Summer camp III with children from Tepelena: The little explorers of Vjosa

Day 1, July 14, 2023. Children from Tepelena, aged 8-14 years became part of the summer camp organized at the Vjosa Research Center in Tepelena. This camp welcomed the little explorers not only to entertain and teach them, but also to raise awareness of the waste pollution in Vjosa River. They attended presentations and educational games inside and outside the premises of the Center.

The activity of the first day started with the exploration of biodiversity by the river. The children followed the movements of the species with magnifying glasses and drew what they saw. They learned to tell the time by the sun shadow and thanks to the cooperation of the Protected Areas Administration, they figured out how to observe with trap cameras. The children built two bird feeders and watched the birds as they approached the seeds. They were interested and also learned things they did not know before.

The presentation about rivers made them aware of their importance and how much their habits affect its protection and cleanliness. In the second half, the “River Games” took place.

In the first game “Banks-River”, children were divided into 2 groups and placed between two improvised lines “by the river”. They followed the commands “Banks” or “River”. This game introduced them to the elements of the river.

The game “Cross the river” aimed to stimulate the imagination of children. They imagined that they were standing on the river and had to cross it using the cards at their feet. Everyone had to find a way to move forward in the river without falling. The situations at the end were very funny and children discussed about solutions.

The game “Otters of Vjosa” brought together two teammates who would tie one leg with the other and have to walk in the direction of the “river”. This game paralleled the peculiarity of otters holding hands together so as not to be separated by the flow of the river. Vjosa’s acquaintance with the otter as a species amazed those who lived so close to them. The first day was ended with laughter and joy.

Day 2, July 15, 2023, started with a stone search in Vjosa followed by an outdoor activity: “Don’t get mad” game and making friendship bracelets.

In the game “Don’t get mad” children wrote in stones river elements,  species and started with two teams of “Stream” and “Against the Stream”. For one team the game started from the source of the river to the delta and the other team from the delta to the source. The punishments were the elements of the river and the rewards were the species. The purpose of the game was concluded as elements of the river and species photos could be identified by them.

The final activity of this summer camp was the creation of bracelets with elements from nature and especially Vjosa, which aimed to stimulate creativity in children. In 15 minutes, the children created very beautiful bracelets and gave them to a friend that they had created during the camp.

This summer camp ended successfully again this year with children who will grow up with beautiful memories but also with the message that nature must be protected and respected for years and generations to come.