With support of the European Climate Initiative EUKI of the German Ministry for the Environment (BMU) a model project in Sicily in the planned Biosphere Reserve Etna has been implemented. The main tasks include reforestation and environmental education for children with focus on forests and climate protection. International volunteers and experts mostly from Eastern European countries participated and contributed to an exchange of knowledge and experiences.
The project is based on the long cooperation between the foundation and Giacche Verdi Bronte and the ERASMUS programme for volunteer exchange.
The project area at Mt. Etna is preparing for a UNESCO nomination of a Biosphere Reserve in order to maintain the precious cultural landscape with its rich biodiversity and to foster sustainable and climate conscious development.
The environmental training reaches more than 2.400 elementary school children with each 3 activities per school class: One lesson at school about trees and the importance of forests in connection to climate, one educational forest excursion to collect acorns, and one field excursion for seeding or planting trees. To complete this experience, the children are encouraged to create paintings on the topics learned.
The project involves 19 volunteers from 10 different countries (see reports below) with different lengths of stay, who helped characterize this project. With concentrated training and integration of the volunteers (and other local workers) they evolve to multipliers and carry on their knowledge and experience into their home countries.
Beside the environmental education and noteworthy effects of awareness raising on climate protection among the wider population, direct outputs include area restoration near Bronte with natural forest cover and the creation of three ‘climate theme parks’ in Mascali, Piedimonte and Bronte for residents and as extracurricular learning places.
In Adrano, Bronte and Biancavilla, schoolyards receive didactic elements and information panels, and in Santa Domenica an educational Climate Nature Trail is created for school classes and family outings, with the common toad "Bufo bufo" as a mascot.
During the preparation of this educational path with local children, a nature club has been founded with currently 12 members, who meet weekly with an employee of Giacche Verdi and volunteers to further develop the Climate Nature Trail, and to go on educational nature hikes. For September a summer camp is planned.
Reports of the volunteers who participated in the project Boschi per la Biosfera
Workshop "communikation und evaluation", Marie Spallek and Julia Schmalzl [in German]
Many thanks from the Foundation and Giacche Verdi Bronte to the BMU and especially their "EUKI-Team"!
See here for the project and further information: www.terrebiosfera.org [Italian]