From the 1st to 9th of September, Murter was the center for the main activity of the SOS - Save Our Seas project. The main aim of this international sea-environment training course was to improve skills and competences of 28 participants from Europe who will act as youth trainers and spread awareness and knowledge of the importance of the marine ecosystem to the young people in their communities.
Association Argonauta organized an international training course Save Our Seas (SOS), which was held in Murter from 1st to 9th of September 2017. The international training course brought together 28 marine enthusiasts from Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Latvia and Croatia, who have exchanged experiences and views connected to the marine environment topic , as well as ways of linking formal education (actual facts, scientific methods, research) with non formal education (e.g. games, presentations, workshops).
The training course's aim was to improve the skills and competences of all participants in order to continue to work as young trainers in the future and to become specialists in the transfer of knowledge, skills and competences who will encourage members of community to successfully deal with challenges that seas and oceans are facing today.
The nine-day program was designed to provide participants with a variety of approaches to non-formal education at an experiential level that could be used in their work. Through various games, presentations and workshops, the participants were introduced in variety of non-formal education. As the ultimate outcome, participants shared experience, learned knowledge, creativity and created 6 workshops related to the importance of marine environment.
As the best way of learning is learning from own experience, participants for instance had to calculate the carbon footprint created by their own arrival on the project in Croatia, or the imprint of food they ate for lunch. They also needed to explore what some items are made of and if they can be replaced, recycled and whether they are existed 100 years ago.
Participants also created the "Ecological Collage" in which they presented ecological problems that they face in their countries and associated them with problems at a global scale. With the method of systems thinking they were reminded to always keep in mind the "bigger picture" behind each problem, instead of focusing on the parts.
With systems thinking method, presented by the “Iceberg model”, participants explored topics like unsustainable fisheries, global warming and pollution and went deeper in searching for patterns, structures and mental models that lead to the global issues we are dealing with.
Furthermore, participants had the opportunity to see how scientific methods can be adapted and used in popularization of science in order to invite wider public to be more concerned about the marine environment. Participants were introduced with the scientific method (underwater visual census method) and they needed to find differences in the composition, number and size of marine organisms in the unprotected (beach Slanica) and protected area (NP Kornati). The participants were surprised that anchoring in the NP Kornati was allowed, which is particularly harmful to the marine meadow of Posidonia and the potential spread of invasive algae.
Through various games, participants explored the impact of tourism on the marine environment and the coastal area in Murter, they also find out the problems that locals are facing with. Participants particularly noticed houses with unfinished fascades, contaminated underwater in the harbor, too many ships in Hramina harbor, no water drainage and sewerage systems, apartment buildings that ruin the landscape and construction on the Slanica beach, which is overcrowded.
In nine-day program we emphasized the idea that our seas are part of us, not the never-ending resources that are here just to provide us better life. We hope that participants will keep expanding their knowledge, organize local actions, bring changes and ultimately make more people hear the sound of seas that silently scream - SOS! (the booklet)