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I spent my first week with Opwall in Krka National Park. I was looking forward to this experience as
it was my first time ever being involved in such a valuable and important project. Since the first day,
the staff members have been available, supportive, and understanding. This made settling in this new
environment easier than what I would’ve expected it to be. As the days passed by, this place started to
feel more like home than I ever would’ve expected it to be. The welcoming attitude of the staff
members highly contributed to this. Everyone is so united and friendly, making socialising easier. The
variety of people here is incredible and you can learn so much from each of them. It’s really
heartwarming to see the dedication and passion the staff members put into their work, and even more to see the positive attitude students adopt when exposed to new, adventurous activities.


Although the daily routine was similar each day, the surveys diversified greatly between one another,
becoming a new opportunity to learn and acquire many different skills. We were allowed to actively
engage with the surveys through data collecting, measurements taking, observing animal behaviour,
and marking these animals if needed. Not only were these surveys helpful in terms of acquaintance of
skills, they were also an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone by building a new routine and living new experiences.


There is an incredible biodiversity that can be explored here in Croatia, composed of both animals and plant species. I first handedly encountered species of animals that I had only seen on television and learned more about their lifestyle and behaviour. These surveys were often combined with informative lectures about animals and the threat they have been exposed to in recent years. Thanks to these lectures, I understood the importance of species of animals that are often undervalued and under-looked in our society, but who are necessary for the correct functioning of the ecosystem as we know it, such as invertebrates. Personally, my two favourite surveys were the bat survey and the habitat survey, although each survey was unique and entertaining in its own way. My interest for bats grew throughout this experience, during which I decided to carry out a school-related research project about bats. I am currently excitedly working on it and have to thank Morgan, the specialist who is in charge of the bat surveys, for her help and availability. The habitat survey was also extremely engaging, allowing me to carry out quadrat sampling, a technique I learned during this past year in High School. The specialists that took us out during this survey were very kind and optimistic, and I’m very thankful for that.


Overall, I am grateful for this experience, for the things I’ve learned and for the people that
contributed to making it unique.


Photos taken by Martina Peyrano

Title photo by Dave Bird

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Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
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