Trout in and out of the classroom

The Albanian Alps and their inhabitants heartily welcomed EcoAlbania’s team when they joined the “Balkans Peace Parks Project (B3P)”. For this occasion they had developed some special educational activities for the children of the Valbona Valley communities. This event was a further step in giving shape to the plans for protecting the wild, native trout as one of the most important indicator species in this valley, and its wildlife in general. And, what’s more, it aimed at raising awareness of the importance of preserving this patrimony for the sake of the future and prosperity of the people living in the valley (as has been explained in one of our previous blogs).

From July 27th to 29th a series of indoor and outdoor activities were organized. Both aimed at showing the children “the (hidden) values of their very natural heritage”. Inside the classroom presentations were given as to explain river and trout ecology, meanwhile emphasizing the importance of preserving nature as a most essential if not the crucial feature of the valley. Thereafter, depending upon their ages, the children were divided into groups, and took part in playful activities in the outdoors. These meant to bond with nature, stimulate their imagination and their critical thinking too, e.g. by listening to the sounds of nature, touching and memorizing objects in nature (blindfolded), and even writing a plea for the wildlife. “Nature is precious as homeland; it’s genuine, clean, and beautiful,” stated one of the girls in her essay when expressing her commitment to stand up for nature, the Valbona nature that makes her feel proud and happy.

The educational approach employed was inspired by the one used in Castilla y León, Spain, last Fall by AEMS Rios con Vida (Spain). Currently CTCF is working on this project with miscellaneous partners and institutions. The outcome and experiences in Albania will help to further develop a “universal” format. The ultimate “deliverable” is expected –after final testing in Germany and (most probably) in Iran- next Spring.

Photo: Olsi Nika