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Sundries - From Little Acorns

by Nikos Thymakis
photographs by Irini Aspioti

For the full article see The Mediterranean Garden No 43, January 2006.

Greek version

Much has been said about the need for schoolchildren to become involved in planting projects, especially when these concern species belonging to the local flora. For in this way children may imbibe and register the message that Nature requires constant protection - a message that has perhaps not been thoroughly absorbed by their parents’ generation (us, that is to say). Based on this reasoning, on 8 November 2005 children from the kindergarten of the Commune of Aphidnes in Attica, Greece collected acorns from the large specimens of the Vallonea Oak (Quercus ithaburensis ssp. macrolepis) which are native to Mt. Parnitha, on the foothills of which lies their village. They then "sowed" them on a piece of ground beside the railway station, where they also planted three year-old saplings of this oak. This was the first time that such an activity had taken place in this village. It is of particular importance given that in the last few years the wider area has seen rampant development and many oak trees have been felled, in spite of the efforts of the authorities and the "Friends of the Forest" organisation. The presence of this oak in the vegetation of the region is significant because it does not catch fire easily, being without resin.

The children also learnt about the role that magpies play in the dissemination of acorns and took some home to use as decorations for the Christmas tree.

The teacher in charge, Mrs Irini Aspioti, said: “We’d like to encourage teachers and pupils to take part in activities like this - to get outside the school buildings and develop a positive attitude to the environment while at the same time learning of the value of evergreen trees in Nature.” We believe that the message from our young friends in Aphidnes is not only environmental but also deeply social, since all of us, children and adults alike, are responsible for preserving the natural environment, which is indeed part of ourselves.
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