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 will begin this year with the creation of botanic gardens in selected islands, starting with Kimolos and Naoussa of Paros, while the activity is part of a long-term CPF plan which involve various additional activities under the umbrella “greening schools” such as: clean up and adopting beaches by local schools, plastic bottle recycling, energy efficiency-solar panels, etc
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, including vertical 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. Ideally we will also try to build stone walls around them, as part of the cultural tradition, that will also benefit the plants and the biodiversity around them. 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 will be 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 will include presentations and interactive activities with other external experts, such as the Bee Camp, and MedCulture.
We are also pleased to announce the support of the awarded Rehabilitation Department of IMERYS which is recognized as a “center of expertise” in biodiversity management by the Cyclades Forest Authorities, Milos/neighboring islands’ Municipalities, the scientific community and peer companies. The Department will freely providesknow-how, specialized equipment and local plants for our school botanic gardens!
COVID-19 UPDATE: Our partner Agoni Grammi Gonimi organised a visit and presentation about the importance of local flora, bees and their interaction with local ecosystem in late January, but the creation of the garden and plantings which were scheduled for mid-February have been cancelled. As we need the active engagement and involvement of the school community, this activity will take place when the schools open again in autumn 2020.
The project in Paros will be carried out with the cooperation of NAIAS, the Nautical Club of Naoussa Paros and the Friends of Paros Park association. It will include the following activities:
Use a plot of land inside the Naoussa Elementary School to create a botanical garden with the most emblematic plants of the Cycladic flora. The garden will be constructed together with the students and their teachers, so that it becomes their own affair, asset and responsibility.
Introduce sustainable gardening techniques adapted to the local climate conditions and also to the specific conditions of the school yard.
As in any “proper” Botanical Garden, install 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.
Organise gardening and maintenance sessions on a regular basis with the school classrooms.
Install 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 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.
COVID -19 UPDATE: The creation of the school botanical garden, as well as the establishment of the school compost system, will need to be scheduled for autumn 2020, when the students and teachers will be happy to support this initiative without the threat of coronavirus.
Help us green more Cycladic islands by purchasing the unique floral WATERbag (We Are The EnviRonment), specially designed for supporting this project!