Intensive Environmental Program
Our Second project was initially unplanned, almost falling from the sky! It was an intensive environmental program with 24 teenagers, 12 from Saint Vincent and 12 from England that our team was asked to lead.
During this program we had the chance to work with many diverse issues at the same time, and the outcomes were awesome
When we first met the group of youngsters, they were two groups totally estranged to each other, and shy to interact.
After some icebreaking group dynamics, small trips and some encouragement, two days later we could already see 24 totally evolving individuals being much more open and confident with each other.
During those intensive weeks we were providing courses about biodiversity, waste, pollution, climate change and its consequences, smart agriculture and much more.
At the beginning we covered the theoretical with courses in the mornings. The courses were interactive so the students would keep their attention and focus. For me the best part came in the afternoon when we were implementing the theory through some practices…
Working in the fruit forest garden: a wild forest full of plants and fruit trees with a permaculture design Implementing lasagna beds: three layer planting beds that provide nitrogen and carbon to the soil through different materials, like manure, cardboard and organic matter,
Building a living fence: a barrier of trees that keep the soil well fixed and that can prevent animals from eating the ecosystem we try to preserve.
Making actions at the beach to prevent coastal erosion: Planting vetiver grass to make sure the soil is fixed to the ground and landslides will not happen easily. Vetiver is ideal because of the long roots of up to 8-feet that can attach to the ground very strongly.
We did a lot of study trips with the students, in which they learned more about how to process staple foods on the island; who was doing it and how was it done. In this way they could recognize where the food we were eating was coming from and the procedures it took to make it.
Learning about the island and being aware of the traditions, natural beauty and biodiversity was also a main part of this program.
After two intensive weeks learning and sharing knowledge, having evening programs with quality time together, and travelling around they created very tight relationships, they learned so much from each other and became more tolerant and open.
The shy guys we met the first day disappeared in the closing ceremony when they decide to play a song or perform a theatre piece to show us what they have learn and gain during this process. It was beautiful indeed to see again how much knowledge and power the future generations have.
To drive this power into something positive and useful for the whole of humanity is priceless.
To conclude I can just say that this experience in Saint Vincent has been eye opening and so beneficial.
The happiness of feeling useful to others and to nature makes me feel proud and powerful. We all have to understand the big threats to the environment and to our future generations. Being part of the solution and taking steps toward a better future is our duty and something we owe to our children.
I have spent most of my life waiting for other to take a stand to change things, but during this program I have learned that all of us can do many things.
Things won’t change by chance but by choices and in that we all have an important role to play.