Camping and monitoring picnic areas at Vidraru Lake!

Posted by: | Posted on: July 22, 2014

By Jessica from Greece

Vacations are a need of ours and free camping is our right, but protecting Nature is our duty! Keeping that in mind, we began a two-day trip to the mountains and forests of the Arges Region early in the morning on Saturday 12/7/2014, to take part in the “Monitoring picnic areas” project. This expedition was organized by Sir Eric and Ms Georgiana, two of the founders of the G.E.E.A. NGO and, apart from them, it included the three foreign volunteers, Hammad from Pakistan, Edison from China and Jessica from Greece.

As we had only spent less than a week at Pitest and Romania in general, we had to make some stops for sightseeing, during our roadtrip. The first one was at the Curtea de Arges Monastery, where we were introduced to the myth of the church’s head-builder. Later on, we stopped at the Vidraru Dam on the Arges River, so as to enjoy the breathtaking view, as well as to discuss this weird statue that –interestingly enough- bore some resemblance to the father of the ancient Greek gods, Zeus. Moreover, when the asphalt ended, we had to continue our route on a dirt road, so as to get to the camp. The weather did not favour us. Last night, the downpours led to the soil road being turned into a pool of mud. After of 2,5 hours on the road, we finally reached our destination: the camp of Vidraru Lake.

When we arrived there it was almost 4 in the afternoon, so we began by pitching our tent and preparing our food on the grill. However, we had to hurry, as it was raining slightly. But, that could not prevent us from completing our tasks! After providing a shelter for ourselves and having that delicious meal, the members of G.E.E.A. explained to us the purpose of the NGO’s existence, their aims, their former and current projects. When we got to know each other quite well, we had to perform a task “Monitoring picnic areas”. So, we took a walk around the whole of the camping area, discussing with the campers about the necessity of preserving the natural environment and avoiding pollution, while putting emphasis on the need for them to carry their garbage back to the more crowded areas of the region whose rubbish bins are provided at the litter collection and management system of the municipality. Also, we distributed rubbish bags to them, along with a flyer where the law about picnic areas was noted down.

On Saturday night, having fulfilled the first part of our task, which was to raise the environmental awareness of the camp that we were staying at, we took a seat by the fire, joking about that multiculturality of ours and enjoying the fresh air, the smell of the rain and the trees, along with Romanian traditional music that the person in the neighbouring tent was listening to. It was a night so different from our indoor routine, rather cold and wet, but for sure it was a memorable one. The next morning included a walk by the lake and a nutritious breakfast, and then we were occupied with the second part of our task, which was about walking to the nearby bank of the lake, where another picnic spot was, and to make sure that they too were well-informed about the vital necessity of not polluting the forest. Unfortunately, we found and photographed too many holes on the ground full of abandoned garbage.

In short, this weekend was a combination of a holiday, as well as volunteering for raising awareness on forest pollution. These lungs of mother Gaia are being endangered not only due to illegal deforestation, but also because of the visitors’ indifference and negligence. So, the question remains: As long as you love picnicking and camping in virgin natural habitats, why do you end up destroying it?

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