River Stories

Solum’s EB1

June 30, 2022 | 18:30


Rivers and streams are not only a source of water, but also complex ecosystems flanked by dense vegetation (riparian woodland) where various terrestrial and aquatic organisms live, such as birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, fish, invertebrates, algae and aquatic plants.

In Portugal, most of the population lives in urban areas and almost all cities have developed around rivers. Rivers in cities, called urban rivers, and their riparian woodland can provide important services to human populations, such as helping to maintain air temperature and humidity, contributing to lessen the effect of temperature extremes and climate change, mitigate urban floods, contribute to the improvement of air quality, to carbon sequestration and reduction of the greenhouse effect, improve the appearance of cities, constitute natural green areas that can be used for leisure and sports activities, improving human health, and constitute biodiversity reserves and can also be used by migrating species such as some birds.

However, urban development has taken a heavy toll on urban rivers and streams that have been artificialized, channeled, polluted or buried over time. As a result, their ecosystems have been largely degraded and the benefits they could provide are compromised.

It is therefore urgent to recover urban rivers, streams and their ecosystems. This is a priority at European level, which fits within the broader concept of returning nature to cities and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The implementation of measures to recover urban rivers and make cities more natural systems depends not only on scientific knowledge, but also on the recognition of this need by the population and politic groups as well as their active participation in this process.

That is why the CRESCERIO project was developed between 2018 and 2022 with a pilot class from the Solum Basic School with the main objectives of:

• Make the riverside ecosystems known, in particular the urban streams of the city of Coimbra, to the school community (children, teachers, parents, and others) and encourage children’s contact with nature;

• Make the biodiversity of urban streams known and analyse their main threats;

• Foster contact with scientific activities related to the ecological assessment of rivers (collecting samples of fauna and flora in the field and identify organisms with scientific optical instruments and calculate their quality indices);

• Develop social responsibility for the preservation and recovery of urban rivers and their ecosystems through the school community.


Technical and artistic credits

Artistic direction and staging Mário Montenegro

Directing Assistance Carolina Andrade, Vicente Paredes

Dramaturgy Carolina Andrade, Mário Montenegro, Vicente Paredes

Interpreters Students of the 4º C class of Escola Básica da Solum  | Teacher Maria Alda Alves

  • “The Man Who Littered Everything”

Manel, João Videira | Rita, Guiliana Valentim | Gustavo, João Vasco | Man, Rafael Ferreira

  • “A Forest So-so and A Fairy So-so

Helena, Mariana Pinto | Maria, Beatriz Sá | Pedro, João Brito

  • “The Game of Rivers”

Menina 1, Maria Leonor | Menina 2, Rita Figueiredo | João, Thiago Diaz

  • “A Farmer, a Scientist, a Fisherman and a Fairy Meet by a River”

Farmer, Bernardo Machado | Fisherman, Tarik Augusto | Scientist, Beatriz Vasa | Fairy, Joana Moita

  • “The Fabulous Story of the Crocodile That Wasn’t One”

1, Samira Ferreira | 2, Diana Tavares | 3, Diana Marques | 4, Bernardo Gama

  •  “River’s Tears”

Fafa, Maria Amaral | Zeze, Maria Miguel | River, Miriam Guerreiro | Footer, Diogo Monteirinho | Spectator, Tatiana Tavares

Costumes Laura Corga

Scenography and image Pedro Andrade

Production Director Francisca Moreira

Production Assistance Carolina Andrade, Vicente Paredes

Communication Carolina Andrade

Photography Francisca Moreira

Project partners:

University of Coimbra, MARE – Center for Marine and Environmental Sciences, Department of Life Sciences, FCTUC

University of Coimbra, CEIS20 – Center for Interdisciplinary Studies

University of Aveiro, Dept. of Biology


PROAQUA – Association for the Promotion of Knowledge in Aquatic Ecology


Portuguese Republic

General Directorate of Arts

Coimbra City Council

University of Coimbra

Eugénio de Castro School Group