World Wetlands Day in Opuzen Elementary School


On World Wetlands Day, celebrated annually on February 2nd - marking the signing of the Ramsar Convention, LIFE for Mauremys promoted this year's motto - "Wetlands and Human Well-being."

The Public Institution for the Management of Protected Natural Areas of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County organized a workshop for 16 students at the Opuzen Elementary School, joining numerous other promotional activities taking place worldwide. Through play, Opuzen elementary students learned about the importance and benefits of wetlands, as well as the species living in them.

One of these species is the strictly protected Balkan Terrapin, facing its greatest threats from the degradation and loss of freshwater habitats. Wetlands are disappearing rapidly, primarily due to pollution, drainage, and conversion into agricultural areas. Globally, around 87% of wetlands have disappeared in the last 300 years, leading to the loss of numerous benefits such as groundwater replenishment, water filtration and purification, flood and erosion control, carbon dioxide sequestration, and their intrinsic natural beauty, which can enhance the tourism offerings of any region.

The 3rd-grade students had the opportunity to learn more about the conservation and protection of the protected, endangered, and rare Balkan Terrapin living in wetlands in their county. They learned about its habits such as feeding, basking, appearance, egg-laying, and survival mechanisms in adverse conditions. Special emphasis was placed on responsible behavior in nature and the preservation of natural values. The workshop was concluded with practical activity using an educational coloring map and cutting out models of Balkan Terrapins.

As part of the LIFE for Mauremys project, the quality of the Balkan Terrapin habitats will be improved in the locations: Delta of the Neretva River, Majkovi, Konavle Field, and the southeast part of the Pelješac Peninsula (Ston Field) within the European ecological network Natura 2000. The Neretva River Delta is also one of the five areas in the Republic of Croatia listed on the Ramsar list and represents an internationally recognized wetland covering an area of 12,742 hectares.



Date of publication: 12 of March 2024

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