ARACNE Project Revitalizes the Interest in Bulgarian Sericulture

Even though the sericulture is an ancient and traditional activity in Bulgaria, in nowadays the young generation knowledge about it is too little. In the frame of ARACNE project the Scientific Center on Sericulture (SCS) in Vratsa, Bulgaria started in 2023 an ambitious program in dissemination of knowledge about sericulture in primary and middle schools students.

For the purpose  Prof. Dr. Panomir Tzenov – SCS – Vratsa’ director and ARACNE project coordinator in Bulgaria in early July 2023 determined a tutor/contact person, who was a staff of the National Agricultural Museum (NAM) in Sofia. During the period July – September the tutor searched for schools, teachers and classes to be involved. After that the tutor visited each school and had meetings with the director and the teacher (s) respective. Then 7 groups of students from primary and secondary schools in Sofia were formed.

The parents of each child signed in advance a declaration of informed consent that they agree the child to take part in the project ARACNE and pictures taken from those participations to be published on the project’s web site.

The contact person had a meeting with each group of children at the school in order to introduce the ARACNE project, the history of sericulture and the sericulture in general to them.

SCS-Vratsa signed a contract with a Bulgarian transport company which had a license for transportation of children. In October/November 2023 each group of students with the teachers visited the NAM, Sofia, focusing on the sericulture exhibition. On the same day after the visit to NAM each group of students together with the tutor and teachers visited also the SCS-Vratsa.

At the Center they had a meeting with the research staff, a lecture about the sericulture and also ARACNE project was presented to them, they visited the permanent exhibition “The history of sericulture in Bulgaria”, germplasm collection, old and modern silkworm rearing houses.

Especially for the students, silkworm eggs were hatched and larvae were reared in order to demonstrate to them silkworm larval rearing, cocoon spinning and moth emergence. Each group of students watched three movies: аn animated cartoons about the World sericulture history, a professionally made by the Bulgarian national TV documentary film about mulberry cultivation, silkworm rearing and cocoon production and an animated cartoons about the silkworm life cycle.

To each student and teacher, a special gift containing one dry cocoon and a small silk skein was provided.

The total number of students, that visited NAM and SCS in 2023, was 266.

In 2024 this activity continued and on 21st May a group of 45 students visited SCS-Vratsa where the children had a meeting with the director and research staff, a lecture about the sericulture, ARACNE project and the old traditional Bulgarian silkworm strain Yellow local was presented to them, they visited the permanent exhibition “The history of sericulture in Bulgaria”.

The students visited also the silkworm rearing houses where were especially introduced with the 3rd instar larvae of the Yellow local strain maintained at the Center.

The interest of most of the students in the sericulture was huge, they asked many questions and enjoyed in the company of the silkworms and mulberry fruits.

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