On December 13th, the Press Club of BTA - Sofia awarded the nominees in the fourth edition of the campaign "I Guard the Forests and Eagles of Bulgaria".

The aim of the campaign is to focus public attention on attacks against nature, which are serious crimes and often lead to biodiversity loss. The campaign distinguishes good practices in the professional sphere of the participants. The awards are an incentive for participants to do their best work and for their efforts to have meaning. Every little action contributes to positive change in public attitudes on important issues such as the conservation of biodiversity and nature in general.

Nominations were discussed by a jury composed of:

•    eng. Dimitar Batalov (EFA) - chairman
and members:
•    Stoycho Stoychev, BSPB
•    Vanya Rytarova, BSPB
•    eng. Nikolay Vasilev, EFA
•    eng. Irena Stoyanova, EFA
•    Svetlana Banazova, a journalist from Gora magazine

The jury evaluated the nominations according to the following criteria: Conservation significance, social impact, initiative, knowledge of legislation, originality in approach, scale and persistence. For each of the criteria, the jury evaluated from 1 to 10.

•    Bosilina Melteva, journalist at Dnevnik - she was nominated for her work on the case with the poison baits in March this year when almost the entire population of Griffon vultures in the Kresna gorge has died.
•    Ludmil Haydoutov - nominated for his  active citizenship and activity in the "Illegal Online Trafficking in Animals" group.
•    Alexander Dunchev, nominated as a WWF Forest Expert - in 2017, Alexander worked on three cases of destruction and felling of forests.
•    Stoyan Hristov, Venelin Koychev and Nikolay Staykov, Central Balkan National Park Directorate - they have made a significant contribution to preventing poaching of large raptors and mammals.
•    Elitsa Ivanova, Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation – she has participated in 3 missions to return the endangered species of parrots Jaco.
•    Ilhan Faik and Ilhan Ahmed, District management – Chernoochene village - they are nominated for rescuing a total of 39 Spur-thighed tortoises and Hermann's tortoises.
•    Stella Docheva, RIEW – Varna - she managed to stop the plowing and destruction of Ponto-Sarmatian steppes in the Kaliakra Protected Area.
•    Veselin Koev, Persina Nature Park - he is actively working to protect one of the most endangered habitats in the country - riparian and flooded forests on the Danube islands.
•    Svetoslav Stankov and Svetoslav Angelov, REGIONAL OFFICE "Fire Safety and Protection of Population" – Vidin - they respond immediately to the signal of a burning stork nest and manage to save a pair of storks.
•    Petar Nikolov, State Forestry - Burgas - nominated for the rescue of a young Lesser spotted eagle.
All nominees received plaques and a money prize at the final press conference of the campaign.

The campaign is organized by the Executive Forestry Agency (EFA) and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) within the framework of the Eagle Forest Project, funded under the LIFE + program of the European Union.