irina Simeonova, BTA (for covering the activities in the Wildlife Rescue Centre and surrounding the vultures).

Blog/Vlog category:
with a plaque and a certificate: Rada Bonev - (for green topics)
with certificates:
Dario Dionisi (Madzharovo wild nature)
and Tatyana Garkavaya (for covering activities, related with the Cetaceans in the Black Sea, the Wildlife Rescue Centre and the Pomorie Lake).

Ivelin Ivanov, the “Bright Future for Black Vulture” project manager – awarded journalists with contribution to the coverage of topics, related with vultures in the last 5 years. Everyone received a certificate and a plaque with the logo of the vultures.

Petra Taleva – BNR
Tatyana Yordanova – BNT
Liliya Lozanova – agrovestnik
Dani Atanasova – BTV
Elena Encheva, Desislava Kracholova, Anna Turlakova, Kristina Ruseva from the BNR Stara Zagora team
Polina Paunova – Svobodna Evropa
Iveta Shiligarova, George Manev – Nova TV
Irina Simeonova – BTA
Darina Koleva - BTV

*Journalists from Darik Radio, issues of Economedia (Dnevnik and Capital) and from Hobby TV do not participate in the competition, because they are Green Balkans partners.

We would like to thank all participants who took the time to see each other live and spend a few days in the nature of Bulgaria!
We would like to thank our hosts – the Department of Natural Park "Sinite kamani" and Natural History Museum in Kotel.

See you soon and expect information about the start of the next competition - WILD CHESTNUT 2022!

Aneliya Pavlova – coordinator, tel. +359899269576, e-mail:
Ivelin Ivanov – project manager, tel. +359887589995, e-mail:

The competition is implemented within the projects: