SRC Neretva

Are you passionate about free-flowing rivers, their invaluable role in the ecosystem and the benefits they bring to local communities? Do you want to connect with like-minded people from various backgrounds and tangibly contribute to the field of river conservation?
Date: 8 – 15 Sept. 2024
Price: 350EUR
Place: Neretva, Bosnia and Herzegovina

What is the Neretva SRC?

The River Collective is inviting 30 bachelor, master, and PhD students from around the world, representing a diverse range of disciplines, to the Students for Rivers Camp (SRC) on the Neretva river in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the 6th annual SRC of its kind, taking place between the 8th – 15th of September 2024, with an emphasis on a creative exploration of the Neretva, combining science, art and community empowerment to create a collective vision for a future around the free-flowing Upper Neretva River.

The week-long programme will take place in Ulog, on the banks of the Neretva river and will involve workshops, lectures and practical fieldwork to engage students in the protection of free-flowing and thriving rivers. Participants will gain knowledge of the river and engage with local communities, researchers, experts and artists, inspiring creative collaborations with long-lasting effects.

Students for Rivers camp drawing by Vera Knook

Why join Neretva SRC?

With rapid climate change, species extinction and habitat destruction, our precious river ecosystems are increasingly at risk. Only one third of the rivers worldwide still flow freely from source to sea and with industrialisation, freshwater ecosystems are slowly disappearing in front of our eyes. New perspectives and ideas are needed to challenge this status-quo and we are called to action!

The River

The stage for this Students for Rivers Camp is the Upper Neretva River in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Neretva is a 230 km long river flowing through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia before its confluence with the Adriatic Sea. Beyond its ecological significance, the Neretva River is a precious natural and cultural heritage that connects history, nature and people, serving as a reminder of the delicate balance between human development and environmental preservation.

River Collective Ripple Projetcs drawing by Vera Knook

While much of the river network now comprises reservoirs, the upper “Gornja Neretva” and its tributaries can still be considered free-flowing. Here, the river constitutes the heart of a karstic valley widely regarded as a natural heritage of regional significance. This unspoiled section shows an intact flow pattern and harmonious integration with the surrounding landscape. The uniquely large diversity of habitats on a very small spatial scale is the foundation for the high biodiversity in this system, supporting a rich array of species such as Adriatic and softmouth trout, Grey stream frog, white throated dipper and more. Studies during the Science Weeks in its upper reaches have identified over 1,300 animal and plant species. Plans for 70 dams in the catchment area jeopardize the future of the Neretva River. One bigger dam in Ulog is already under construction, and would significantly impact the diversity of habitats of the Neretva.

Students sitting and discussing how to make rivers free flowing and restore landscape at the Students for Rivers camp.

For Whom?

The SRC is open for Bachelor, Master and PhD students from all disciplines. We hope to welcome 30 students: 10 from BiH and 20 from other countries. If you are not currently enrolled in a university course, you are still welcome to participate, just send us an email regarding your situation. You do not need any kayak or raft experience to participate in the camp.

Neretva SRC Program

You can expect a week full of workshops, expert lectures, excursions, and an immersive river experience, all in collaboration with the local community. The program details and a proposed camp schedule can be found in the brochure here, below are just some of the program highlights we are really excited about.

Pre-camp online webinar: to get you acquainted with Neretva, our team, our guest speakers and experts in the field.

Vision mapping: the local community of Ulog is invited to participate in a session that investigates the value of the free-flowing upper Neretva.

Corruption game: the participants get the chance to play a serious game giving insight into the mechanisms of corruption, something that often influences dam construction.

Expert lectures: Topics will range from studying the ecological functioning of the river as a complex system to understanding the legal systems that have the potential to protect rivers long-term and even recognising the benefits of living alongside free-flowing rivers for local communities.

Art workshops: This is the moment to tap into the participants’ collective creativity to transform scientific knowledge into art and reach all audiences through expression.

Project development: The participants will be encouraged and supported to develop their own, collaborative project ideas for the future of the Neretva River.

River Experience: During this activity, it’s time to fully immerse in the Neretva River, feel its flow and appreciate its force by taking a river rafting excursion (completely optional).

Neretva Fest: The camp builds up towards a festival where the local river-defending community will share their experiences and visions in a celebration to honor the Neretva.

Post Students for Rivers Camp: We hope to enhance local conservation initiatives by pairing them with the diverse expertise of our camp’s students and experts. These initiatives will gain support through the River Collective’s “Actions for Rivers” incubator, offering financial backing and mentorship. Another key aim is to represent the Neretva at the Balkan Rivers Summit in Montenegro in autumn 2024. Could you be one of our representatives?

Students for Rivers camp drawing by Vera Knook

Prac­tical Informa­tion

We will be camping in a remote location with very basic facilities (toilets, showers, electricity, etc.). You don’t need any camping/outdoor experience but you should be open to this kind of adventure.

Click on more to get info on how to reach the camp etc.

Travel: The camp takes place in Ulog, Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, because of the remote location, transportation for students will be provided from Sarajevo in the afternoon of the first day. Students can reach Sarajevo from Zagreb by direct bus via a Flixbus. Reaching Zagreb can be done by train from major cities within the region (Vienna, Budapest and Ljubljana). Coming from the south or east, a number of different direct buses run from major cities like Belgrade or Podgorica.

Overland travel could take multiple days and so it is recommended to utilize night buses or trains where possible. To promote overland travel and reduce the carbon footprint of the camp, groups of people coming from destinations in Western Europe will be formed for traveling together. If you need to fly, direct flights to Sarajevo come from London, Brussels, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Zurich to name a few. Frequent buses run from the airport to the city center where we will meet. We can advise you on local services and connect you with others traveling from the same location – please reach out if you’d like more information at any time!

River Collective Ripple Projetcs drawing by Vera Knook

Participa­tion Fee

We ask participants to pay a contribution that helps us cover expenses like food, logistics, camping and programme. The total amount requested is 350 EUR.

Students sitting and discussing how to make rivers free flowing and restore landscape at the Students for Rivers camp.

Scholar­ships

We do not want your financial situation to prevent you from participating in the SRC. If you are not able to pay the contribution or need support financing your travel arrangements, please let us know in the application form. We are working hard to secure some scholarship options for you.

Apply now!

Through the form below you can apply for the Students for Rivers Camp. We ask you a few questions and your answers help us select a diverse, motivated group of students. We look forward to hearing from you!

The applications close on 10th of May at 8 PM CET. The application deadline is extended until the 1st of June for BiH students ONLY. 

Termin za prijavu na Students for Rivers kamp produžen je do 1. juna, isključivo za studente iz Bosne i Hercegovine. Za iste je i besplatan!

Spread the Word

To gather a diverse group of participants from various countries and ALL disciplines, we can use your help!  spread the word by sharing our posts on Instagram (@therivercollective), Facebook (@rivercollectiveriver), LinkedIn or Twitter (@collectiveriver). Download our poster here and feel free to advertise our camp at your university! Graphics were made by Adi Habul, and typography by Lamija Čehajić (@lamioideaexy)