Ecowise helps school groups to create service education projects focused on environmental sustainability and biodiversity conservation. These activities are practical ways to explore ideas of citizenship and social responsibility and encourage students to think about how their compassionate intentions and positive actions make a difference in the world. Students can engage in existing long-term projects or we can devise new ones that motivate and inspire them. Examples of projects have included: river clean-ups, creating wildlife gardens, coppicing and path clearance in community woodlands, and restoring rare orchid habitats.
For the last three years, The International School of Zug & Luzern has been bringing a select group of 12th grade students to get their hands dirty and help save an endangered community of wild orchids near in Aramengo, a village in Piemonte, Italy. Through habitat management activities such as shrub clearance and weeding-out invasive species, this group of committed students have collaborated with the local authority and village community to help restore an area of dry, alkaline meadowland that is characterised by a rich community of wild and threatened orchid species. They are accommodated in a wonderful local castle, eat great Italian local cuisine and get plenty of chances to explore and study this relatively unknown area of rural Italy. Their efforts are already showing results; this spring (2014), we discovered that a few orchid species (Ophrys apifera & Gymnadenia canopsea) that have not been seen for many years are returning to the restored areas where the project is taking place.)
Ecowise can also help schools design and develop their own site specific school wildlife gardens, school vegetable gardens and wild-playgrounds. These landscaped spaces provide green oasis of peace and nature in the school environment and provide out of the classroom learning laboratories and valuable places for the wider school community.
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