“Bats on stage” author: prof. Alina Baluș, „Calistrat Hogaș” National Collage, Piatra-Neamţ (email: alina@balus.ro)

Implemented in frame of European projects of strategic partnerships ERASMUS+ on innovative themes in the field of durable education: from promoting bats to the immaterial patrimony related to horses.

Bats on stage? You will probably wonder what could be the connection between bats, horses, theater, choreography and aerial acrobatics. How do bats get on stage? Under ERASMUS+, the programme of projects financed by the European Commission was widened from 2014, to include not only university level education, but to all levels of education,  hence opening the possibility to tackle unusual but current themes in innovative ways

“Let’s change the image of bats and act to protect them!» (Changeons l’image de la chauve-souris et agissons pour la preserver!) was the first initiative of its kind, bringing together for two years (2014-2016) partners from three countries (France, Romania and Turkey). The project focused on the only actively flying mammal, who is also responsible for our comfort in summer days (a bat can eat 2,000 insects in a single night!), and who pollinates important plant and tree species, like banana, mango, and the cocoa tree!

Enthusiastic high school students of partner institutions involved in the project’s activities focused on less known aspects of natural values, and through joint activities aimed at raising awareness about the importance of bats. Project activities included:

  • Documenting the perception about bats indifferent cultures;
  • A study on the presence of bats in the Rethel – Balikesir – Piatra Neamt (Munticelu cave) regions;
  • Inventory of roosts used for hibernation and reproduction;
  • Identifying and establishing protective measures;
  • Creation and installation of artificial roosts.

The documentation from various resources, the use of national and international teamwork, and enlisting the help of various communication tools were only the first stages in ….creating an international performance with choreography and aerobatics, put on staged in France in December 2015. On the local level, the team of students and teachers from the National College proposed three days of activities to the Piatra Neamț community, including a show for children and another one for adults, contests, movies, and workshops to familiarize the audience with the importance of bats. Everything was done in collaboration with bat protection associations from the country (The Luana’s Dream Foundation, the Romanian Bat Protection Association), and the help of local institutions. Reactions of participants were overwhelmingly dominated by a positive change in the attitude towards bats, the change of false stereotypes, as captured on video made by local students (in Romanian, with French subtitles):

Making-of the project:

And what about horses? The echoes of the project, that was ended a year ago, the unexpectedly motivating impact in the local community pushed us to continues with such projects. This time, together with the team of students and teachers of the “Calistrat Hogaș” National College and two high schools from France and Spain, we chose an imposing and impressive animal, which currently does not received the well earned attention, despite its importance in local and european cultural heritage: the horse. A new project ERASMUS+ in which theater and choreography will shed light on a common message, on the necessity of openness towards the environment and its treasures!