Bioteka - udruga za promicanje biologije i srodnih znanosti

Join us at the “Šikaro, otvori se!” volunteer camp in July on Učka

As in the previous years, the Bioteka Association, in cooperation with the Biom association and the Učka Nature Park, organises a volunteer camp on Učka. This year’s camp will take place from 2 July to 24 July. Join us, volunteer and participate in the fight for conserving biodiversity!

Karst grasslands and pastures found in the hilly area of the Učka Nature Park are the habitat of many species of birds, butterflies and reptiles. By limiting and preventing the spread of wildfires and abandoning traditional cattle breeding, these precious habitats have been gradually turned into thickets and forests.

This year’s habitat restoration camp takes place in Podmaj, where the nesting habitats of the ortolan bunting (Emberiza hortulana) are becoming overgrown at a rapid pace. The population of this species in Istria is scarce and endangered. Two very significant but rare species of eagles – the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and the short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus) – use the same habitat for hunting.

The mission of the volunteer camps is to take direct conservation actions to restore these habitats, preserve their biodiversity and help protect endangered bird species using such habitats.

We invite you to help us do so!

We are asking for good will, willingness to work and cooperation during the activities. In turn, we offer pleasant multicultural company in nature, a break from technology and the bustle of the city, new acquaintances and learning about nature conservation and Učka’s natural wealth.

The camp will take place from 2 July to 24 July 2020. You can join us for a few days or a few weeks, as long as you like! You can apply by filling in this form. The camp is organised as part of the Učka 360° project.

Basic information about the camp

Participation in the camp will give you a unique opportunity to spend time in a beautiful protected area, but it will also require certain adaptations to specific, somewhat Robinson-Crusoe-like living conditions.

  • Sleeping in tents – you will need a tent, a sleeping bag and a sleeping pad. Several tents are set up during the entire length of the camp and it is possible to borrow them and spend the night in them if so agreed with the organisers. If you are missing some equipment, make sure to inform us in the application form.
  • Cooking over a campfire and using a gas cylinder – shared supplies are bought every few days and all food expenses are covered by the organiser. Volunteers are expected to help with planning meals, cook and/or assist with cooking, collect and chop firewood, etc.
  • Potable water from a plastic tank at the location – the supply of potable water must be used rationally. Considering that the volume of water is limited, there are no showers available.
  • Toilet in nature –consists of a selected meadow, a shovel and a DIY hornbeam seat.
  • Electricity from solar panels – only for small and necessary electronic equipment (e.g. charging mobile phones and cameras).
  • Weak signal – phone/Wi-Fi signal exists, but is usually pretty weak. Sometimes there is no reception at all, so you have to take a short walk to an area with stronger reception in order to make a phone call.
  • Everybody is welcome – anyone can contribute to the activities in their own way, which is why there are no age restrictions. However, make sure to consider whether you are comfortable with the living conditions in the camp. Pets are also welcome!

Daily schedule

  • 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Waking up, breakfast, preparations for the day
  • 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Main work activities – removing bushes and smaller trees, chopping, collecting and carrying wood and other material, mowing, raking, etc.
  • 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Daily break – during the warmest part of the day, we prepare food, have lunch, learn about the nature around us, read, play board games, visit the neighbouring mountain tops, do shopping. Bring books, games or anything else to keep you busy during afternoon breaks!
  • 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Resuming work activities – if necessary.
  • 7:00 p.m. onward Dinner, hanging out around the campfire.

How to reach us?

The campsite in Podmaj can be found here.

It is important that we know the exact location and time of your arrival in advance so that we can plan our schedule accordingly. Please send us that information using the application form. You can join us for a few days or a few weeks, as long as you like! Likewise, keep in mind that during the camp, leaders and coordinators do not have a good internet connection. It is therefore important that you let us know when you are coming or if you dropping out of the camp as soon as possible.

  • Arrival using your own car
    • You may join us on any day, at any time during the camp, with prior notification.
    • We recommend that you take the bypass through Vela Učka because the northern section of the road to the campsite is of much higher quality (links to examples of routes from PulaRijeka and Zagreb)
  • Arrival by public transport
    • We can transport volunteers travelling by public transport to the camp by car from Lovran, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
    • Volunteers are transported from Lovran two times per week because it is complicated to leave the campsite often considering the distance (schedule by dates can be found in the application form).
    • If you wish to hike to the camp by yourself, we recommend that you travel by bus to Sveta Jelena and follow the 10-km-long bike road no. 8 from the Slamnjaki tavern all the way to Podmaj (link to the route can be found here).

If you have any further questions, please contact us at:

Source: Biom Association