V4 Biology Excursions for Students 2024 is a project organized by the Secretary board of the Czech Biology Olympiad, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, together with the Matej Bel University, Slovakia, Warsaw University, Poland, and the Association of Hungarian Biology Teachers, Hungary. During spring 2024, we organize 3 biological excursions for students to the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. The project is supported by a V4 Mini Gen project of the Visegrad Fund.
The Excursions are open for students from the V4 countries (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia) in 3. and 4. grade of high school, or 1. and 2. grade of University. We prefer students who participate (or did participate) in the national biology competitions (e. g. Biology Olympiad) and are passionately interested in biodiversity, organisms, and nature protection.
The attendance fee is 100 EUR per 1 excursion. Students should register for all three excursions, but it is also possible to register only for one or two excursions. The rest of the excursion budget is covered by the Visegrad Fund. The excursion budget covers accommodation, food, and transportation within the excursion, as well as the program (biology field lectures). Transportation to the meeting point of each excursion and back home is not covered.
You can register using the registration form: https://forms.gle/M2HpS2W7KG3FiAcz6
In the registration form, you not only fill in your personal data. A very important part of the form is the registration proposal, where each student shall answer 3 creative questions to allow us to consider which students will be selected. Along with the selection questions, 2 motivational questions are to be filled. The answers will be evaluated anonymously, and each country will subsequently select 8 students to participate in each excursion. Students who will not be selected will be considered substitutes and may be invited to participate if anyone falls out from any excursion. More information on each excursion plan will be sent to the students who will be accepted to participate.
The deadline for the registration is 18th February 2024. For Polish and Hungarian students, the deadline is prolonged till the 27th of February 8 am.
The excursions are focused on biodiversity and environmental sciences education, so we will focus on natural environments of high environmental importance. Each excursion will start at a selected meeting point. We will visit different landscape areas for field exploration and field lectures during each excursion. The courses will be carried out in English, however, teachers will translate the lectures in case students are not able to understand. Each excursion will take 4-5 days. During the field courses, lecturers will demonstrate the major methods of biodiversity conservation (environmental management, conservation programs), and biodiversity study (insect light trapping, bird ringing, birdwatching, plant identification etc). An informal program will also be organized for the students, providing opportunities for students to meet and form international friendly connections. Students will be accommodated in camps and field stations, and the transportation between the localities will be realized by a private bus or local public transport.
Which excursions are planned? 1) Czech Republic: 27. 4. – 1. 5. 2024
The first excursion will be organized in the Czech Republic, just after the end of the National Round of the Czech Biology Olympiad. The students will meet in Břeclav, South Moravia. Then, we will shortly use public transport to move to Lednice, where the students will be accommodated in the Apollo Camp. Two excursions to various habitats including heathland, steppe grasslands, and primary forests will be conducted in the Pálava Protected Landscape Area, the westernmost part of the Carpathians. Then, the excursion moves to the České Středohoří Protected Landscape Area by private bus transfer. In České Středohoří, we will explore its unique landscape shaped by Tertiary volcanic activity. After accommodating in a camp, one excursion will be conducted to explore the volcanic landscape with xerotherm grasslands. Then, we will use a private bus for transfer to Prague, and have a short visit to the Faculty of Science, Charles University and its facilities, and the Botanical Garden. The Excursion will then end in Prague.
2) Hungary: 3. – 8. 5. 2024
This field trip's main aim is to demonstrate the biological diversity of the Pannonian habitats of the Great Hungarian Plain. Participants will visit the bird colonies of the local fish ponds, the floodplain forests of the river Tisza, the saline steppe close to Szeged, and the quicksand territories around the city of Kecskemet. During their visits, students will collect different water and soil samples and also will identify local spider species and some interesting plants using the appropriate dichotomous keys. Therefore, this excursion is especially attractive for students interested in biodiversity surveys and field laboratory work. On the last day, we will go to the local TERMOSZ laboratory to determine the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the earlier collected samples. The students will work in international groups of four people, containing participants from each country. As a final action, we plan to give the word to these groups to present their findings during the field trip and the laboratory activities. Accommodation will be realized in Szeged, which will also be the meeting point and final point of the Excursion.
3) Poland: 17. – 22. 5. 2024
The third excursion will be organized in Poland. We will meet in Warsaw, and subsequently move to the first locality, the Mazury Lake Protected Area, where accommodation will be provided in an eco-center with a field station, belonging to the Warsaw University. Two field excursions will be conducted to both lake and forest ecosystems of the protected area with local specialists. Then, the excursion moves to the Baltic coastal area by private bus transfer. Excursions at the coast will cover marine coastal ecosystems, including botanical excursions at the sand dunes, and birdwatching. We hope that the weather will be warm enough to allow also some sea bathing, at least for cryophilic students. After visiting the Baltic Coast, students will return to Warsaw, where the excursion will end.
For more information, you may contact the organization board of the excursions:
General information: Secretariate of the Biology Olympiad in the Czech Republic - Tereza Matějková (email@example.com)
Information for Czech students: Albert F. Damaška (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Information for Polish students: Takao Ishigawa (email@example.com)
Information for Hungarian students: Sandor Bán (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Information for Slovak students: Marcela Adamcová (email@example.com)