Students for Rivers Camp 2020 Montenegro

The Students for Rivers Camp is a week-long gathering of students, academics, experts and local river defenders with one common goal: to protect the last remaining wild rivers of Europe through brainstorming, knowledge transfer, and sharing expertise. This year, the Students for Rivers Camp will focus on the Lim and Tara valleys in Montenegro.

This page is also available in Common Language.

 SRC Montenegro | September 12-19, 2020

Applications closed – Thank you for applying!


After following the situation in and around Montenegro for the whole year already, we now took the decision to organize this years’ Students for Rivers Camp online. We thought this would be a sad decision, but instead, we got very excited about the opportunities we now have. Why?

  • First of all, we received almost 100 applications from more than 35 countries!!! And this gives us the opportunity to invite everyone that applied. Applications are now closed, but as we are more flexible with the online camp and you missed the deadline, please get in touch!
  • Secondly, we have a wider range of lecturers and experts that can join the online sessions since they will not be limited by traveling.
  • Last but not least, we will now really focus on student projects: developing initiatives that can be piloted in May 2021 during the Lim Regatta. Here, we will have the chance to put knowledge into action.

We are looking forward to a good combination of lectures, brainstorming, workshops, discussions AND outdoor activities!!
Stay tuned for the new programme, it will come online by the end of July!


  • The contrast between the endangered Lim Valley and the protected Tara Valley illustrates how political priorities and tourist attention can make a difference.
  • The rivers that run through these valleys are not only beautiful, but they are still free-flowing and rich in biodiversity. At the same time, they are under environmental threats because of poor management, including dam construction and pollution.
  • Local communities and individuals are defending their rivers. We want to see them succeed and provide them with more connections, support, expertise, and fresh ideas. Some communities succeeded in halting hydropower construction, we want to share their stories and think of long term protection.
  • Montenegro is the only Balkan country and the first country in the world that has declared itself as an “ecological state” in its national constitution. However, the system in Montenegro lacks a long-term strategy and an increasing number of young people consider leaving the country. Critical thinking is not developed in traditional education – there is a need for visionaries.
  • Finally, we can join the Kayakfest Tara, which will be the ultimate opportunity to celebrate Montenegrin rivers together with locals and nature lovers.

During the Students for Rivers Camp, we will  learn about some of the most beautiful rivers in Montenegro and their threats. We aim to give the broad context around river conservation, connect many disciplines and create an (online) setting where ideas can flow.  This is the original programme. Now, due to COvid19 we are working on a new, online version of the SRC programme!

Take a look here to get an idea of what you can expect and stay tuned for the new programme by the end of July!

Talks: River protection
In this session, we will look at the state of river protection in the Balkans, Montenegro, and the Lim valley. What are the main pressures on rivers in these areas? Why are there so many hydropower plants planned and supported by politicians? Who is against these projects and what are their arguments? Why do people stand up or remain silent? What are their rights?

Workshop: Ecopolitical Mapping
During this workshop, we will learn how collective mapping can be used to quickly collect ecological, social and political information by gathering knowledge from the local river community. This is a tool that allows us to collect data, share information and tell stories about rivers and their inhabitants.

Workshop: Corruption Game
Corruption is a known driver for hydropower development that is hard to grasp for some and an impossible battle to others. Through this game, you will play the role of an investment bank, mayor, company, or local and learn how corruption is a part of life. It will open a discussion on the need to fight corruption or to accept it as a context in which rivers need to find a place.

Ethnographic Field Day
Books and experts can only teach us so much about rivers. Often, the best way to learn about a new environment is to just dive into it head-first. After a short preparation session in which we will learn about the basic tools of ethnography, we will spend the day exploring the Lim Valley. We will be talking to and interviewing locals to gain a better glimpse into the history of the valley, the relationship that its people have with nature, and why it is important to protect this beautiful area.

Talks: Thinking Outside the Box
Through a diverse series of talks, we will explore the wider world of river conservation. What is a river and what connections do humans have to it now and historically? Which disciplines are involved in the protection of rivers and how can we connect these disciplines? Which forms of communication are relevant?

