The first Kornati Eco-camp was successfully completed!.
From June 14 to 18, 2023, the first Eco-camp Kornati took place in the Kornati National Park on the location of the island of Levrnaka.
Eco-camp Kornati is the first edition of the ecological-educational project initiated by the St. Roko Diving Club from Bibinje, and accepted by all the partners in turn, the Murter association Argonauta, as the project holder, and the partners: JU NP Kornati, as the host together with the Diving Club Murter-Kornati, and Zadar partners the City Society of the Red Cross Zadar and the Technical Culture Association of the Zadar County with the Zadar Astronomical Association and guests the Croatian Association of Ship Makers.
The initiative was announced in the Argonauta association as a project and submitted for financing to tenders of the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency and the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds – Islands Sector. Donors recognized the value of the project and approved the financing, and this winter an implementation plan was made, which was supposed to happen in May, but due to unstable weather, we still waited for June which coincided with the end of the 2023/24 school year.
The camp was conceived as a combination of ecological actions to clean up the seabed with an inspection of the seabed for invasive and endangered species, as well as educational content for elementary and high school students in the areas of biodiversity, nature protection, ship modeling, astronomy, and first aid.
While hard-working divers, about 20 of them, are members of RK Sv.Roko Bibinje and RK Murter-Kornati, with the help of employees of JU NP Kornati from boats and other volunteers from the coast, were cleaning the undersea of the most cut Kornati cove Lojena and Anica, 22 students of Vjekoslav Kaleb Elementary School from Tisno and 20 students of Antun Vrančić High School in Sibenik had various educational workshops at the camp in Levrnaca.
UNDERWATER CLEANING ACTIONS
During the duration of the camp, we carried out three eco-actions to clean the seabed on the island of Levrnaka.
The first was about half of the anchor buoys for nautical tourism in Lojena Bay and 12 bags of waste were removed. It was mostly about glass packaging, pieces of textiles that fell off the ships (towels, clothes, swimwear…). A lot of bottles of various alcoholic beverages and glasses were collected around the buoy.
The second action was carried out at the location around the remaining buoys, which are deeper in the bay, and the situation was almost the same as in the previous action. We wonder if sailors who anchor on buoys actually throw most of the waste under the buoys on purpose.
The third campaign was carried out in the bay of Anica, near the port where tourist boats from surrounding towns dock and bring a large number of tourists on one-day trips, so the collected waste is in accordance with that, discarded plastic packaging, valuable items from ships, parts of ropes and cables and fishing equipment, and several car tires. At this location, 3 cubic meters of waste were removed.
The type and amount of waste are in line with expectations, significantly less compared to locations on the coast. Still, given that it is a national park, more should be done to raise awareness among visitors and the rules of behavior in the protected area.
Two actions were carried out by RK St. Roko, and members of RK Murter-Kornati joined in the third. The leader of the actions was an experienced diver, Đani Iglić from the Republic of Croatia. St. Roko and a total of 20 volunteer divers participated.
6th-grade elementary school students from Tisno enjoyed the workshop called “Nature as inspiration” whose goal was to encourage children and teachers to use nature as an “open classroom” full of knowledge, to learn how to listen and decipher nature, to encourage them to look for inspiration in nature, teach them how nature can help them in their daily care of physical and mental health and finally show children how nature encourages cooperation and encourage them to altruism themselves. The workshop was designed and conducted by Argonauta’s member and professional associate, Ivana Marin, master’s degree in marine ecology.
Member of the RC of St. Roko, Alen Petani, a long-time enthusiast of underwater protection and a connoisseur of Adriatic malacology, designed a malacology workshop that enriched the students’ knowledge and surely stimulated interest and love for researching the living world in the Adriatic sea, “In recent times, young generations, to a greater extent, have lost contact with nature, and thus an interest in research, studies, and the development of science. If this workshop contributes to the interest of young people in science, even a small percentage, we will be satisfied. Malacology deals with the study of mollusks of several classes (shells, snails, cephalopods, copepods, and mollusks), which are very important for the maintenance of the ecosystem, and are becoming very endangered due to climate change and constant pollution,” said Petani.
The ship model workshop “Mali škver” was conducted by Ognjen Andrić from the Croatian Association of Ship Model Makers from Rijeka as guests of the Zadar County Technical Culture Community. The aim of these workshops was to animate students in activities related to the preservation of Croatian historical, cultural, and national identity and encourage the development of technical knowledge and skills by creating a ship model.
The astronomy workshop was conducted by members of the Zadar Astronomical Association, Dalibor Bučić, and Goran Maržić. The workshop started with a small introduction to astronomy and a practical part where the students could learn and experience observing the Sun with a telescope. The students were very interested, but due to the lack of time and a handful of content in this part, many more exciting topics remained to be covered, such as types of telescopes, how to choose a place for astronomical observations, how to navigate the night sky and observing the night sky with telescopes – for what the students will have to spend the night in the eco-camp, what we are planning for the next editions of the Kornati Eco-camp.
Members of the City Society of the Red Cross Zadar set up their tent in the camp where the students of Sibenik’s Antun Vrančić High School and employees of the Kornati JU NP renewed their knowledge of first aid. The well-known, unpleasant events with the tragedy of the firefighters in Kornati in 2007, and various world and national crises (pandemic, earthquake, war) encouraged us to enrich the educational part of the project with first aid workshops, and to teach children and other participants this important skill in crisis situations and make them aware of the dangers of being in nature, encouraging responsibility towards themselves and others.
Also, during the Eco-camp on the coast, next to Lojena Beach, a significant amount of waste was collected, which was left by day visitors on the beach itself. Diving Club Sv.Roko proposed to JU NP Kornati that an educational exhibition of photos taken during the Eco-camp with the message ‘I live here too – don’t throw waste in my home’ be placed along the path on Levrnaca that leads from the pier to the beach. With this, we hope in the future to influence the tourists who come to the beach every day and warn them about the necessity of responsible behavior in the nature of the protected area.
During the award dives and the eco actions themselves, several new species of mollusks were found and photographed, which were recorded for the first time and their presence was confirmed for the first time in Kornati. In this way, the list of species of mollusks of Kornati was expanded, which is a multi-year project that the RC of St. Roko is working on for JU NP Kornati. Thus, Eco-camp Kornati contributed to the research of the living world of the Kornati underwater world.
Find the list of new and/or rare species found here.
OTHER PROJECT ACTIVITIES
By the end of the project, a pdf booklet with educational content will be published as a manual for education on the topics covered by the project, and a video will be produced that will promote the goals and results of the project. Also, the conclusions of the Round Table held at the beginning of the project on the topic “Waste in the sea – whose concern is it?”, together with the Report on the state of waste in the sea in the cleaned locations, will be sent to donors.
We wish Eco-camp Kornati many more editions in the future, to regularly clean the Kornati seabed, educate children and young people about biodiversity, interrelations in nature, and skills needed in crisis situations, connect different organizations and inform and educate the public about the need to protect and preserve the marine environment.
Rich activities and positive experiences of partners and participants encouraged us to already think about new activities of Eco-camp Kornati for the coming years.
We would like to thank our partners, collaborators, and donors, as well as all participants, students, their companions, and volunteers.