Morskie oko (TNP Poland)

Annual meeting in Zakopane – Updates, planning, bears and enthusiasm

Date: 16.05.2024

Our annual LECA project meeting took place amidst the stunning landscapes of the Tatra Mountains in Poland, offering a perfect blend of productive discussions and breathtaking natural beauty. Held in a serene setting far removed from our usual virtual confines, the meeting was a refreshing change, providing us with an opportunity to connect with colleagues yet again face-to-face.

The agenda of the meeting was twofold: reviewing the progress and current status of our project activities and deliverables, and meticulously planning the tasks that lie ahead. Our discussions were lively and comprehensive, covering every important aspect of the project. The in-person interactions fostered a deeper sense of closeness and collaboration, energising us with renewed motivation to achieve our goals.

One of the most memorable highlights of our gathering was the field trip to Morskie Oko, a crystal-clear lake nestled in the heart of the Tatra National Park (Poland). As we hiked through the trails, we were greeted by panoramic views as well as signs of beaver activity. The thrill of potentially encountering wildlife added an element of excitement. At one point, we were close to spotting a female bear, a key subject of our study, who is equipped with one of our telemetry collars. Although we didn’t see her, we did find bear scat, which we carefully collected for analysis—one of the crucial activities of our project.

The scenic trek and the tangible evidence of the bear’s presence underscored the importance of our work, reinvigorating our commitment to the project’s success. The meeting was further enlivened by interviews our colleagues gave to local media, highlighting our research and its significance. These interactions helped raise awareness and support for our project within the local community.

As we wrapped up our meeting, the collective excitement was palpable. The blend of productive sessions, the inspiring natural setting, and the unique field experiences left us all looking forward to advancing our project activities with enthusiasm. The Tatra Mountains provided not just a picturesque backdrop, but also a perfect environment for reflection, planning, and team bonding.