River Experience
On this day, we will explore the river by raft! While experiencing the recreational value of the Lim river, we will stop for several riverside lectures and experiments, learning about the physical processes that keep a free-flowing river healthy and how a dam would impact these processes.

On our journey from the Lim Valley to the Tara Valley, we will visit some sites that have a historical connection to hydropower. We will visit Bukovica, a river that remains free-flowing thanks to the local activists that physically stopped bulldozers from building small hydropower plants on the river. And we will visit Pluzine, a town that was constructed for the people that had to be relocated during the construction of the 220 meter high Piva dam.

Student Projects
The chance to put your knowledge to action! As a group of river passionates, we have a diverse set of skills and expertise. With the insight you will get over the local situation and the inspiring chats around the campfires, you will work in small groups to develop a project and contribute to the long term health of these river ecosystems.

KayakFest Tara
The week concludes at the Kayakfest Tara where you get a chance to present your project to a passionate audience and enjoy the river with them. You have the option to stay for the EcoRun/BioBlitz, see practical information.

For whom?
The Students for Rivers Camp is meant for Bachelor’s students in the last phase of their studies, Master’s students, and PhD students from ALL disciplines. If you are not currently enrolled in a university, that does not mean that you cannot participate, just send us an email to explain your situation. Also, if you live in Montenegro and want to participate as a non-student, we are happy to hear from you!

We start the Students for Rivers Camp in the Lim Valley in Bijelo Polje, which is reachable by train from Podgorica and Belgrade. If you decide to come by car, we encourage you to travel together and we will help you connect to the other participants.
We will be camping. No experience needed, but be ready to experience outdoor living! If you do not have camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag) we can help you arrange this.

The Students for Rivers Camp ends at the KayakFest Tara, a kayak festival that invites all nature lovers to come and enjoy the beauty of the Tara river from the 17th to 21st of September. Our program ends on the 19th, but we strongly encourage you to join the whole festival (and the participation fee will be included!). More info on the KayakFest will be online soon.

We ask all participants to pay a contribution that helps us to cover expenses like food, logistics, camping, and the River Experience. The amount is € 250,- for Bachelor and Master students and € 500,- for PhD students. If you, as a PhD student, cannot get the contribution funded through your institution, please notify us through the application form.

We do not want your financial situation to be the reason why you cannot participate in the camp. Therefore, we have several scholarships available, especially for students from the Balkans. In the application, you can request this scholarship and let us know why it would make the difference between participating or not participating in the camp.

Dates to keep in mind
Extended application deadline: June 25, 2020
Selection announcement: July 15, 2020
Announcement of Camp Format (e.g. Meeting in Montenegro, Online Version): : July 15, 2020
Students for Rivers Camp: September 12-19, 2020

Here, you can apply to participate in the Students for Rivers Camp that takes place from the 12th until the 19th of September, 2020. Until the selection announcement, you can at any time withdraw your application. If the SRC cannot take place due to COVID-19 we will inform you about an alternative. You will not have to pay until we are certain that the camp can take place.

You can apply as follows:

1. Prepare a motivation letter (max 1 page) or video (max 2 minutes) that answers the following questions:

  • Why do you want to participate in the camp?
  • What is your connection to rivers?
  • How can this camp help you in your future plans?
  • What you would do for rivers if money was no issue?

2. Fill in the Application Form below with your information. Within this form, you can upload your letter or video, so have it ready!

Note: Since the camp will take place in English, participants need to be able to communicate in English which is why we also ask you to apply in English. We will not take the level of your grammar into account in the selection procedure.

Selection procedure
We believe that everyone has their own, personal story. For this reason, we cannot define strict criteria to evaluate the applications. Therefore, the complete SRC organizational team will assign an overall score for every application. It should be noted that we do aim for a balanced mix between nationalities, gender and study disciplines, which can give priority to certain applicants.


If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us at any time.