Respect for nature is studied in school: three thousand students involved in WeTree

At the end of the school year 2021/22, the KilometroVerdeParma Forestry Consortium will disseminate the official data regarding WeTree, the project designed to involve the world of the Parma school at all levels? The aim is to raise awareness and inform students about the importance and value of forests and urban green, valuable resources for society.

The balance – the consortium emphasizes – is positive, despite the complication represented by the health emergency from Covid-19: 163 hours of frontal lessons, 124 classes and more than three thousand students involved, 885 trees planted and 15 organized training excursions.

Training partners from the KilometroVerdeParma Forestry Consortium in the project were: ARPAE – Emilia-Romagna Environment and Energy Prevention Agency, Parma Sustainable Development Festival, Parma sections in Legambiente and WWF, Manifattura Urbana. WeTree is financially supported by Reale Mutua Assicurazioni and the Fontanellato branch of ArcelorMittalCLN.

Compared to the school year 2020/21, to be considered a pilot, the WeTree project has marked an important development.

Last year, the classes involved were exclusively secondary schools: more precisely, 44 classes of ITIS Bocchialini – ITAS Galilei and ITIS Leonardo Da Vinci Agroindustrial Schools.

In the school year 2021/22, the primary and lower secondary schools were also embraced together with the upper secondary schools. This is the complete list of the institutes involved: Bocchi-Malpeli Comprehensive Institute, Montebello-Don Cavalli Comprehensive Institute, Sanvitale Paritary School, Maria Luigia National Boarding School, Guatelli-Collecchio Comprehensive Institute; Ulivi Scientific High School, Itas Bocchialini, Ite Bodoni, Romagnosi Classical and Linguistic High School, Sanvitale High School of Human Sciences, Itis Da Vinci.

The other important news was the expansion of the topics covered during the theoretical studies.

Central was the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a genuine action program to build another world and give everyone the opportunity to live in a sustainable world from an environmental, social and economic point of view. Signed by the governments of over 190 UN member states and approved by the UN General Assembly, the agenda is divided into 17 sustainable development goals, framed in a broader action program consisting of 169 goals to be achieved by the 2030 deadline.

Especially during the lessons in the WeTree project, the teachers wanted to focus the students’ attention on the following goals: Goal 3 To guarantee a healthy life and promote well-being for everyone of all ages with dedicated training courses and educational courses for schools; Objective 11 To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, flexible and sustainable, and talks about the commitment of the KilometroVerdeParma Forestry Consortium to create environments with a greater mix of human and nature; Objective 13 To adopt urgent measures to combat climate change and its consequences, an objective which can also be achieved through the planting of trees and plants capable of storing carbon dioxide and helping to mitigate heat islands; Objective 15 “Protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems” through the sustainable management of forests and terrestrial ecosystem resources and the fight against biodiversity loss and land degradation.

The school administrators ‘and professors’ opinion of the WeTree project is positive. Thus Professor Alessandra Melej, Rector of the Comprehensive Montebello Institute: “Young people want sustainable environments. They love trees, and they want parks and forests where they can spend their time, where they can breathe clean air. And they ask that be helped to realize I dream of friendly plants for health, play and daily life, aware of this, I strongly advocate initiatives that go in this direction, which promote student well-being by helping them regain the deep sense of contact. with nature teachers, we have a duty to train them to be responsible and active citizens I spoke to my students and to the teachers who accompanied them on this journey: I know they participated in the WeTree project with enthusiasm and interest, also involves families “.

Thanks to the Istituto Comprensivo Montebello, as part of the Natural Schooling project, which insists on the importance of learning outside the classroom, in harmony with nature, WeTree was presented as a successful case story at an international meeting held in Sweden. Swedish, Spanish and British teachers aroused great interest.

This is the view of a teacher, Professor Lucia Bertolini, Don Cavalli Secondary School, who emphasizes the importance of changing classroom moments and experiences in the field: “As science teachers, we strongly believe in outdoor activities to make lessons learned in books concrete. We have elaborated on the concepts. sustainability, pollution, and many interdisciplinary discussions have opened up. WeTree is a project that has helped us on several fronts. We believe it is a moment to make responsible and conscious citizens grow, also from an inclusion point of view, because all students, regardless of ability, origin, gender, have touched the ground and got their hands dirty, show skills and talents are not always obvious. For us teachers, it was a very important observation on the field “.

Maria Paola Chiesi, Chair of the KilometroVerdeParma Consortium, concludes: “Is teaching the importance of respecting the environment and the proper use of resources available to young people and children from an early age crucial? WeTree was born with the aim of educating and raising awareness. It is important that the citizens of the future understand that they can play an active role in protecting the planet, and that trees are our valuable allies. They produce oxygen and absorb CO2. Not enough of that? through the leaves, the micro powders PM 10 and PM 2.5, among the main causes of many respiratory diseases “.

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