29 April 2014 09:17

Primary school education packs that detail the importance of Oroklini Lake were recently unveiled as part of the EU funded LIFE project 'Restoration and Management of Oroklini Lake Special Protection Area', which is in its final year.
The packs - titled 'Education material for Oroklini Lake' - were prepared by members of Frederick University Conservation Unit in collaboration with the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute and the LIFE Oroklini project partners. They were presented to school teachers during a workshop earlier in April at the Voroklini Community Council building, where educators were guided on how to use the education pack, whilst the Minister of Education and Culture - Costas Kadis - also attended the workshop and gave a talk on Biodiversity and its significance for the island.
Designed to raise awareness on the importance of Oroklini Lake, as well as other conservation issues, the education packs include a story, games and worksheets and are aimed at primary children aged six to 12.
The content of the packs is linked with the Curriculum of Environmental Education for Sustainable Development, which officially applies in primary education and can also be applied in natural environments like Oroklini Lake.
Melpo Apostolidou - LIFE Oroklini Project Coordinator- says of the initiative: "The education pack is a key awareness raising material produced as part of the LIFE Oroklini project.
"We are very happy that children are now given the opportunity to learn about this wonderful wetland and its birds through their school activities.
"Oroklini Lake can act as an open classroom, not only for children but for adults as well and spring is an ideal season to experience the site."  
During the unveiling of the packs, the President of the Voroklini Community Council, Chrysostomos Parpounas said: "This education pack is one of the most important awareness raising actions on the significance of Oroklini Lake as it can also be combined with site visits where the public can use the infrastructure created as part of the project. We invite all the schools of Cyprus to visit Oroklini Lake for a living learning experience!"
The three-year, EU-funded LIFE project began in 2012 and is due to end in December this year. It is aimed at protecting this significant wetland and raising awareness of its value for biodiversity, both on a Cyprus and a pan-European level, as one of only seven natural wetlands in Cyprus.
The lake is a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EU Birds Directive, and a Site of Community Importance (SCI) under the EU Habitats Directive.
In total 190 bird species have been recorded at the site, but it is especially important for two bird species, the black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus (which favours the lake as its nesting site above any other area on the island), and the spur-winged plover Vanellus spinosus that nest there.
Cyprus holds more than 50% of the EU's breeding population of the spur-winged plover and on a local scale, Oroklini Lake is one of the top five areas in Cyprus for the reproduction of this species.
Other migratory birds include herons, flamingos and glossy ibis, as well as the pelican, which is a rare sight at the lake for only a handful of days on its way to Africa.
There have been a number of initiatives during the project's duration, such as a volunteer-based clean-up of the lake - which was particularly prone to illegally dumped waste, a photographic exhibition that showcased the landscape and wildlife of the lake throughout the year, and a 16-minute documentary titled 'Oroklini Lake - A Wetland of Pan-European Ecological Importance'.
An information kiosk was opened in February this year, and an Information Kiosk Officer was installed there in March. Earlier this month, the bird watch spot was also opened.
You can contact the Information Kiosk Officer to organise a school visit on: 97819636.
More information on the LIFE Oroklini project can be found at: www.orokliniproject.org, whilst the video can be viewed on: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrMUrTwqY4A.


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