From the community

Continued Commitment for Education and Climate Action in Bronte

by Andrea Aidala, Frutti per la Biosfera/ Boschi per la Biosfera

The local environmental organisation Giacche Verdi Bronte educated schoolchildren in Sicily about reforestation and the role of food in climate change. Even though covid restrictions posed severe challenges and the two EUKI projects ran out in 2018 and 2019, the voluntary association continues its work with schools and international volunteers.

Despite the difficult situation related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the activities of the Giacche Verdi Bronte do not stop. Some of them are carried out in person with limited attendance due to anti-pandemic regulations, while others are carried out remotely through webinars and online meetings. Between the end of April and May 2021, among the many activities promoted, we had two important meetings with two schools in Bronte.

The first meeting took place on 30 April 2021 with the Benedetto Radice High School. We were invited by the headmistress, the teachers and the students to talk about the environmental enhancement of the area around Bronte  during the school assembly and therefore with representatives of all classes (aged between 14 and 18). Andrea Aidala of the GVB staff showed through a power point presentation the main naturalistic places in our territory, focusing on the theme of the Simeto and Alcantara river valleys as a UNESCO MaB area called “Terre della Biosfera” and on the numerous projects promoted over the years in synergy with the Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung Foundation, including “Boschi per la Biosfera”, within the BMU’s EUKI programme. The students asked many questions and showed great interest in the topics proposed, with the hope of soon being able to visit the places described during the presentation of both the GVB and CAI Bronte, present with Angelo Spitaleri.

The second meeting took place on 19 May 2021 in attendance, at the L.Castiglione Middle School. In 2018-19, the Giacche Verdi Bronte, thanks to the “Frutti per la Biosfera” project (also in synergy with the MHS within the EUKI programme) transformed a disused area of the school into a wonderful educational vegetable garden. Two years later, the garden is still a fantastic reality and it was possible to organise a planting day in cooperation with the school. International GVB volunteers Alessia Doering and Lilly Kai, in this case supported by students from the Istituto Agrario di Bronte, guided the school children (aged between 10 and 12) in planting various vegetables and local herbs, forming three different groups. Other stations organised by the GV included: a herbarium “station”, where volunteer Rebekka Fackler showed the main Sicilian wild flowers useful for the survival of bees; and an insect house “station”, where volunteer Karla Fischer built an insect house with the students and explained the importance of safeguarding pollinating insects. At the beginning and end of the meeting Andrea Aidala interacted with the students, talking about the importance of bees and inviting them to become activists of the “save bees and farmers” initiative by getting parents and relatives to sign up. The Mayor of Bronte Sen. Firrarello, accompanied by Councillor Capace, also visited the school during the activities, and they expressed their appreciation for the activities, congratulating the School Director and the organisers of the day.

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