By Vincenza Ferrara | Villarosa, Italy
Have you ever tried to look at olive trees with a different and wider perspective?
Let’s start thinking of an olive grove primary as an ecosystem, and an agro- system in particular, the right place where it is possible to practice and experience outdoor environmental education with both children and adults: an olive grove is a real open air workshop of sustainability!
But how may it be possible? And, above all, what can we do to further outdoor environmental education among the olive trees?
A good practice comes from Mazara del Vallo (Sicily- Italy), where last September the organisation OliverLab inaugurated a series of open-air workshops on the use of different creative languages to tell about and describe nature, landscapes and the history of territories.
The first workshop, Country Portraits, was held by Marina Marcolin, one of the most appreciated Italian illustrators for children books, in the olive orchard owned by Il Paradiso Farm.
The workshop, attended by many participants, was a three-day full immersion in nature to discover the most hidden stories and tales olive trees can tell us, tales narrated in watercolor paintings.
The participants had long walks among the olive trees observing them and the whole landscape, and drawing rough sketches of all their impressions. All their aquatints, instruments to discover the nature and what was around them.
Country Portraits has invited people to learn how to look at an olive grove with a wider perspective that lets you not only see the nature and the trees, but above all read what surrounds you, putting into practice your sensibility and your senses, developing your imagination and nourishing your mind.
At a deeper level, the workshop has wanted to improve the knowledge people have of nature, of specific landscapes and detailed habitats, of local territorial peculiarities; the final aim is to be able to bond and strengthen new connections with the natural world and renewed links full of care in the implementation of sustainable development practices.
Another interesting workshop in the field of outdoor environmental education among the olive trees will be organised by DORA Farm in Sicily (in Villarosa, Enna) this November.
During the harvest, the farm will hold a “Big Family,” a one-day workshop aiming to show how many wild animals have their own habitat in olive trees.
People quite often are not aware of the wildlife that live in there: birds, lizards, spiders, ants, bats, mice, worms, hedgehogs, butterflies, rabbits and many others you might not expect to meet in an olive grove.