The Horseshoe Ambassador Championships were carried out for the second time. The idea came from the LIFE Podkowiec+ Project – on one hand, as a way to approach broader audience, on the other, as a response to the need expressed by many tourists and tourist guides. Questionnaire carried out in the project, clearly shown, that local people do not perceive the presence of horseshoe bats as an increased attraction of their villages for tourists.

The tourist guides, after some training, caught up the idea and are happy to enhance their offer with new elements. In the simplest case they just add some words about the little inhabitants of the old temple’s or castle’s attic, visited by the group anyway. Some go further and develop their own creative programme, far beyond the classic tourist guiding.

The Ambassadors who won in the Championships were awarded with the international study tour, where they can learn more about the methods of conservation and promotion of bats, serving also the local communities.

The best scores were gained by

Andrzej Surma from Cieszyn (238 “horseshoes”), Anna Kryszczak from Kraków (169), Piotr Drebot from Ciężkowice (97), Joanna Opyrchał from Bochnia (90), Katarzyna Hołda from Ciężkowice (79), Angelika Grzegorzek from Iwkowa (40), Daniel Loegler from Rzeszów (39), Małgorzata Kotarba from Piwniczna-Zdrój (30), Anita Staszczak from Kraków (30), Natalia Pacana-Roman from Gorlice (21), Martyna Mirecka-Fyda from Nowy Sącz (11) and Kazimierz Fyda from Nowy Sącz (11).

We congratulate and thank all the participants, and especially Andrzej Surma for his breathtaking result.

The Horseshoe Ambassadors have their own Facebook website. The Horseshoe Land and Lesser horseshoe conservation programme fan pages also contain a lot of information about the ambassadors’ and other activities.

Participation in the Championship required documenting the events with the photo or movie clip of the audience pretending to be the horseshoe bats. Some examples below: