6 days of camping in Bakuriani……
By Tabitha van den Berg

Tuesday morning August 29th, 6.45: 26 sleepy faces are waiting for a train at Borjomi Railwaystation in Tbilisi. For me some are vaguely familiar, most of them unknown. What will happen in the next few days? Where are we going and who are these people?

These people were old and new CYEN members and some of their interested friends and me, a European Volunteer at CENN . At this early hour we were on our way to Bakuriani, to participate in the first CYEN Eco(logical) Action Camp! With the help of the Bakuriani Tourist Information Centre we found a perfect location, just 20 minutes walking from Bakuriani to camp, cook, debate & discuss. Bakuriani is a popular ski resort in winter, located in the mountains in the south of Georgia. In summer it is however quite a pleasant place to escape from heat and crazy city life as well!

Six days long we took part in workshops during the day, and enjoyed ourselves singing and joking at the campfire at night. Workshops varied in topic, from “what is biodiversity” to “how to get what you want; lobby and campaigning strategies”. All workshops were aimed at empowering the ecological youth movement. To give us the capacity and confidence that we CAN make a difference and we CAN act to protect nature and those things important to us!

Of course having an ecological action camp without action and filled with nothing but talking is a bit silly, so we also organized AND participated in some activities. First we cleaned the “pick nick” area around our campsite (8 trash bags of 120 liters were FULL after this spontaneous clean up). After that we hosted an environmental movie night in the school of Bakuriani. A documentary on Corruption and Forest Destruction in Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria (quite similar to what is happening in the region in and around Bakuriani) and after that a documentary on what happened in Chernobyl in 1986.
On the last day before departure we went for some REAL action. After a night full of preparing, painting banners, designing leaflets and deciding on slogans we were ready! On Saturday morning we went to the parc in the centre of Bakuriani and CLEANED.

All of us took a binbag and simply started to gather the mess around us… After that we created an artistic “trash monster” with the help of some local children. We put him at the entrance gate of the parc as a sign to those using the parc! “We want a clean Balkuriani and no “Trash monsters”!

All in all, we had quite a week full of Fun and Action and I think most of us will need a few days to recover sleep ;-). But beware, as soon as the universities start again WE WILL BE THERE!!! With new actions, campaigns and critical minds to what WE and YOU do with our environment!

Want to know more about our upcoming activities? Sent an email to Tabitha.vandenberg@cenn.org

See pictures here!