It may be as ephemeral as the snow-pink waters of a winter dusk; a wandering juvenile pelican bathing in Ohrid Lake; or an elusive glimpse of a gentle deer deep in National Park Galichica. It could be as simple as a Balkan butterfly on your morning coffee cup.
Whatever your holiday experience of Macedonia’s nature, it’s sometimes a good idea to share. Not only does it inform jealous people at home that you’re in one of the most beautiful and species rich countries in all Europe, but it also sends the message that little interactions with the natural world are important parts of the visitor experience. That makes nature easier to protect and turns you into a social media hero.
If you want it to have maximum effect, please either tag Ohrid SOS on Facebook or use the Twitter hashtags below when talking or sharing photos of Macedonia’s nature and culture. We can then use the power of your posts and pictures to inspire pristine mountains and lakes for the future. Feel free to use more than one hashtag, of course!
#MakAttract: Use this to reveal the beauty of Macedonia’s natural scenery, habitats and species or to share the depth of its history and culture.
#AquaticGalapagos: This tag focuses on the species and habitats of Lake Ohrid. Anytime you want to show the power of the ancient lake to create and sustain life, go for this one.
#Galichica or #Galicica: If people can recognize the amazingness of National Park Galichica, there will be more opportunities to keep the mountain safe. Photos celebrating Galichica’s wild beauty are one step towards this. We look forward to seeing them!
#LakeOhrid: We always keep an eye on this tag, because cool stuff appears with it sometimes. If you’re posting on this, we’ll definitely take a look.
#LakeOfApples: This hashtag has been set up to celebrate Lake Prespa, where a special story of ecosystem renaissance has been taking place. If you’re lucky enough to experience nature’s playground at Prespa, share its specialness here.
#SaveLakeOhrid: The Ohrid region remains a unique cradle of life but bad things do happen here. If you see any misuse or destruction of nature or want to give an opinion on the development plans that threaten this wonderful location, please use the #SaveLakeOhrid hashtag to inform us. Include as many details as possible (time, place etc.). We’re not an emergency service, but we can use such information to put pressure on authorities or relevant parties to sort out the problem. Also, you can always tag @MOEPPMKD or @VladaMK if you want the message to get through to the Macedonian authorities.
P.S. Please be conscious of how your photo-taking will affect nature. Obviously, if snapping a colorful butterfly involves trampling 50 plants in a nature reserve, that’s probably not going to contribute positively to Macedonian habitats. Be particularly sensitive with nesting birds and avoid disturbing any animal. Equally, if you know a species is rare or hunted by poachers–like Balkan chamois or the Apollo butterfly–it’s best to avoid putting that online with a clear location. You never know who is watching. In real time.
P.P.S. These kinds of social media actions really can help. The recent cancellation of plans to drain and develop Studenchishte Marsh follows a lengthy Ohrid SOS awareness campaign that focused heavily on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve also used photos of trash and fish-kill in reports and meetings with the EBRD and UNESCO, and regularly act on information shared with us via social media.
P.P.P.S. On Twitter, @IDSBiolozi may be kind enough to help you identify a species if you don’t know what it is. Equally, the Macedonian Ecological Society (@ContactMES) will occasionally have a research interest in nature photos. Tagging them on species pix could provide useful information for their work. These are professional people often in the field, however. As much as they may like to, they won’t be able to respond to everybody.
Underwater Pic: Ljupco Lepi