A two-day experiential environmental education seminar was held last week, 22nd -23rd November, by Evergetoulas Environmental Education Centre of Lesvos Island and Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation, in collaboration with the environmental education addresses of Samos.

The objective of the seminar, which was attended by 50 teachers of Samos, was to inform and sensitize them about the unique natural wealth and rare biodiversity of the island. At the same time, the aim was to inspire them and to provide them with practical educational tools so they can pass in the best possible way this knowledge to the children, which will be asked in the future to manage the natural wealth of Samos and to correct the mistakes they inherited from previous generations.

Archipelagos Institute provided, for this reason, useful data and knowledge gained from scientific research carried out on a non-profit basis for almost four years in Samos, in collaboration with scientists, students and volunteers from around the world.

The seminar focused mainly on marine and terrestrial biodiversity of Samos, with emphasis on marine mammals, the unique species of Samos (jackals, chameleons, migratory birds, bats), pollution caused by human activity on land and sea, as well as the ever-fiercer scatter plastic waste problem in the environment. Emphasis was given also in the research of international interest implemented by Archipelagos Institute over the past three years in the Aegean to detect tiny plastic fibers in marine environment, fish and other marine organisms.

In the context of experiential education, the seminar included a visit to the Salt Marsh of Samos, point of interest and protected natural habitat, home to rare species of migratory birds, mainly from autumn to spring. Archipelagos Institute monitors, records and researches the environment of the Salt Marsh, as well as the species it hostis, in order to highlight not only its environmental but also its economic and tourism importance for the island. A characteristic example is the Salt Marsh of Lesvos Island, where Evergetoulas Environmental Education Centre is working to highlight it, has attracted tourists, outside of the summer tourist season. Travelers visit the Salt Marsh to observe and admire the rare birds it hosts, benefiting in many ways the island’s economy.

Our message to teachers, authorities and all inhabitants of the islands is that the the paths of environmental protection and economic development run parallel.