The initiative will provide activities for schoolchildren in Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira, and Vila Real de Santo António, which encourage “the educational sharing of experiences” and highlight the “natural values” of the Ria Formosa, said the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF).

“Ria Formosa Week aims to foster partnerships, by disseminating information, promoting knowledge and practises that can increase awareness and recognition of the importance of the Ria Formosa, contributing to the construction of an ecological conscience conducive to the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage”, explained ICNF on the website dedicated to the event.

This event is organised by the ICNF and the Ria Formosa Natural Park, with the support of local councils and other organisations, with the goal of raising awareness regarding the preservation of the natural values of the lagoon wetland, located on the leeward (east) coast of the Algarve, which stretches across five municipalities in the district of Faro.

The Ria Formosa programme includes educational, recreational, cultural and environmental activities over the course of a week in all the municipalities that are part of the PNRF, aimed at schools and the general public.

Opening day will feature activities in all five municipalities, including, among others, the “Não, às invasoras” initiative at Praia do Barril in Tavira for 25 primary and secondary school students, or the Fun Nature circuit for 6th graders at the Centro de Educação Ambiental de Marim, in Olhão.

Among the activities planned for April 16 are a workshop dedicated to the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) for pre-school and primary school children in Vila Real de Santo António, the Birds of the Ria Formosa initiatives for primary and secondary school students children in Quinta do Lago, Loulé, and “Tonight I dreamt of a seahorse” in Estoi and Bordeira (Faro).

The activities will end on April 20, with environmental clean-ups on the banks of the Gilão River in Tavira and Ria Formosa planned for the last three days of the week, in accordance with the programme.

The Ria Formosa is the main wetland area in the south of Portugal, its lagoon area is separated from the sea by a string of barrier islands and is covered by the Ramsar Convention on the Wetlands of International Importance.

It is located along the coast of the eastern Algarve, between Anção (Loulé) and Manta Rota (Vila Real de Santo António).