The wetland education activity organised by MedINA, the Management Body of the Messolonghi lagoon (FDLMES) and the Secondary Education Directorate of Etoloakarnania and was completed with great success.The three day educational activity was organised on the occasion of the World Wetlands Day (WWD) for the students of the local High School of Katohi and it was based on the educational material of the Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet) and specifically its role playing game on wetland management, created in 2011.
The educational activity unfolded over three days; the first day the environmental education officer from FDLMES and Lily Mordechai from MedINA visited the local school and informed and discussed with the students the values and functions of wetlands, as well as their important role in safeguarding us from disasters which is this year’s WWD theme. On WWD the students visited the Messolonghi lagoon and received a guided tour by FDLMES during which they got the opportunity to do birdwatching as well as visit a traditional fishing facility and discuss with the fishermen.
On the third day, FDLMES and MedINA visited the local High School again, to play with the students the role playing game which lasted three school hours. In groups of five the students took on the roles of fishermen, stockbreeders, farmers, investors, scientists, environmental organisation representatives and citizens’ association. After preparing their roles and arguments, the students collectively discussed how to manage their fictional wetland based on a specific scenario. The students very passionately defended the interests of their assigned stakeholder and attempted to find common ground and solutions. In this way, as descried by their teacher, they experienced how personal interests can often cloud our decisions and make us go against the common good as well as the difficulties of reaching common decisions on a shared resource. She also added that ‘overall the students felt that through this activity they had gained knowledge; they loved their place a little more and felt more responsible for the conservation of their unique ecosystem’.
The educational activity was organised as an investment on the future citizens of this important wetland area and was based on the premise that education is a key agent of sustainable positive change within a societal context and crucial in creating a new generation that learns the values of democracy, the principle of consensus as well as love and appreciate their natural and cultural heritage. The role playing game achieved its aim and experientially demonstrated to the students the complexity of managing shared natural resources as well as the value of dialogue, science and team work.