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The IMBOSCHIAMOCI 2020 initiative successfully concluded, carried out in collaboration between the Agricultural Department and the Aspromonte Park

The "Imboschiamoci per studiare" 2020 initiative has ended, traditionally promoted by the courses of study in forest and environmental sciences (L25 + LM73) of the Department of Agriculture of the Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria. Each year, under this title, residential exercises in the woods are proposed that lead students to make experiential and application-based didactic insights: in the context of weekly periods of coexistence and common work, students - accompanied by teachers, guides and professionals - learn so to get to know better the environments and the heritage of Calabria's natural parks, among the forests now of the Aspromonte, now of the Serre or of the Sila and of the Pollino.
This year, the Covid-19 emergency did not allow "Afforestiam 2020" to be carried out in a residential form in the Aspromonte National Park, as had already been foreseen. Nevertheless, with the patronage of the Park, the Department offered students the opportunity to live an interesting educational experience online, focused on urban and peri-urban green. In this way, attention was focused on the quality of living places and on urban ecosystems, so strongly questioned during the health emergency. In addition, we wanted to tackle the new contents with which from this year the degree courses in Forest and Environmental Sciences have expanded their educational offer, with the establishment of new curricula on the design and management of green areas.
From May 26 to June 5, five online seminars were offered, held on the Microsoft Teams platform. The first two, shared with the Agricultural Library in the "Open Green: Green beyond the screen" cycle, dealt with the themes of urban and peri-urban forestry (May 26) and monumental trees (June 3), with speakers professors Giovanni Sanesi (University of Bari) and Rosario Schicchi (University of Palermo). Extended reports of these seminars have already been published on the institutional website of the Department:
More specifically, the students of the Forest and Environmental Science courses were able to get in touch with the operational realities and the professional world through a second cycle of seminars, each lasting two hours, entitled "We work and we are broke."
The first meeting of the series, which took place on 29 May, was led by Prof. Daniela Romano (University of Catania), who carried out the theme "There is green and green: public green between environmental criteria and regulatory requirements". The rapporteur dealt with the functions and services provided by public green areas and stressed their contribution to achieving sustainability objectives. Green spaces, however, must in turn be planned, designed and managed in a sustainable way in compliance with specific criteria defined by the recent Ministerial Decree no. 63 of 10 March 2020, containing "Minimum environmental criteria (CAM) for the public green management service and the supply of green care products". The CAM are an essential component of the necessary medium-long term strategic approach, so that the contracting stations, in particular the municipal administrations, equip themselves and apply the most advanced public green management tools, such as the green census, the plan of greenery, the regulation of public greenery and the arboreal balance (which represent the basis for a correct and effective management of urban greenery). In this way, it will be possible to avoid qualitatively scarce or even harmful interventions on the territory, with a consequent increase in costs for the community. The individual criteria were analyzed and, in the final part of her intervention, Prof. Romano showed consistent examples of revitalization of urban spaces. Among others, examples of functional recovery and greening of disused infrastructures, forms of participatory management of greenery, experiences of agriculture and urban forestry also carried out with social intent were shown.
On June 4, the second seminar of the cycle took place, which dealt with the application implications of the contents introduced by Prof. Romano and framed them in the current legislation, seeing them in light of Law 10 of 2013 "Rules for the development of spaces urban greens ". Thematic analyzes were carried out in the municipal area, on the monitoring and management of public green areas. The seminar was entitled "The green we have in common" and the speakers were the forestry doctor Vincenzo Cotroneo (Head of the Agriculture and Public Green Service - Environment sector of the Municipality of Reggio Calabria) and the agronomist dr. Bruno Nicolò (Head of the Parks, Gardens and Beaches Service of Castore SPL s.r.l.). The speakers not only dealt with technical and operational aspects on the matter, but related them to their personal professional experience, linking the latter to the studies completed at Agraria and subsequent training.
Finally, in the third seminar (June 5) entitled "We who live in green", the naturalist Giuseppe Martino introduced students to the observation and knowledge of urban fauna, referring to the city of Reggio Calabria and the Strait area. Martino paid particular attention to birdlife, showing its importance as an essential, but often forgotten, component of urban ecosystems.
IMBOSCHIAMOCI 2020 had a large participation of students and teachers, recording a total of 380 presences, with an average of 76 seminar participants, which documents the interest held by the initiative despite its provision in electronic form. In his closing speech, the Director of the Department of Agriculture Prof. Giuseppe Zimbalatti expressed appreciation for the organizational work carried out by the coordinators of the degree courses in forest and environmental sciences, professors Salvatore Di Fazio and Paolo Porto, with the collaboration of the representatives of the students. In addition, he greeted the numerous teachers who with their online presence wanted to accompany and support the training experience. Expressions of esteem and thanks were addressed to dr. Antonino Siclari, present on behalf of the Aspromonte Park Authority, now a habitual partner of "Imboschiamoci".

Dr. Siclari was reserved an intervention to close the cycle of seminars. He stressed that an undoubted merit of the initiative was to introduce us to a world, that of nature, which has no boundaries. This precisely in the period in which we all suffered from domestic or urban confinement. "Many this year, just the year we don't go to the woods together, have wondered what the Aspromonte Park, a national natural park, has to do with seminars that deal with urban green or urban fauna. Instead, the Park has something to do with it, precisely because reality is not compartmentalized in watertight spaces. A park radiates what it has inside and receives a lot from the outside. In our case, the Aspromonte Park lives a relative proximity to the urban center of Reggio Calabria and incorporates part of the municipal area, therefore it is important to see the interaction between the urban ecosystem and the natural ecosystem ". Referring also to his experience, dr. Siclari underlined the formative value of "Imboschiamoci", also because of the possibility it offers students to relate to agricultural graduates who work professionally in the environmental and forestry fields, thus learning about job opportunities and the necessary training courses. "I consider myself an emblematic case," said Siclari to the students, "because I graduated with a thesis on goat's milk and ended up dealing with wildlife working in a national park. What was in the way? I kept my curiosity alive and continued to study and train, even after graduation, having to learn many new things. The beauty of this experience you have is that it keeps curiosity alive. Curiosity is the true enzyme that activates knowledge. You never stop studying, you know, but studying becomes really nice if curiosity remains alive ".

NOTE: The video recordings of the seminars and the in-depth material of the contents treated are available for all students and teachers of Forest and Environmental Sciences within the "Imboschiamoci" Team, on Microsoft Teams

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