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Autumn Clean Up Camp in Albania

albania121 young people from Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia gathered in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park in Albania as a response to the EDEN center call for organizing an Autumn Clean Up Camp there from 5 to 12 September 2011.

"The main aim of our activity was to raise awareness on the importance of forests and responsibilities of our actions in our lives and we are happy to say that after a hard work we succeeded!" - says Endrit Shima, Project coordinator, EDEN center.

The youngsters engaged themselves in 6 clean up direct actions in the Forest area and the lagoon area. The Divjaka Municiplity supported the action with the clean up tools and transporting the wastes. Just after the summer season and irresponsible tourists this action was more than a necessity for the area.

albania2Raising community awareness on protecting their park and on importance of ecotourism and sustainable development in the area was considered an important part of the clean up camp. Divided into four groups our participants spread into the inhabited areas, communicated with inhabitants, distributed the promotional materials and through posters invited people for open discussion classes on environmental protection issues such as importance of forests, biodiversity, waste, what we can improve etc.

The Divjaka local Nature Guides invited participants to explore the beauties of the area through a guided tour in nature. They choose the longest itinerary which gave to participants the opportunity to visit the forest, the lagoon and the beach of the area. During the tour they were engaged in different environmental games. These local Nature Guides are the newest group of nature guides in Albania and they are the example of what we can achieve if we put good will in it. At the end of the guided tour, participants all together planted a tree to mark the importance of forests and the YEE forest campaign. The tree became part of the itinerary of the nature guides' guided tour as a stopping point where they will give information about the importance of forests, the history of this tree, the experience with the autumn clean up camp and its achievements.

Sharing knowledge and their experience through non-formal education methods, getting different trainings in environmental topics, working together in developing raising awareness actions in their cities and on methods how to transmit this experience were other aspects of this autumn clean up camp.

"We had fun, we learned, we cleaned, we raisesd awareness, we did the first steps to bring Divjaka-Karavasta national Park back to life!" - says Edizano Gjini, one of the participants.

This activity was possible under financial support of the American Embassy in Tirana, European Youth Foundation program and Zelena Akcija organization.