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Sicily projects in the Etna region

Voluntary Programme - Biosphere Reserve - Environmental Education and more

The valleys of the two rivers Simeto and Alcantara in north-eastern Sicily are of high ecological value and connect Europe's largest active volcano, Mount Etna, with Sicily's most water-rich and tree-rich mountain range, the Nebrodi. Between them migrates the Europe-wide threatened wildcat and endemic plants and animal species meet.

In close cooperation with the small NGO Giacche Verdi Bronte, Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung is actively involved with many different, mainly environmental education projects, all of which fit into an overarching concept of a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The Foundation has initiated this and is promoting its realisation with a now very large circle of allies.

All projects involve young ERASMUS volunteers or interns. Occasionally students find an interesting topic for academic theses here.

The projects

Voluntary Programme since 2009

Biosphere reserve „Terre della Biosfera – le Valli fluviali dell’Etna“,development and (political) application, since 2010 / project homepage Terre della Biosfera

Rescuing monumental Oaks of Mt. Egitto / Etna, release of 52 ancient oaks from overgrowing pines planted in between years ago, since 2011 / project homepage

Biodiversity and Agriculture, experiments on biological pest control, studies on biodiversity on agricultural land etc., since 2008 / project homepage  

Environmental Education

  • "Fiumi puliti" - Clean Rivers, lessons and excursions at rivers, since 2010 annually 
  • „Frutti per la Biosfera“ - Fruits for the Biosphere, lessons and excursions on farms, creation of vegetable gardens on schoolyards, 2018-19
  • „Boschi per la Biosfera“ - Forests for the Biosphere, Lessons and excursions in forests, tree sowing and planting, 2017-18
  • “Mille semi per mille bambini”, lessons and tree sowing for own cultivation, 2013-17 annually
  • „Alla scoperta del Gatto selvatico“, lessons and excursions on Mount Etna, creative competition on the theme of wildcats, 2005-07

Environmental education facilities for school and extracurricular activities

  • „Percorso bufo bufo“, a climate nature trail described from the point of view of the toad in Santa Domenica Vittoria. Here a children's club has been formed, which offers guided tours along the path. Since  2018
  • "Bosco Brignolo" - Children's forest in Bronte, a former quarry and garbage dump, which with the help of school classes is transformed into a forest and experience space. Since 2012
  • “Bio Parco Blue Garden”, a kind of "green classroom" on a meadow in Mascali with tree plantations, vegetable garden etc. Since 2017
  • „Parco Urbano“, a neglected city park in Piedimonte, was restored and equipped with environmental didactic elements for school lessons. Since 2018