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The inaugural edition of EcoFest brought together more than 50 primary school kids from Prishtina who enjoyed many educational and recreational outdoor activities.

  The EcoFest, a celebration of environmental conservation and education, was kicked-off in a memorable and impactful way with the participation of students from two primary schools in Prishtina – “Qamil Batalli” and “Gjergj Fishta”. Led by the renowned alpinist Uta Ibrahimi, the enthusiastic group embarked on a scenic hike from the Gërmia National Park to the Bear Sanctuary, a journey through a lush forested area with the possibility of spotting local wildlife. Erlinda Sallauka, an expert ecologist with extensive knowledge of the area, provided the students with a wealth of information about the diverse flora and fauna that they encountered along the way. The students were fascinated by the many species of flowers and trees, and thrilled by the prospect of coming across local wildlife in their natural habitat. As they walked, they discussed various ways to protect and preserve the natural environment, exchanging ideas and opinions with one another. This educational aspect of the hike added an enriching layer to the experience, making it a highly interactive and immersive one. The students were fully engaged and absorbed in the information and the discussions, and the hike seemed to pass by in a flash. Upon arriving at the Bear Sanctuary, the students were treated to a delicious spread of food and refreshing drinks. They were then invited to watch the “Run for Sharr” documentary, a compelling and thought-provoking film that highlighted the importance of protecting endangered species and their habitats. As an additional activity, the students, together with the team at the Bear Sanctuary, participated in a hands-on tree-planting exercise in the yard. This activity not only helped to reinforce the importance of environmental conservation, but also provided the students with an opportunity to actively contribute to the preservation of nature. Overall, the EcoFest kick-off event was a resounding success, combining education, conservation, and hands-on activities to create a memorable and enriching experience for the students involved. It is sure to leave a lasting impact on their understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

The following day, the students from “Qamil Batalli” and “Gjergj Fishta” primary schools continued their EcoFest journey by heading to the Taukbahqe Park in Prishtina, located near the Gërmia Park. The day started with a fun and energizing warm-up session of exercises led by the talented trainer Erëza Vokshi. The students were fully engaged and ready for the next activity – painting and decorating waste-baskets. Working in coordination with “Hortikultura”, a company responsible for waste collection and management in Prishtina and surrounding cities, the students had the opportunity to actively contribute to the beautification and cleanliness of the city. They worked creatively and collaboratively to transform ordinary waste-baskets into eye-catching works of art, and then placed them in areas where they were most needed. To wrap up the day’s activities, the students participated in an inspiring workshop with Doruntina Ukimeri, a talented artist. With her guidance, the students created messages with environmental sayings, reflecting on the importance of environmental conservation and protection. They then placed these messages in strategic locations around the park, encouraging others to join in the effort to preserve our planet. Overall, the day was a perfect combination of physical exercise, creativity, and community service, demonstrating the importance of taking personal responsibility for the environment and working together to create positive change. The students left feeling empowered and inspired, ready to continue making a difference in their communities and beyond.

Even though the event lasted only 2 days, it was packed with numerous activities that involved more than 50 primary school kids in activities designed to put environmental protection to the forefront. With the conclusion of the first edition of the project, these primary school kids are now more aware of the environmental threats, and steps they can take to protect them, and made new friendships. EcoFest aims to educate and engage primary school children to exercise environmentalist practices through fun with sports, activities, and games practiced in nature. Through these activities, we influence the cultivation of a healthy mentality in the new generations. EcoFest is implemented by the Utalaya Foundation with the support of Municipality of Prishtina