Berlenga Learning Island

The Berlenga Learning Island project is a learning project about sustainable tourism in marine protected areas. Its main objective is to develop environmental awareness among tourists visiting the island. The Berlengas Islands are a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and Marine Protected Area located in the Atlantic Ocean near Peniche, Portugal, and are also the main living laboratory for the degree programme in Marine Biology that the Polytechnic of Leiria offers at the Peniche Higher School.
To increase the environmental awareness of visitors to the island and help find solutions to some of the problems that arise, some games, trivia and dilemmas have been created in a mobile application that uses the moodle learning system and H5P activities to give visitors the chance to prepare before their trip to Berlengas, while they are in the harbour, possibly waiting for the ship. After the visit, new activities are proposed to induce reflective thinking and validate the learning.
The main contents considered for the application are related to the marine protected area, the nursery effect of the associated marine organisms, the existence of endemic and invasive species, and the island’s environmental issues, such as water scarcity, lack of electrical power and the problem of garbage management.

The Challenge:
With the term New Media of Visual Arts we refer to artistic works During a visit to Berlenga, visitors are outdoors and more inclined to experience the sun and sea in sunny and windy conditions. They are therefore not very motivated to learn by reading information about the island on their mobile phones while visiting the island.

Target Groups/Clients:
Generally, adults in family or groups of friends. Nevertheless, there are experts that also visit the island, such as bird watchers, botanists and divers.

The aim of creating an APP and a virtual exhibition for tourists to use while waiting for the boat in Peniche harbour before the trip begins, and also in Berlengas harbour. During these periods, people can use their mobile phones and the app to learn more about the island’s heritage and its environmental issues. 

APP and virtual exhibitions travel everywhere and can be used by everyone who is interested in the subject. A simple and appealing design, while delivering simple information about the natural reserve, allows to educate visitors and convey the message of sustainable tourism.


The public will have the opportunity to reflect about the reasons to visit the island, decide on things to carry to lower the garbage. Also, tourist will appreciate the beauty of the sea birds and endemic plants from different types and will learn about the environmental problems becoming more aware of them and actively contribute to the island sustainability.

Politecnico de Leiria