Voluntary Service in Sicily

Nature conservation and Environmental education in the Etna Region

In cooperation with the European Voluntary Service, the Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung offers young people the opportunity to become involved with working in nature conservation and environmental education.  In Bronte, Sicily, the volunteers support Giacche Verdi Bronte and Le Piccole Terre in their activities in environmental training, ecological farming, acquisition of flora and fauna, and the implementation of nature conservation measures.

The European Wildcat [Felis sylvestris] is an endangered species. An important habitat of this species is located in the region of the nature parks Etna, Nebrodi and Madonie. Since 2005 the foundation supports and initiates projects to conserve this region. Here we also focus on the small structured and diverse farmland with its migration corridors between the nature parks. 


The Project
The volunteers live and work in the small village of Bronte at the west side of the Etna. Our partner Giacche Verdi Bronte, a small NGO with recreational equestrians, hosts the volunteers and motivates them to take part in environmental projects and to create their own projects, especially with local children. 

At present there are several common projects with Giacche Verdi, i.e. an environmental project of reforestation Children´s Forest, and the preparation to set up a biosphere reserve in the region. Furthermore, the agricultural cooperative Le Piccole Terre, co-founded by the foundation, offers the chance for the volunteers to study the production of nature-friendly and sustainable olive oil.

2019 the twelfth generation of German volunteers participates in the voluntary service, working together with volunteers of France, Turkey and other countries. 

The Philosophy
A voluntary year abroad helps to develop each ones personality in many ways. Cultural understanding, specialist knowledge, skills of the Italian language and sympathy for this country will add to the personal development. Volunteers are being motivated to engage creatively in the projects in order to gain self-confidence, and to strengthen their empathy and solidarity with the locals and their community. 

The volunteers are a real asset to Bronte! In this village far off the main tourist routes, cultural exchange is very welcome, especially by the youth. The volunteers also advertise a higher value to voluntary service in general and especially to nature conservation. The projects demonstrate to the children of Bronte the many perspectives of their future and will motivate them to deal with ecological problems and the climate change in an informed manner. They are being inspired to a more sustainable way of living. With the volunteers, the children experience solidarity, appreciation and interest of their home country. 

Further Information: Our partner Giacce Verdi www.giaccheverdibronte.it [in English]