On September 30 – October 2, the initial conference of the “Carpathian Star Way” project (HUSKROUA / 1901 / 6.1 / 0044) took place within the framework of Hungary-Slovakia-Romania-Ukraine ENI Cross-Border Cooperation Program 2014-2020.
The conference was organized by Beneficiary 2 – NGO “Institute of Development of Carpathian Region”. The first part of the conference was held in the Hall of the Academic Council of Uzhhorod National University, Uzhhorod, Sq. Narodna, 3. The field part of the conference was organized in the mountain tourist shelter “Yavirnyk”, Velyky Berezny.
Welcoming speeches were made by representatives of the Transcarpathian Regional Council (Deputy Chairman of the Transcarpathian Regional Council Vasyl Ivancho), the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration (Head of the Department of Euroregional Cooperation of the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration Oleksandr Bilak and Director of the Department of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Regional State Administration Yuriy Shpontak), Uzhhorod City Council (Deputy Mayor of Uzhhorod Vasyl Pynzenyk), Village Council of Velyky Berezny (Village Mayor of Velyky Berezny Bohdan Kirlyk), Uzhhorod National University (Prof., Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, First Vice-Rector of Uzhhorod National University Oleksandr Slyvka).
Representatives of each of the partner organizations took an active part in the conference, giving presentations of their institutions and talking about their role in the “Carpathian Star Way” project. Director of the Vihorlat Observatory in Humenne, Slovakia (Lead Beneficiary of the project), Igor Kudzej, spoke about the overall purpose of the project, the planned measures for implementation and the importance of such a project for the public.
An important topic for discussion was the problem of light pollution, its impact on human health, wildlife, the heritage of the night sky. Invited guests of the conference made a report on this topic – Chairman of the Lviv Astronomical Society Lyubov Yankiv-Vitkovska, Secretary of the Light Pollution Section in the Slovak Astronomical Society of the Slovak Academy of Sciences Peter Begeni, Leading Engineer of the Astronomical Observatory of Lviv National University named after Ivan Franko, Andriy Bilinsky.
Geographically, the project focuses on 3 national parks and their surroundings: Natural park Poloniny in Slovakia where Dark Sky Park Poloniny was declared in 2010; Uzhanskyj National Nature Park in Ukraine where Trans-Carpathian Dark Sky Park was declared in 2016 and Bükk National Park in Hungary where Bükk Dark Sky-park was declared in 2017.In these areas, the level of light pollution is relatively low. So there is a chance to use them as a good example and promote the benefits of living under the natural night sky.
Director of Uzhansky National Nature Park Andriy Soima, Director of Poloniny National Park (Slovakia) Miroslav Bural, representative of the Bieszczady Starry Sky Park Carolina Kivior spoke about the national nature parks of Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine and Poland as places of preservation of the night environment, as well as the prospects of astrotourism development.