During this year’s Global Gathering 2023 in Corfu Kerkyra, the Conservation Collective (CC) celebrated for the 2nd year the Conservation Collectives – the greatest celebration of local achievement and project impact throughout CC’s global network.
The Global Gathering is an annual event where members of the CC’s network meet to exchange experiences and knowledge and develop skills on the conservation and regeneration of their natural ecosystems.
This year projects were awarded in 6 different categories: (i) Preserve, protect and regenerate natural habitats, (ii) Helping native species to thrive, (iii) Slow down and adapt to climate change, (iv) Reduce pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, (v) Most successful fundraising initiative and (vi) Biggest impact project/Initative. The awards were judged by the CC’s Global Advisory Panel, consisting of specialists that advice and guide the network across a range of sectors including marine conservation, regenerative agriculture, waste and pollution and biodiversity among others.
The Cyprus Environment Foundation was this year’s winner of the category “Preserve, Protect and Regenerate Natural Habitats” with its project “Greening Cyprus in the Fire-Affected Areas” in collaboration with the Laona Foundation for the Conservation and the Regeneration of the Countryside and the 300,000 Trees for Limassol.
The fire-affected uplands of Larnaca and Limassol have been confronting a loss of productive soil, habitats and ecosystems in forests and agricultural land affected by the recent wildfires of the summer 2021. Land abandonment and failure to maintain terraces over the years, has led to soil erosion which further undermines the reestablishment of vegetation in the fire-affected areas. This project targeted the restoration of the fire-affected area of Eptagonia. Through volunteer training and community engagement the project’s team managed to exceed its initial goals by helping restore more than a 150 meters of degraded drywall terraces and planting over 300 native trees and bushes. To assure the establishment of newly planted species, innovative dryland techniques were implemented including the amending of species with beneficial microbes, natural minerals and biochar and the addition of organic mulching. An integral part of the project was to engage with the local community. Through 5 educative sessions 38 volunteers were trained in the construction of drywall terraces and more than a 150 volunteers participated in the organized tree planting events. To further engage with the nearby school, the project’s team organized educational sessions to instruct local elementary students on the importance of sustainable water and soil management through drywall terraces and native species establishment.
Since our establishment, we have been collaborating with the best environmental champions of the island conducting necessary conservation work in all our four areas of interest. As an organization, we strive to protect and enhance the natural ecosystems and biodiversity of Cyprus. It is our honor to have our work recognized within our first year of operation and we receive this recognition with pride and great responsibility. For the years to come, we aim to maintain and enhance our collaboration with the best local grassroot organizations and achieve a greater impact on the protection and conservation of our island’s unique natural environment.