One Day in Europe: Bulgaria

One Day in Europe is a feature of EFG’s monthly newsletter GeoNews. Each month we travel to one of EFG’s national membership associations and discover their main activities and challenges. In August we visited Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian Geological Society (BGS) was founded in 1925 as a voluntary non-profit association that unites the people of Bulgaria engaged in the field of geology. Its mission and goals are to contribute to the geological studies and protection of the geological heritage of Bulgaria, to promote the contributions of its members and of national geology, to promote the prestige of the geological profession and protect the professional interests of geoscientists of different generations.

EFG delegate Eugenia Tarassova answered our questions.

Eugenia Tarassova is the President of Bulgaria Geological society. She was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She graduated from the University of Mining and Geology, Sofia, and later earned a PhD at the State University of Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Her career began at the Research Institute of Mineral Deposits of the Committee of Geology and Mineral Resources of Bulgaria, Sofia, and continued at the Institute of Mineralogy and Crystallography of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences as Associate Professor and Head of the Optical Microscopy Laboratory. The scientific interests are in mineral deposits, accessory minerals, archaeometry (pigments and plasters from the Thracian tombs), environmental protection (heavy metals in soils and sediments), technological mineralogy. She is author and coauthor of more than 100 scientific and popular scientific publications. Since 2005, Eugenia Tarassova is a member of the Governing Board of the Bulgarian Geological Society. In 2015, Eugenia Tarassova was elected President of the Bulgarian Geological Society.

How many members does your association represent? How did your membership evolve over the past few years and in which field of geology do your members mainly work?
The society comprises 246 regular members including 170 active members, 48 retired members and 28 student members. The prevailing numbers of the Society members are from the academic science and education (Bulgarian Academy of Science, Sofia University, University of Mining and Geology and others). Over the past few years there has been a steady negative tendency towards a decrease in student members due to economic problems in the country and to a fall in prestige of the geological profession. Simultaneously, the number of retired member has increased.

Could you introduce in a few words the people working for your association and their respective role?
The General Assembly is the supreme governing body of the Society. It elects for a period of two years the Governing Board, the President of the Governing Board (President of the Society) and the Chief Editor of the journal “Review of the Bulgarian Geological Society”. The Governing Board of the Society consists of 7 persons: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Chief Editor of the “Review of the Bulgarian Geological Society”, treasures, librarian and one member. Due to the existing tradition, the Governing Board includes representatives from a wide range of institutions related to geology.

Can you describe your working space and the atmosphere?
The office (office room and library room) of the Society is situated in Sofia in the building of the Geological Institute of Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The office is used for meetings of the Governing Board.

What was your association’s main achievement in 2016 and what is your focus in 2017?
The main achievements of the Society in 2016 were: organizing and holding the National Geological Conference with International Participation “Geosciences 2016” – the most important annual event in Bulgaria in the field of geology and authoritative forum of the geological community; getting an official improvement of the BGS candidature as regular member in the EFG; and signing the Cooperation Agreement (“Memorandum of Understanding”) between the Bulgarian Geological Society (BGS) and the Serbian Geological Society (SGS). Our focus in 2017 is the organization and holding of the National Conference with International participation “Geosciences 2017”.

What are currently the main challenges for your association?
Currently, the main challenge of the Society is to care for raising the prestige of the geological profession and for the protection of the professional interest of the geologists of different generations.

Do you promote geology towards society?
Yes, the Society representatives take participation as experts in electronic media, radio and TV programs on topical issues related to natural disasters, environmental protection, mining, etc. The Society also organizes geological trips to geological phenomena and deposits and to objects of geological and historical heritage for the Society members, their families and sympathizers.

Do you have any particular activities to attract young geoscientists?
Every year, the Society rewards talent students and PhD students for their scientific achievement in the field of geology. The young scientists also benefit from decreased membership fees to the Society. And The Governing Board of the Society is working on how to attract young geoscientists.

Are you in contact with decision makers at national level?
No.

Why in your opinion are National Associations important for geoscientists?
The National Associations consolidate their members according to their professional interests in the field of geology, disseminate their scientific and practical achievements, and are great places for professional discussions.

Why is the EFG important for geoscientists and how does your work and the work of the EFG complement and reinforce each other?
The Bulgarian Geological Society is a regular member of the EFG since the end of 2016. The Society expects to participate in the projects and activities of the EFG by providing the skills and potential of high qualified Bulgarian professionals working in different branches of geology.

Is there any experience/good practice from your association that you would like to share with other associations?
Organization and implementation of geological excursions as well as Christmas Parties of geologists are good practices for attracting young people, sympathizers of the Society and for ensuring that geologists of different generations meet.

In your opinion, how could EFG improve the knowledge about the activities carried out by other associations?
At this stage, I have not enough experience in the work with EFG and other National Associations, but I support some interesting suggestions of other interviewees in the monthly newsletter GeoNews.

What are your general hopes for the future of the profession of geologists and how can national and international associations help build that future?
I hope that our geologists will be much more involved in practical projects concerned with minerals extraction, water and energy utilization, construction works, environmental assessments and nature resources protection. Preservation of the geoheritage and promotion of the sustainable use of natural resources will be important tasks for the the national geology.

More information about the Bulgarian Geological society: http://www.bgd.bg/

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