Shortly before nightfall, many students, parents, teachers and other citizens of Skopelos Island gathered at the courtyard of the Island’s primary school. They gathered to attend the last event of the "Energy Travels for Life" Program. Throughout the academic year, the young citizens of Skopelos had the rare opportunity to learn about preservation through the lens of sustainability.
“Representatives of the most active environmental organizations, such as “Arcturos,” “MOm,” “Archelon,” and other initiatives, like “Vivlia se Rodes” (meaning books on wheels), visited our island, came with us into classrooms, and through experiential games and workshops, changed the way children think about the environment,” describes the Principle of the primary school, Ms. Fragkoula Toutouzoglou. What excited the students of the fifth grade most was the creative workshop organized by Exile Room. During this workshop two stop motion movies were created named “An Unforeseen Meeting,” and “Piratical,” which both utilized recyclable objects.
In addition to all these activities, an informational and educational stand regarding the environment was constructed in the school's courtyard. “We designed the stand based on the special characteristics of the space,” explains the architect Mr. Pavlos Agathis, who is a member of the “Koinos Topos” Institute (meaning common place). Mr. Agathis worked with Giannis Papagiannakis, Zoi Lagki, Manos Vordonarakis and Niki Karali day and night for a week to get the project ready. The team created a small outdoor pavilion that can be opened, closed and locked. On its wooden side there are several shelves and a large table and chairs, while the metal side has been “padded” with pots, where Greek herbs have been planted. “In order to assure the herbs’ long life, we have also added an automatic watering system.”
There are many plans regarding the utilization of this specific environmental program. “We can house libraries that have an environmental education focus or create a seed bank,” says Mr. Agathis. The target is to extend environmental education outside of the classroom, so that students learn to “utilize, improve and defend public space when needed.” The students watched the group that came from Athens with great curiosity, asked them every question they had thought of, and during the presentation day they took their time and scrutinized everything they learned. During the inauguration and dedication ceremony the students zested and juiced thirty kilos of oranges on their own.
Six more islands follow…
This specific environmental program was an initiative of Hellenic Petroleum, who is the project’s only sponsor, and was undertaken by the limited non-profit company “Agoni Grammi Gonimi” (meaning sterile land fruitful). The person who was most influential in the success of this project was the Managing Director of the energy group, Mr. Giannis Kostopoulos, who believes that activities of corporate social responsibility don’t have to be narrowed into places where the companies have physical presence. The island areas need support like this year around, and so the program "Energy for Life" visited other islands of the Aegean sea, including Skiathos, Sikinos, Serifos, Kasos, Olimpos Carpathou and Kastellorizo.
Are there any similar projects taking place in the country you live? What environmental education programs are in your community?
Original article, originally published in Greek, here.
Credits: Images and Data linked to sources.