We are a wildlife conservation organisation based in Zagreb, Croatia. Our goals are the preservation and restoration of natural ecosystems (mainly focusing on birds, but also on other wild animals and their habitats), building and nurturing a relationship between humans and nature and ensuring harmony between economic development and nature conservation by supporting the development of industries which promote the country’s natural heritage.
Among other work across the whole country, we run an annual ornithological bird ringing camp in the wild mountains of Učka Nature Park.
Bird ringing is a common method of studying wild birds. At the camp we catch birds in long, static nets called ‘mist nets’, then put a specially designed metal ring on their leg with a unique number before releasing them again as quickly as possible. Details of the bird, such as its species, weight, wing length, and age are also recorded and all of the information is kept in a database. The aim is that if the bird is caught again somewhere else, the unique ring number can be read and the new details of the bird recorded.
From recapturing ringed birds we can discover a vast range of information about them, helping us to better understand them. We can learn about their migration routes – where they travel throughout the year and how they get there, how long they live for, and much more.
This information can be used to inform future nature conservation and protection actions.
We need volunteers to help us with the day-to-day running of the camp and support the ringing activities!
Help with Eco Projects
You will have a unique opportunity to spend time immersed in the beautiful and peaceful setting of Učka Nature Park. With the surrounding area consisting of ecologically diverse forested mountain slopes and a wildflower-rich meadow, this can certainly provide a fascinating and fulfilling experience for those interested in wildlife and natural landscapes.
Bird watchers are especially encouraged; during the camp there are many fantastic bird species migrating through the area.
During your free time you have the chance to explore the local area and experience the diverse wildlife.
For those interested in gaining real-life experience in bird ringing, this opportunity is invaluable. Our team of highly experienced staff and volunteers are ready to show you how to ring birds, however WE CANNOT GUARENTEE THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO HANDLE OR RING THE BIRDS. Bird ringing is a highly specialised skill and there is a risk that birds can get injured if not handled correctly. Volunteers who stay for more that a week may be given the opportunity to handle the birds under supervision if they prove their capability. Bird ringing is not for everyone so please don't be dissapointed if you don't get a chance to handle the birds.
We will be happy to share our specialist knowledge about the natural world, making this an excellent opportunity for you to learn about the rich nature of Učka, as well as nature conservation efforts in Croatia and across Europe.
You don’t need to attend for the whole camp, but if you would like to try to handle the birds, it takes a long time to learn so we recommend you stay for as long as possible to make it worthwhile.
Cultural learning opportunities will be abundant. Our camp is run by Croatians, but is regularly attended by volunteers from across Croatia and many other European countries. This provides an excellent opportunity to discuss our similarities and differences, exchange language, and find out about different ways of life. There is certainly the opportunity to meet other travelers and nature lovers, for networking or to make new friends.
At the camp we may also cook typical Croatian cuisine and make visits to local places of cultural interest.
The camp also provides an exceptional opportunity to escape from the stress of city life. You can choose to exchange the day-to-day comforts of modern life for the luxury of switching off your mobile phone and enjoy living in the moment. Our camp on Učka is very remote and peaceful, the perfect place to relax during your free time.
You will be able to join our passionate team, working together through the day, then resting around the campfire in the evenings.
We will make regular visits to the nearby beach to swim in the sea.
Everyone is welcome to join the Camp, regardless of your previous experience. All we ask is that you come with a cooperative attitude, willing to work, and ready to have respect for our special place and the wild animals with which we will be sharing it. In exchange, we offer you the opportunity to observe bird ringing and learn about the plants, animals, and nature of Učka Nature Park.
Join us from 17th August to 4th September 2021 for our ornithological Camp where we will be bird ringing by mist-netting, an important method of studying our bird populations.
Because of the increasing demand each year, we may not be able to welcome everyone the same days. Arrivals may be organised Tuesdays and Saturdays.
We will need help with general camp tasks including chopping firewood, preparing food, cleaning, and maintaining the campsite.
Every few days we visit a nearby town to buy food supplies for the camp fire. Food is cooked and shared together with all the volunteers at the camp. Help with cooking, as well as collecting and chopping firewood is more than welcome! Since we do not have a fridge, meals are typically meat-free.
Kids are welcome.
Dogs will not be allowed to run free, they will need to be tied up at the camp as they can pose a risk to the nature around the camp. This camp may not be so fun for dogs.
Help us monitor birds and protect biodiversity!
What is our camp like?
Accommodation is in tents. There are a few available tents provided by the camp organisers. We ask that you bring your own tent if you can, especially if you are planning a longer visit, because we only have a limited number of tents and would like to save them for those who really need them. Please contact us before you come to let us know if you will need a space in a tent.
Our water supply of drinking water is limited and should be used carefully. There are no showers at the camp, but you will be able to wash.
Since our rainwater supply depends on weather conditions, we have to be careful and that is why it is possible to take showers once in three days.
The toilet is in nature and consists of a shovel, the forest, and a basic moveable ‘toilet chair’.
We have a limited electricity supply from a small solar panel array, so it is only suitable for charging small electrical equipment such as mobile phones or cameras.
Weak phone/internet signal
Mobile phone signal and internet coverage is present but mostly very weak and unreliable. Occasionally signal disappears completely at the Camp location and in that case finding it requires a short walk uphill.
Our daily schedule is that we open the mist nets before dawn each day (usually around 05:00) and then spend the morning checking the nets for birds every 45 minutes. Between checks, the caught birds will be ringed and released as quickly as possible. At 11:00 we close the nets and have a break across midday until 16:00.
This break is free time and you can do whatever you like once the camp chores are completed. Some days we may go to a nearby beach, go hiking, or hold interesting educational activities. From 16:00 the nets are opened again and we will be checking them every 45 minutes and ringing birds until sunset.
How can I get to the Camp?
Travelling by public transport
We can pick you up by car from Sveta Jelena or Mošćenička Draga during our midday break (11:30-15:30) and we will be able to drop you there on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There are regular busses from Pula and Rijeka which can take you to one of these places. It’s important for us to know the exact time and place of your arrival so we can plan our day. If you arrive before or after the midday break you might have to wait, sometimes for quite a while, until we have time to pick you up.
Travelling by private car
If you are travelling from Brseč, you need to turn left at Sveta Jelena to follow cycle route no. 8 (marked by signposts biciklistička staza br. 8) uphill. This left turning is just before the restaurant Konoba Slamnjaki, so if you see it on your left you have missed the turn.
If you are travelling from Mošćenička Draga, the turn will be on your right just after the restaurant Konoba Slamnjaki, following the cycle route no. 8 (marked by signposts biciklistička staza br. 8) uphill.
At the first fork in the road turn right, still following the signpost for biciklistička staza br. 8.
At the second fork turn left onto a white gravel track, still following the signpost for biciklistička staza br. 8.
At the third fork, continue straight. DO NOT follow the signpost for biciklistička staza br. 8, which goes right.
Our camp is on the right, look out for parked cars.
Hiking to the camp
We recommend travelling by bus to a nearby town such as Sveta Jelena, Brseč, or Mošćenička Draga, then hiking from there. Please let us know what time you intend to arrive at the Camp so we can expect you. The route is about 4 km long.
Please feel free to contact us for more information.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Campervans are welcome but space on flat ground is limited, please ask us before travelling.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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