An insight of the process from an idea to action. Cleaning the Kerkini Lake

     I still remember how it felt on 3rd of September when I came to the radio station for the first time. 

     I was in our project manager’s car, and I vaguely remember if I actually saw the other volunteers out on the street or it was just my mind playing with me. 

     The studio from the radio, somehow, felt very familiar, yet the reason why it felt like this is still unknown to me, but I remember how I was looking at the rest of the volunteers, and I’m not gonna lie, I was very scared, and excited, but a bit more scared. 

     No expectations. That’s what I told myself before joining the project, no expectations this time, and I’m so glad that was the mindset I started with. I can relieve the feeling of the unknown and, hopefully, I wasn’t the only one. It feels surreal how little knowledge I had about the radio and how many things I can do about it now. I feel like I went from zero to one hundred real quick. 

     I was super excited about my first radio broadcast and what I loved was how much interest I could have for it, like I actually planed many broadcasts – music and text – in advance, just because I adored the feeling I got by just being in the studio, and what really motivated me was when the project manager proposed my blueprint for the broadcast as a model for everyone. That was when I knew I could actually have a good impact on the project.

     Months passed by, activities, workshops, radio broadcasts and many other things that we did during the pandemic, but probably the most impactful outdoor activity that we did, considering the lockdown and covid regulations, was proposed by our Spanish volunteer, Lucila Piedra. 

     We have our weekly meeting every Tuesday from 11am, and they last as long as they need to, it may vary according to the time of the month and if it’s before, during or after the campaigns. Usually before the campaigns the meetings are shorter, and during they are longer, I’m not gonna lie, sometimes they are longer that they should be, but that’s just part of the job and a lot of great things can come up from brainstorming sessions and many things you see on our socials come from these meetings.

     After we are being presented the new campaigns, and especially if we get a bit of experience after a while, we can choose the campaign we want and we can prepare alone or with another volunteer, which makes the fun part, that being collaborating with someone you enjoy spending time with and sharing each other’s perspective it’s just incredible.

     Usually we prepare a lot for the campaigns, we create posters for the social medias, we announce it in advance, our audience must know what we plan to do, then we have everything prepared for the off-line, which can mean a workshop or whatever activity you can think of, as long as it respects the methodology and people have fun learning. 

     During the day of the campaign, our social media banners are always in accordance with the campaign running, and the feed of our accounts has to be full of content, from interactive instagram stories, to articles on mediart blog and especially facebook posts. And of course, the only thing that can never miss, that being the radio broadcast and for it we also have to prepare a radio spot a few weeks in advance of the actual dates of the campaigns so it can run daily on Rodon FM. 

     Lucy had an incredible idea about how we can make a small impact while respecting the covid regulation and having an outdoor activity, hence she proposed we might go and clean at the Kerkini lake, a lake that’s around 60 km away from Serres, and we had to do extra planning considering we needed transport. Yet, in no time, we found solutions as a team and we organized in groups going with different cars, at that time we were allowed to go only 3 people in a car. 

     She spoke with the manager of the lake and we got permission to come and clean with some other local volunteers, and I must admit, that experience changed a lot about how I perceive my trash, because even if I drop it by accident or not, I have no idea where it might end up, all I know is that I definitely don’t want it to get into a lake that ‘hosts 227 kind of birds, 76 of them are recorded in the National Red Catalogue, while at least 31 of them are protected by EEC’s Directive concerning wildlife. What makes an exceptional presence is the buffalo’s herd in the area, plus the one of the jackelo in the area of Kerkini lake. In the surrounding area of Kerkini lake there are at least 10 amphibian species (frogs, salamanders, tritons), five snail species, 19 reptile species (lizards, snakes, turtles) and a great variety of insects which play an important part in the food chain and contribute towards the biological resources of the lake. Human intervention usually retracts or takes negative action against the natural processes, Kerkini lake is a rare example, where gentle human handling had the exact opposite result.’

     You can check Lucy’s article about the Kerkini lake by clicking here.

     You can also find Lucy’s interview with the lake manager down below: 

© Lucila Piedra
© Lucila Piedra

Article wrote by Ionut-Marian Ionescu, Romanian volunteer in Praxis Greece.