On Sunday, October 20, 2019, an educational visit-seminar for students of the University of Ioannina took place at the Vikos-Aoos Geopark as part of the acquaintance events of the members of the wider local community (Universities, associations, etc.) with the Geopark. The participating students had the opportunity throughout the day to learn the secrets of the Geopark on issues related to geo-diversity and biodiversity.

Specialized geologists from the Geopark presented to the students the peculiarities of geomorphology,hydrogeology and geology of the western part of the Geopark from the junction of the rivers Aoos and Voidomatis in the plain of Konitsa to the straits and the valley of the Sarandaporos river with its tributaries, as well as the unique geological phenomenon of Amarantos thermal vapors.

Similarly, biologists and environmentalists, professors of the University of Ioannina, presented to the students the unique ecosystems of this whole area and especially the vegetation units and the rare flora and fauna from invertebrates to large mammals. During this educational visit-seminar the students had the opportunity to walk on dirt roads and authentic old paths and to delve into the peculiarities of mountain rivers, oak and black pine forests as well as mountain lakes and their special fauna.

At the same time, they were informed about the efforts made at local level for the development of the alternative tourism and especially hiking tourism, after walking a small part of the long path “Epirus Trail”. In addition, in the little free time they had, those who made it due lack of time, got a taste of the relaxing and healing properties of Amarantos Steam Baths.

The educational trip-seminar was attended by 45 students of the University of Ioannina from six different departments / schools (Biological Applications and Technology, Primary Education, Medicine,Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics).

The thematic units of the seminar were developed by the professors of U.O.I Mrs. Vasiliki Kati (Department of Biological Applications and Technologies – Biodiversity Laboratory), Mr. Konstantinos
Gavrilakis (Department of Primary Education – Laboratory of Geographical & Environmental Education), the Head of the Hellenic Geological Survey & Mining Research, Mr. Evangelos Nikolaou, Dr. Hydrogeologist and the Head of the Structure of the Vikos-Aoos Geopark / EPIRUS SA Mr. Haritakis Papaioannou Dr. Biologist.

The educational visit-seminar was organized by EPIRUS SA, as the management body of the Vikos-Aoos Geopark, with the participation of the University of Ioannina (Department of Biological Applications & Technology), the Hellenic Geological and Mineral Research Authority (IGME) and with the support of the Epirus Region.

It is noted that this is the first time that such an event is held, which is part of the implementation of the Geopark’s strategy – as part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks – for the understanding of its special features and values by members of the wider local community.