This International scientific and practical conference PROTECTED KARST TERRITORIES EDUCATION AND TRAINING (September 23-26, 2015, Sofia, Bulgaria) is the most important one, the summarizing event of the Forum ProKARSTerra`2015. It is organized by the Experimental Laboratory of Karstology of the National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who are the hosts of the conference.

The conference is in memory of the distinguished Polish Geographer, World-wide recognized karstologist and great friend of Bulgaria, Professor Marian Pulina (1936-2005). He had large contribution to training of a lot of karstologists and speleologists, including through International schools, which he initiated, such as winter Speleology school in Poland (1975), the International School of Nature protection in Karst regions (1991), etc.

The main themes of the conference focus on the contemporary problems of education and training for and through the karst. Special attention is paid to the karst as an educational resource with unlimited creative potential in the development of interdisciplinary links.

The conference program program is very rich. At the Scientific conference 40 papers were delivered, two of them plenary reports, namely: Education strategy ProKARSTerra-Edu and its initiatives (P. Stefanov D. Stefanova) and Marian Pulina founder of Polish-Bulgarian karst initiatives (A. Tyc, P. Stefanov). Within the Scientific session 7 meetings were held (2 of them field sessions, with 5 reports) and 1 poster session (6 papers). The field sessions were held during a field trip in the Panega and Karlukovo karst regions in Bulgaria (September 25, 2015).

It is impressive, that 4 of the papers delivered at the scientific session were offered by students (8), who participated in the Traveling school of Karst in Bulgaria. They made exciting presentations, which showed the great educational and emotional result from the Traveling school. Similar results were reported in 6 more reports from teachers, who participated.

The closing plenary session-discussion, which included a Round table for International initiatives, voted an important resolution_???????. It summarized the results from the Conference and the ProKARSTerra2015 as a whole, and offered a number of ideas and good practices for more effective introduction of the karst topic in education and in the development of the Life-long learning strategy.

The main part of the Conference papers (24, in Bulgarian and English), by 34 authors have been published in a special edition: International Scientific-Practical Conference Protected Karst Territories Education and Training (Bulgaria, Sofia, September 23-26, 2015) - Proceedings. NIGGG-BAS, Sofia, pp. 163. ISBN 978-954-9531-26-8 (on electronic media).

It is encouraging that the Bulgarian initiatives, developed along the educational strategy ProKARSTerra-Edu_???????. received strong support at the Conference in Sofia. One of them made the focus of all Forum events and deserves special attention. It was the proposal to work for declaring an International Year of Karst. If with joint efforts it becomes a widely accepted cause, we will surely contribute to make karst environments worthily appreciated in todays globalizing world.




Dear participants in ProKARSTerra`2015,
Dear friends,

On behalf of the organizers please accept our sincere thanks for your active participation in the Conference and its accompanying events. It was an honor and pleasure to be together and discuss the topics that excite us, namely karst, caves and people associated with them.

We hope that the Conference in Sofia was the new beginning of more active cooperation and subsequent joint initiatives. Coming soon an invitation to the next International scientific-practical forum in Bulgaria - ProKARSTerra`2019.