"U cka School Network Program"
Ucka Nature Park is characterised by an exceptional variety of features in a small but very diverse area, includes Mountain Ucka with a great view on Kvarner sea bay and villages with waterfalls and springs on the slopes of the mountain. The flora of Ucka Nature Park encompasses approximately 1300 different species, a great number of endemic and protected species in the park, which require active care.
Ucka is probably the only place in the world where one can take a photograph of the endemic Ucka or Tommasini bell-flower (Campanula tommasiniana) and one of the last European locations where patient bird watchers will be rewarded with impressive glimpses of the Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) or golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). These species are two outstanding representatives of the ornithological life to be found on Ucka, which includes ca. 100 nesting birds and many other birds that occasionally visit this mountain.
The Public Institution "Ucka Nature Park", in cooperation with the ornithologists of the BIOM Association, organizes an Ornithological camp on Ucka mountain during which the bird migrations are monitored and the ringing action is carried out in order to investigate the migration of birds across the Park.
The "Ucka Schools Network Program" is one of the educational activities implemented in the Park since 2006, that was initiated through the "KAM" project - a karst management association implemented through the EU (Intereg III A). The active institutions of the "School Network" are the Veprinac Elementary School and the Lupoglav Elementary School, both in the mountain area of Ucka. The aforementioned schools are actively involved in various activities of the Nature Park; the participation in the manifestation named as "Ucka fair" and joint celebration of the dates related to nature protection as World Water Day, Earth Day and International Mountain Day.
The pupils of the schools’ network from Lupoglav and Veprinac have visited during September 2019 the Ornithological camp on Ucka and gain a new knowledge about birds, their habitats and autumn migrations, have seen many bird species from the vicinity, such as reds, bushes, hair, whistles or queens, and learned about the method of bird ringing.
An educational programme run by the public institution for pre-school and school-age children should give children the opportunity to experience nature in a more direct way and help them develop better awareness about protected areas. Education for children is available through two programmes: “Learn about Ucka through play” and “Let’s learn more about Ucka Nature Park”. The programmes can include theoretical and practical training or just practice, depending on the interest of the group. These educational programmes are suitable for all age groups of pre-school and school-age children, with teaching methods being adapted to the age. The programmes are carried out by the park’s experts and rangers in agreement with the school or kindergarten teachers.
Education is one of the major objectives in the Ucka Nature Park. It is a mean to protect the park, because appropriate education about the biological and cultural assets of the protected area affects the consciousness and behaviour of visitors, which contributes to nature conservation.