`An Open-Air Workshop of Sustainability - Olive Oil Times

An Open-Air Workshop of Sustainability

Oct. 21, 2013
Vincenza Ferrara

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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.

If you have prac­ticed or expe­ri­enced other envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion activ­i­ties among the olive trees, let us know. We would like to share your sto­ries.
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