Marine Adventures Respecting the Environment
Start date: Jan 2, 2015,
End date: Mar 1, 2016
THE PROJECT - Marine Adventures Respecting Environment (M.A.R.E.) is a European volunteering project that has enabled the Marine Protected Area Punta Campanella to host youth from various countries since 2013. The volunteers help MPA’s staff protect the environment. The 2015 edition will last 8 months and will host 8 volunteers from 8 countries: Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Latvia, Czech Republic, Spain and Tunisia.
MOST RELEVANT TOPICS - The main topics promoted by the project are: active citizenship, volunteering and social inclusion of the youth, raising awareness about environmental protection, healthy and active lifestyle, eco-sustainable tourism.
CONTEXT - The project takes place along the Sorrento and Amalfi coast, within the territory of the Marine Protected Area “Punta Campanella”, a national protected area where there are two Sites of Community Importance. The Park area is widespread, covers six different towns and is highly touristic. The MPA enables the volunteers to work during outdoor activities with professionals in the fields of environmental protection, environmental and marine biology management.
OBJECTIVES – The project’s objectives are the volunteers’ personal development thanks to human and formative experiences in the field of environmental protection. Volunteers will actively promote Ecotourism and environmental protection thanks to marine and land activities. They will help the Park raise awareness among the local population, Italian and foreign tourists about environmental protection (for example consequences of our individual actions on common goods) through environmental education for children and adults. They will contribute to environmental protection also monitoring the flora and fauna of the Park. As a consequence, the volunteers will constantly live close to nature, learn to value the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in which physical exercise and a healthy diet are daily matters.
ACTIVITIES AND METHODS: The project aims at creating concrete examples of sustainable eco-touristic practices in the highly touristic area where the Marine Protected Area “Punta Campanella” is located. The international volunteers and the Park’s staff will work side by side in the Park’s regular activities and support it mostly in one area inside the Park – the Ieranto Bay – where decreasing the environmental impact of mass tourism is an absolute priority. The prolonged stay of a group of active and well-visible young volunteers will create a more effective interface between the Park’s regular staff and the local population, especially the youth. Volunteers will engage and coordinate eco-tourism outdoor activities - from light trekking to aquatic sports – which are being offered to tourists in order to promote ecological explorations of the area. They will also operate in the most remote areas of the Park and promote active citizenship and inclusive social interactions while supporting eco-touristic projects and events. The volunteers will deal with the local marine culture built by long-time fishermen whose lives have revolved around the sea. Besides, the volunteers will learn how to cultivate agricultural products and self-production methods; they will be responsible for growing fruits and vegetables useful to their healthy diet and take care of the horticultural garden close to their residence. Activities and experiences will be designed so that the volunteers learn by doing thanks to non formal and informal learning approaches. Therefore, they will actively participate in their EVS experience. The volunteers’ initiatives and suggestions will be valued and problems that may arise will be coped with through problem solving methods.
RESULTS - The project will have a positive impact on the volunteers: they will develop new competences and strengthen their willingness to be active citizens. “Not only this project enabled me to learn another language, I also had the opportunity to discover other cultures, to learn new skills … to reflect on what I want to do … to learn … to grow." S. Lacombe (M.A.R.E. 2013). Thanks to their involvement, the volunteers will unequivocally show the population, the media and tourists the EU’s commitment towards the youth and environmental protection, and will be examples to follow.
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