An early adventure in wetlands at the Othoca Institute of Oristano

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"Really, creative day. I didn't know that wetlands hid so many surprises. And the workshops are also very interesting”. In the science lab the middle school pupils swarm from one experience to another. Some listen to the biological cycle of artemia salina, imagining the crustacean’s evolutionary states in the small basin. Others observe the water analysis process, or are bent over the microscope. More are enchanted by the projection of a slide on the large blackboard. Artemia fidgets endlessly against eggs not yet disclosed. "It is a very important moment for them, they will soon have to make an important choice for their future. Several among them will enroll here, it is good that they begin to know the spaces and the activities", explains Gianluca Sini, professor of science of the III B in the district n ° 1 of Oristano.

Students of the III M, III N and II F lead the their younger fellows among the environments and the experiences of the Othoca Institute, definitely at ease in the new role as teachers. "I think if they’re getting along pretty well. They have long prepared for this day. With Maria Pala of the MEDSEA foundation we have planned the activities, in methods and contents. It's nice to see them explain what the Special Protection Areas are, the Sites of Community Interest, the Ramsar sites and the Maristanis project”.

Another group of listeners is not far away, in the "Zoumate" multimedia wetlands laboratory. The Othoca’s students are waiting for them in front of the digital panels explaining the ponds of Sal'e Porcus and Cabras, those Marceddì and Santa Giusta, the life of the hoopoe and the the flamingo, the rush and the eel. "I was a little tense at the beginning, but now it's better. It was important to understand the complexity and richness of wetlands. Sometimes we live next to wonderful things without even knowing them" says Lucia Loria of the III M." “They are not just hours of school-work alternation. Getting ready with our professors and with Dr. Pala was really interesting, as well as taking on a new challenge", adds his partner, Maura Pintus.

“One of the most important goals of the Maristanis project is to ensure that the wetlands of the Gulf of Oristano conquer a space in the environmental geography of the younger generations. The Othoca is central in this purpose, we would like as many students as possible to pass through the splendid Zoumate laboratory" says Maria Pala, MEDSEA environmental consultant and project coordinator. "Seeing high school kids who pass the message around fills us with satisfaction. We are organizing the second phase of teaching. We would like to take the pupils to the lagoon for a long morning of birdwatching. In the meantime we decided to do something nice outdoors. Today is the national day of the trees, and together with the school management we thought of the best way to celebrate it".

In the garden, secondary school students attend the planting of myrtle, lentisk, rosemary, laurel, cork oaks and holm oak trees donated by Fo.Re.STAS. To guide them in the practice of shoveling the workers of the province, while notions about plants are delivered by Professor Christian Fadda: “It is essential to make young people respectful of trees and forests. We are trying to create a garden capable of hosting many activities, a place where students can attend the lessons. They’re always calm, almost reconciled when they are outdoors”.

The day began in the main hall with the speeches of the deputy head teacher Luciano Canu, of the MEDSEA biologist Claudia Desogus, who illustrated the Maristanis project, and of the II E class, collectively committed in explaining their project to reduce the environmental impact during school time. "This is a day the whole school wanted wished for", explains Franco Frongia, head teacher of the Othoca. “The contact between high school and middle school students is central, as well as explaining them that wetlands are part of our environmental and cultural heritage. In the garden we’ll now have new plants. One day they the students will think that the school preserves moments of their own story".