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Holiday birdwatch in Halkidiki

- by Dabs Banner

'beach holidays in an ecological haven'.

Late season visitors to Halkidiki can join a two day birdwatching event to mark the success of the Sani wetlands. The resort of Sani will be familiar to those on holiday in Halkidiki as an area dedicated to the protection of birdlife. Visitors can join locals in activities that include birdwatching, guided tours, environmental activities, wildlife photography, and releasing birds into the wild.

The event, called 'Sani Green' is being staged at the Sani Resort Hotel in collaboration with the Hellenic Ornithological Society and Action for Wildlife.

The Sani Resort complex in Kassandra is a Greek holiday destination that boasts beach holidays in an ecological haven of 4,500 acres overlooking Mount Olympus and the Aegean.

The hotel company has undertaken an important environmental initiative by combining its luxury Halkidiki holiday resort with studying and protecting the birdlife of the Sani wetlands.

The Sani wetlands is a large expanse 110 hectares of wetlands next to the Sani hotel and home to over 200 species of birds, many of them rare and endangered.

This year is the 20th year of the EuroBirdwatch initiative, an annual birdwatching event in Europe and Central Asia. The initiative works to raise awareness of bird migration and promotes efforts to protect threatened bird species and their habitats.

When the land was purchased for hotel development in the 1960's the area was very sparse and badly neglected. Within 30 years, and despite the building of the hotel, the vegetation and habitat has much improved to offer a unique ecological contribution.

As well as several kilometres of miles of clearly marked forest paths the resort provides visitors with maps and guides to the local flora and fauna.

The four hotels in Sani Resort have been awarded the 'Green Key' accolade from the Foundation Environmental Education, for its work to promote ecological work in the tourism industry.

The Hellenic Ornithological Society is a conservation organisation set up for the protection of wild birds and their habitats in Greece.

It was founded in 1982 and its mission is to ensure a sustainable natural environment for birds and people. Its work includes a wide range of actions; from protection and research, through education, raising of public awareness and policy making.