In the mid-conference excursion, we plan a unique 'puszta' experience: we will have an easy half-day walk in the endless grasslands in the 'Csanád puszták' protected area. We visit several types of pristine Pannonian alkali habitats in the Körös-Maros National Park. We have the opportunity to see the vertical vegetation gradient typical of alkali open landscapes. The gradient involves loess steppes (6250 Pannonic loess steppic grasslands) on the highest and alkali steppes and marshes on lower elevations (1530 Pannonic salt steppes and salt marshes). Due to the continental forest-steppe climate, during our excursion in autumn, hopefully we will be able to see many flowering grassland specialist plants typical to open alkali mud surfaces (Heliotropium supinum), alkali steppes (Limonium gmelinii subsp. hungaricum and Prospero parathetycum) and loess steppes (Sternbergia colchiciflora). During the excursion we will also visit the White Lake ('Fehér-tó') in Kardoskút, which is one of the most beautiful white-water alkaline lakes of the Great Plain. In the basin of the lake, we can walk through the stands of Suaeda pannonica, Puccinellia distans subsp. limosa and Tripolium pannonicum. The mid-conference excursion will be guided by the excellent botanists Ábel Molnár and Judit Kapocsi.
After the mid-conference excursion, we will organise the Grassland Party at the Conference Venue. We serve traditional Hungarian delicacies and introduce some parts of the Hungarian folk art to the participants. We will also continue the nice tradition of the Grassland Auction: we ask participants to bring some grassland-related items from their home countries, and we organise an auction from these items.
Participation on the mid-conference excursion and the grassland party is included in the registration fee.
Alkali and loess grasslands of the Körös-Maros National Park. Photos: Ábel Péter Molnár.
Post Conference Excursion
After the conference, we organize a three-day-long post-conference excursion to explore the natural beauties and conservation challenges of the grasslands in the Kiskunság National Park.
During the excursion, we explore a wide range of grassland habitats:
- alkaline grasslands with flowering Limonium gmelinii subsp. hungaricum, Tripoliums pannonicum, and Prospero parathetycum
- sandy forest steppe, habitat of the strictly protected Dianthus diutinus and several other rare species
- spontaneously recovered dry and wet grasslands on former sand mines, with several rare species such as Cyperus pannonicus, Blackstonia perfoliata subsp. serotina, and Suaeda pannonica
- sandy grasslands with large stands of Colchicum arenarium
- moving sand dunes - the Hungarian 'desert'
- long term rainfall exclusion experiment in the Kiskun LTER site of the Centre for Ecological Research
- well preserved large stands of lowland sandy forest, and species-rich meadow steppes in the Peszér-Adacs area
- a large alkali steppe with impressive geomorphology in Mikla puszta
- birdwatching, with a good chance to see Eurasian Cranes, migrating waterfowls, Great Bustards and several other bird species
The excursion departs from Szarvas on 29th September, early in the morning, and we finish at the railway station at Kecskemét railway on the afternoon of 1st October. From Kecskemét, there is a direct train connection to Budapest Airport. For those departing on Monday, we recommend booking an accommodation in Kecskemét for Sunday night as it is a very nice city worth exploring.
Fees: the post-conference excursion costs 83,000 HUF (approximately 220 Euros). This is an all-inclusive excursion: the fee includes transportation by bus, all meals, accommodation and a vine tasting event.
The maximum number of participants is limited to 40 persons (to match the capacity of the bus and the available accommodation).
In case of any questions related to the post-conference excursion, you can contact the local organizers (email@example.com) and/or András Kelemen (firstname.lastname@example.org), the chief organizer of the excursion.
Open landscapes and grassland species of the Kiskunság National Park. Photos: Anddrás Kelemen.