Just before the beginning of the new school year, from the 17th until the 20th of August, within the Nordplus Junior program's project "The Significant Role of Fish in our Lives" pupils from Dravnieki primary school and Riebiņi high school visited their project's partners Puka school in Estonia.
Considering the Covid-19 situation, the trip was carefully planned with activities that followed safety guidelines, providing a safe and pleasant environment for the achievement of the shared goal of the project.
We arrived in Estonia on the 17th of August, where we were warmly greeted by the students and teachers of Puka school, and were given a festive addressed to us by the school's headmaster, M. Keres.
The first day passed playing games outdoors, getting to know each other and our surroundings.
Each group presented their homework - a story of what we did within one year of our first meeting in Latvia, complete with photos and descriptions of activities and events that took place during the implementation of the project, aswell as how we spent the summer by and on water, either fishing or just enjoying the pleasures of oceans, lakes, river, etc.
The next day we went on an educational journey to Tartu. In the Natural History museum where we were hosted with an English speaking guide, who, with interesting, views, examples and facts, enriched our ideas of the regularities of nature, fish diversity and their interactions with the surrounding environment. Everything we heard and saw we could reflect and discuss with each other as we leisurely strolled through Tartu University's botanic gardens and drove along the city canal by ferry.
Wednesday we spent going on educational excursions, aswell as exciting rides on both a raft and a motor boat on the largest lake with Estonian territory, Lake Võrtsjärv. It's area ir 270 km² and in it live 35 species of fish, the most popular ones being the pike, pikeperch, bream, eel, and the roach. In Lake Võrtsjärv's museum (a limnology station; limnology - the study of inland aquatic ecosystems.) the guide showed us the primary exhibition, which was live Estonian freshwater fish, housed in a total of 23 different aquariums, including 2 floor aquariums and 2 big cylindrical ones. Visiting the local fish farm, the owners gave us a unique opportunity to observe in person, sitting right in the boat, how the fishing nets get taken out of the lake thus being able to see all the different fish that live in Lake Võrtsjärv.
In the evening, with songs and fireworks Estonias anniversary of the restoration of independence was celebrated.
On the morning of the last day of our visit to Estonia we had to show our sportiness and endurance because we went on a long hike around the local countryside, performing various tasks along the way and, without getting tired under the summer sun, successfully coming home. At the end of the day, we discussed the experience, evaluated everything we achieved and planned for the future. We said goodbye with songs and dances. Every participant received certificates for the participation in the project mobility activity in Estonia.
The aim of this project is to improve students' knowledge of fish living in local waters, understand the importance and role of natural resources in everyday life, as well as spread awareness of the duties and responsibilities of everyone. As this is an international project the main language is English, giving students a chance to expand their foreign language skills and get and international experience working with neighbouring country project partners, aswell as make new friends and unforgettable experiences.
During the project, pupils from three schools had a great opportunity to participate in various educational activities related to the importance of fish in our lives: to participate in creative workshops, to visit the fishery "Nagļi", nature education center "Razna", Makonkalns and to make new friends knowledge of English.
Within the project ’’The significant role of fish in our lives’’ on the 7th of September 2019 pupils from Dravnieki primary school went on a 13km hike with bicycles together with students from Riebini Secondary school and two project coordinators - Arnita and Janis, and a supervisor Skaidrite to Gaiļmuiža by the lake Salmejs . When we arrived, the students from both schools introduced themselves more thoroughly to each other through different games, relaxed after the long ride, and started cooking a barbecue. Shortly after, arrived our guest steward Ainars Kalvans and told us about the different fish that live in this lake: pikes, ganders, burrs and more. He also told us about the tools he and his colleagues use to seize by-catchers, those being night binoculars (which he brought to show us) and heat-radars. Our guest also let us know that one license is enough for all lakes in Riebini county, with an exception of the lake Rušona, where a seperate license is needed to catch fish. He showed us the different types of spinnings that are used to catch different sorts of fish and his big box of different couloured and shaped decoys. The steward offered to fish with us on the bank of the lake, catching three burrs, but being forced to let them go due to their small size, it was a fun experience none the less. While Ainars was getting the motorboat ready, everyone put up their tents and ate the barbecue. The steward then gave us a ride on the motorboats, three at a time. While we were waiting for our turn, we rode on the catamaran. The day before, Ainars had caught around fifteen fish, which he then showed us how to clean. We seasoned some of the cleaned fish, wrapped them in tin foil and cooked them in the fire/coal. With the rest we made fish soup which you can see more of in the slideshow below. We cooked potatoes in the coal too. Then, when they were ready, took them out and cut them in half. We sprinkled some salt and smeared some butter on them. The fish had done cooking too so we took them out of the foil and ate them with the potatoes. It was very delicious! We then went swimming and rode the catamaran some more. The soup was ready! Everybody had a great evening meal and headed off to bed – well, to the tents. We had a good night sleep! The next morning we had breakfast: some people had milk or yoghurt with cereal, others had sandwiches or eggs. When we were full, we started preparing for the long ride back!
Authors: Olivia & Astrida
Introduction learning days for Puka students were on 3rd and 4th September. We started with a quiz about fish, lakes and Latvia and all the students could test their knowledge about it. In a year we should be more informed in these fields. Jasper Petter, Katariina Oolo and Hegert Härm were the students who got the highest score of points.
Our teacher Aime Soonvald told the students about grayfish and introduced the rules of hobby fishing. Grayfish was relevant because August is the only month when catching it is allowed. On the other hand grayfish is endangered species in Estonian waters. It was very nice and unifying to cook traditional fish soup and taste it. The students got a task to create a presentation on lakes in local Otepää area. The more interested students have already completed the task and they continue translating them in English.
Better overview about running the project activities in Puka School and the participating students and teachers is displayed on information boards on the first floor in our school.