A new reality for outdoor activities: The example of Lake Kerkini 

After the first meeting of Connectivity back in September, our members came back refreshed, inspired with many ideas for outdoor activities to implement in the local community. The thing is that the “outdoor” tends to be a forbidden activity under the new circumstances and the second pandemic wave came to our lives. But we didn’t stop there, digital tools helped us to stay in touch, disseminate the results of the first meeting and organize our next moves.  

Fortunately the opportunity came, and a call for an outdoor activity was happening. Under the halcyon days of February and taking as occasion the World Wetlands Day (2/2) we had an official invitation for the cleaning of Lake Kerkini, one of the most important wetlands in Europe and a place of unique natural beauty. 
So in the sunny morning of 04/02 the volunteers of Praxis and young people from the local area of Serres visited the Information Center of Lake Kerkini. We started with a historical briefing about the area and the species that are living there. 
Some info first: 
Lake Kerkini is an artificial reservoir in Central Macedonia, Greece that was created in 1932 on the site of what was previously an extremely extensive marshland. Lake Kerkini is now one of the premier birding sites in Greece and has been declared as a National Park. Also is the house of 300 rare and protected bird species. (more at http://kerkini.gr/?lang=en)

After that the cleaning was about to begin. The 13 volunteers managed to clean an area of 1000m2  around the shore and fill  around 20 professional garbage bags. Among their findings, plastic bottles ,aluminum cans and even some nets. After 1 hour and half the place was looking cleaner and the smiles under the masks was the main feeling. All bags now had one destination. Recycle. 
With that activity we managed to combine outdoor activities with environmental education and strengthen the bonds of the local community. It was really a good opportunity to learn a few things about the local history of the area and at the same time setting the example for changing the habits about the environment. 
We hope this action to be the first of many to come and keep being creative and productive. We have to keep going and “connect” the local community with the people in need so inclusion could be achieved.  Until then we adapt and continue.