Responsibility for Creation: respectful attitude towards bats and birds

Summer Christian camps at churches are a great opportunity for children and youth to get acquainted with the animal world that inhabits the living space of churches and parish territories. In fact, we don’t always think about how many living creatures a church gives shelter to. But in fact – too many. These include owls and other predatory birds (kestrels, for example), jackdaws, redstart, swallows, as well as other animals – bats, mice, martens, insects… And what about a garden? There are great tits, wood nuthatch, and treecreeper – a whole group of useful birds, not to mention mammals, reptiles (lizards), and from time to time amphibians (toads), insects, and other arthropods… All these creatures are very interesting, and especially they are of interest to children and young people whose task is to get to know this wonderful world. Since children have holidays so summer camps provide an opportunity to make it continuous (Concept of continuous learning).

* Continuous learning (or Lifelong Learning) is a complex of state, private, and public educational institutions that provide organizational and meaningful unity and continuous connection of all links of education, which ensure a person’s desire for self-education and development throughout his or her life.

On July 30, trainers from the Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies were invited to hold a themed eco-educational event for children vacationing in the Christian camp of the Reformed Calvinist Church in Uzhhorod (Pastor Janos Heyder) and gladly accepted this invitation. There are many children of IDP in the camp, as well as some children from the Hungarian community of Transcarpathia.

Mykhailo Bilanych together with Andriy Donichenko told the campers about the importance and usefulness of bats, and their conservation status, and also conducted a workshop on making bat boxes and nesting structures for great tits. Children also received badges and booklets about bats and birds in churches. Special “BatMania” manuals (especially in Hungarian) helped children to understand many questions about bats, and to have fun completing the task of gluing special stickers in the appropriate places of the manual.

Then they put together a bat box and a nesting structure for birds and painted them. In the end, all children were given badges and stickers with the image of bats. Next, the bat box was installed under the roof of the Reformed church (which is almost 200 years old). Pastor Janos shared his many years of experience in conducting such camps. Gabriela, a young participant, also shared her impressions of participating in the camp and of today’s event. We sincerely thank Pastor Janos for his cooperation and hospitality.

The event was held within the framework of the project “Churches, religious and public organizations for the environmental of national minorities”, implemented by the Interreligious and Environmental Civil Forum of Eastern Europe (IRCEF) (head by  Alexander Bokotey) in cooperation with the German Nature Conservation Union (NABU Bundesverband NABU International ) under with the support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Auswärtiges Amt) project coordinators Ivan Tymofeiev (NABU)Nataliya Kulya (IRCEF).

Informational Service of IRCEF

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