Greening schools

(2019 & 2020 & 2021 & 2022) 28.750€ awarded

By turning the schools into examples of environmentally friendly practices, we aim to educate and inspire the community and its future leaders. The “greening” of local schools began in 2019 with the creation of botanic gardens in selected islands, starting with Kimolos and Naoussa of Paros.

Why we chose botanic gardens
In the nature of the Cyclades, plants stand out! Many of these are rare, others unique and endemic, others have healing effects and others are a key ingredient of local gastronomy. Their preservation is a priority for both the preservation of the rare nature and the local prosperity due to the impact that they have on the local economy (eco-tourism, gastronomy etc). In addition, the concept of a natural “garden” and its spreading is of great importance for the prevention of risks such as soil erosion, which is a great problem today in the Cyclades islands. In this context, this program will be implemented to raise children’s awareness of local flora and its value on multiple levels. CPF has already supported the creation of a botanic garden in Paros Environmental Park.

According to our plan, we will create small botanic gardens in some schoolyards with only native plants (mainly herbs and native trees) that will be preserved with the support of kids, parents, teachers and other local associations and demonstrated as an effort to showcase the local ecosystem as something we need to protect and preserve. There will be also seminars /environmental education programs about the added value of the native plants, their role in the ecosystem and how to preserve them. We may also offer to kids some seeds to plant their own gardens.


The project in Kimolos was carried out with the cooperation of the NGO “GONIMI AGONI GRAMMI who conducts educational projects in areas that children do not have access to the cultural and educational opportunities of the cities. The program included presentations and interactive activities with other external experts, such as the Bee Camp, and MedCulture.

We would like to thank Mr Giorgos Petrakis & Mrs Kalliopi Grammatikopoulou for the kind donation of the native plants and their general support to the project.

UPDATE: Check out the botanic schoolyard in Kimolos!

Naoussa, Paros:

The project in Paros was carried out with the cooperation of NAIAS, the Nautical Club of Naoussa Paros and the Friends of Paros Park association. It  included the creation of a botanical garden with the most emblematic plants of the Cycladic flora and it was constructed together with the students and their teachers, so that it became their own affair, asset and responsibility. That is why we organised  gardening and maintenance sessions on a regular basis with the school classrooms.

As in any “proper” Botanical Garden, we installed signs with the common Greek name as well as the scientific name of the plants, identical with the signs being prepared for the Botanical Garden in progress inside the Environmental and Cultural Park of Paros.

Additionally, we piloted the installation of  an efficient composting system in the school that will provide organic fertiliser for the garden! Using the garden as a platform, connect the school children with similar initiatives across the Cyclades, with local farmers and beekeepers and also with environmental education groups and projects from anywhere in the country.

The most important outcome of this project is to familiarize young islanders with the native flora of the pilot islands and through this to help them understand the intrinsic value of nature and the importance of the island’s ecosystem health and stability. The impact in the local community can be quite high, since the project will become known and “enter” into numerous households.  Young children are the professionals and decision makers of tomorrow, and only environmentally aware citizens can steer a community towards sustainable policies and practices.

This project is implemented with the kind contribution of KANAVA HOTELS & RESORTS! We thank them so much!

UPDATE: Check out the botanic school garden in Paros!

UPDATE 2021-2022

The “Greening Schools- Revegetating the Cyclades” program has been again in action from 2021 and until the end of 2022, and is has benn  co-funded by the Helidoni Foundation and the Cyclades Preservation Fund (CPF) that coordinated all activities.  It span across 4 islands, involving public schools of all levels, education centers, cultural and environmental organizations, engaging parents, teachers, active citizens, local authorities, private enterprises, creating meaningful synergies among them. It greened the school yard of the Foinikas Kindergarten in Syros, installed worm composting systems in 2 schools in Antiparos and Syros, and one more in the recently established Environment and Sustainability Education Center in Ermoupoli, Syros, one of the only two public education centers in the Cyclades. It offered technical expertise for composting in a Vocational High School in Amorgos in collaboration with
CPF’s partners on the island. Last but not least, it supported the revegetation of a remote area of the Environmental and Cultural Park of Paros while cleaning it from garbage washed ashore by the wind!

Some Lessons learned

From the beginning of the Greening Schools Programme it was already obvious to us that one important aspect of our contribution would be mentoring as well as making the extra effort to solve administrative issues and liaise with several stakeholders. The educational ecosystem on the islands faces many challenges but also has enough flexibility to allow for change and to embrace novelty, as long as the appropriate stakeholders come together and collaborate. So, our role at the CPF has been multifaceted, much wider than of financial resources provision and of technical expertise. We had to be flexible and understanding, navigating through Greek bureaucracy, compensating for our beneficiaries’ limited experience, and providing generous consulting and mentoring for more than a year.
Similarly, regenerating the local ecosystem in the north of Paros, where the Paros Park is, relies heavily upon human resources and their timely availability to perform the tasks necessary, not so much for planting as for tending the young plant communities and ensure their long-term survival. So, it is also important for us to find ways to be flexible and supporting, in a more long-term basis.

What will be essential in the following year is to see to a consistent follow-up with all grantees, for monitoring and evaluation of their progress as well as of their needs and challenges, as the activities mature and possibilites for expansion and enrichment arise.

In CPF, we are ready and happy to take this responsibility and it would be excellent if we could identify more allies in this endeaveur!