Let’s Save the Staro Zhelezare Cromlech project is the national winner in Moto Pfohe’s 2014 Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme for Protection of the Natural and Cultural Heritage of Bulgaria

For the 17th time Moto Pfohe has been financing projects for conservation of natural diversity and cultural and historical heritage of Bulgaria. Prizes were awarded to the winners on the 10th of December 2014 at 18:30 h at a fine, official ceremony in the National Museum of History in Sofia.
A total of 54 projects from all over the country competing in two categories – environmental protection (17 participants) and cultural heritage protection (37 participants) joined the programme in 2014. In addition to the selection of a national winner, three incentive awards have been given at the jury’s discretion.
Beside the financial aid, the main objective of the Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme has always been to support through publicity the efforts of a host of institutions, collective and individual participants to preserve our national uniqueness and identity.
Let’s Save the Staro Zhelezare Cromlech project of the eponymous foundation is the grand winner in Moto Pfohe’s Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme in 2014. The project envisages the reconstruction and exhibition of the already discovered and yet-to-be discovered structures of the archeological site of cromlech type - a Thracian astronomical observatory - in the Cholakova Mogila locality in Staro Zhelezare village, Hisariya municipality. The foundation’s activities include salvage final excavation works led by Prof. Dr. Diana Gergova of the National Institute of Archeology with Museum with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NIAM-BAS), the construction of protective cover and the socialisation of the 26-century-old historical monument as well as its conversion into a cultural tourism site. The project won a BGN 10,000 prize, an honorary diploma and a plaquette, which were awarded by Mr. Philip Pfohe, owner and managing director of Moto Pfohe, and Mrs. Boni Petrunova, Deputy Minister of Culture.
In her address to the winners Mrs. Petrunova said: “Before I started working in the Ministry I was a Deputy Director of the National Institute of Archeology, so I am extremely happy that the winning project will work exactly in the field of archeology. Bulgaria is abundant in monuments from ancient to modern times. It’s wonderful that young people in Bulgaria want to preserve the legacy of our ancestors – this is not just an archeological site but a complex cultural and spiritual identity which has been accumulated through the centuries. And I must thank to the association, which has developed this project, and to the organisers of Moto Pfohe’s Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme who selected exactly this project”.
Aleksandra Kadieva-Delova of Let’s Save Staro Zhelezare Cromlech association accepted the award extremely emotionally together with the whole team of followers: „Until now we could not imagine that someone will have so high regard for the efforts of an association. Believe me what you are doing is the future of Bulgaria. This is our common tomorrow. It may be just a single step, but it is a huge step, because it shows that when we unite around a common goal we succeed in achieving all we dream for”.
The runner-up in this year’s 17th edition of Moto Pfohe’s Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme for Conservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage was the project Lagoon in a Bird’s Eye – Eco Drone. The author of the project is the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation. The project aims to prevent the effect of factors endangering the Atanasovsko Lake lagoon in order to ensure its good environmental condition. The application of innovative monitoring using advanced air monitoring technology - a remotely piloted (unmanned) aircraft, commonly known as a drone, will allow for fast, cheap and safe data collection with minimum human presence during surveillance. The collected data will allow for localisation of problems and threats, generation of specific environmental information, for example nests and concentration of birds which cannot be observed during ground monitoring. The project was awarded BGN 5,000 and a plaquette.
Deputy Minister of Environment and Waters Pavel Gudzherov handed the award to Mrs. Radostina Tasheva – acting Executive Director of the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, saying: „It’s an honour for me to welcome all guests on behalf of Minister Ivelina Hristova and to share our high esteem for the corporate social responsibility of the organisers of the event - Moto Pfohe and their Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme. The Programme’s 17-year history is an example of sustainable development and a reputable position of business in society. Fortunately, many other companies followed and adopted this model developing their own environmental campaigns. It is extremely important because it focuses public attention on the preservation of nature and cultural treasury. I wish the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation success in preservation of endangered species in Atanasovsko Lake as well as success in the activity of all participants in Moto Pfohe’s Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme!”
Mrs. Radostina Tasheva accepted the award and addressed the organisers and guests: “This award is an honour for the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation and I want to assure you that it goes to the right place. Atanasovsko Lake is unknown to many people but this is the habitat of the biggest number of birds and endemic species in Bulgaria. With the implementation of our project we shall manage to preserve them. But it is not just the birds and endemic species. On the territory of the lake we preserve the ancient salt extraction profession. The award of this Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme helps for the salvation of this unique place for the residents and guests of Burgas and Bulgaria”.
One of the incentive awards went to Trust Me NGO, town of Samokov, and their project Playground Especially for Me! The aim of the project is to secure funds for the purchase of combined playground equipment accessible to children with mental and speech problems and with physical disabilities. This playground equipment includes a set of advanced sensory-rich structures which encourage mitigation of deficiencies typical of children with mental retardation, autism, Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy. The project was awarded BGN 2,000 and a plaquette.
Chavdar Zdravkov, Chief Expert on Professional Education and Training, handed the award, saying: “For us, people working in the education sector, it is a great pleasure that there are still goodhearted people who care for children with disabilities, people who have drafted a project and will do all it takes to provide financing and implement it. Taking care of children is the most important thing we should do in our society”.
“Thank you on behalf of our organisation, our team, the children and their parents. You should know that our dearest children whom you help today are the most special children in the world”, said Mrs. Dimitrinka Milenkova, representative of Trust Me NGO, town of Samokov.
Another incentive award of the 2014 Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme was given to the project To Bees with Love of Shtipka Association. The project’s objective is the popularisation and the identification of adequate measures for long-term protection of bees thus contributing to both ecological balance and improvement of the quality of human life – laying the foundations of a sustainable lifestyle in harmony with nature. The project was awarded BGN 2,500 and a plaquette.
The chairman of the expert jury in Moto Pfohe’s Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme, Dr Petar Yankov, handed the award to Yancho Mihailov, chairman of the association, saying: “There are hundreds of thousands of bee species and their existence is endangered all over the world. It is incredible to imagine it, but the truth is that if this species goes extinct, life on our planet in its present state will perish and we will cease to exist”.
Yancho Mihailov, head of Shtipka Association, accepted the award with delight: “We are grateful that you appreciate the problem and that you select our project among the winners in the 2014 Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme. Our goal is to inform the public, to explain the danger of bee extinction in a simple, easy-to-understand and appealing language. We shall continue doing it through a series of artistic and educational events on the territory of the whole country during the spring and summer of 2015”.
All 54 projects - candidates in Moto Pfohe’s Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme for Conservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage. For the 18 years of the Programme’s existence there have been 1,065 participating projects, of which 77 projects, including this year’s participants, have been awarded an aggregate amount of BGN 288,000.