Inclusive Summer Camps in Italy’s Montagne Fiorentine Model Forest Train the Next Generation of Forest Leaders

March 28, 2024 | Written BY : IMFN

 

For Italy’s Montagne Fiorentine Model Forest Association in Tuscany, there’s no better classroom than a forest. For the past two years, the Montagne Fiorentine Model Forest Association has been running interactive summer camps to educate children ages 8-14 about the principles of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in particular the importance of sustainable landscapes.

In partnership with the local municipality of Rufina, Rufina schools and the Florence Savings Bank Foundation, Agenda 2030 Summer Camps (“Campi Estivi Agenda 2030”, in Italian) offer playful, multisensory activities designed to deepen children’s enthusiasm and respect for the surrounding forest and agricultural landscapes.

During these week-long camps, more than 100 children have learned about the rich biodiversity in the Florentine mountains, along with the principles of sustainable agriculture used by local farmers. In 2024, children will work with local experts to build a solar-powered water purifier, among other useful agricultural tools.

Through art, music, science and reading activities in municipal parks, museums and private forests, the camp aims to open children’s hearts and minds to the importance of nature.

“The first and most important principle for us is the principle of inclusion,” says Marina Muñoz Duran, Coordinator of Agenda 2030 Summer Camps, and Productive Sectors Coordinator of the Montagne Fiorentine Model Forest. “We welcome all children, from different social, cultural, and economic backgrounds to interact and learn to help each other in a very beautiful and natural way.”

Every year, Agenda 2030 Summer Camps welcome children with disabilities, and in 2024 the camps will also recruit and work with staff with disabilities. Building on this inclusive spirit, the camps show children the importance of extending respect to everyone and everything around them.

“This has been the most beautiful experience of my life,” says 10-year-old Vieri Panerai, who participated in a week-long Agenda 2030 camp in 2023.

“It’s an incredible feeling to hear from kids and parents that the camps impact families in such a positive way, both during and long after their summer experience,” says Vito Maida, Mayor of Rufina. “The municipality is very happy to support the camps again this year, and in the years to come,” adds Maida.

More broadly, Agenda 2030 Summer Camps are providing an innovative example of how local sustainability efforts can support broader environmental goals.

“The Montagne Fiorentine Model Forest’s summer camps show how Model Forests are helping to train the future generation of local forest leaders to achieve national and international objectives,” says Émilie Sasseville, Knowledge Management and Research Analyst for the International Model Forest Network Secretariat.

For Marina Muñoz Duran, connecting local actions to global goals is what it’s all about.

“If we transmit to our future generations the best principles, we can build better, more sustainable societies all over the world that are inclusive and respectful of the environment.”

 

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