LEAF National Operators Meeting 2018 in Lavrio (Greece)

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The annual National Operators Meeting (NOM) for the LEAF Programme was held in Greece, at the Environmental Educational Centre of Lavrion (EECL) during April 20-22. The EECL is housed within the facilities of the Technological and Cultural Park of Lavrion. National Operators from Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Russia, Tanzania, Turkey, USA and Greece participated in the NOM, which was organized by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (HSPN), FEE member in Greece.

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The meeting was launched by Ms. Lesley Jones, President of the FEE Board of Directors (BoD), who welcomed the attendees. She highlighted the constantly expanding work of FEE, which today counts with 96 members in 77 countries, having started with 4 members in 4 countries in 1981. FEE’s significant contribution to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) worldwide throughout the years is attested by its partnerships with international bodies such as UNESCO and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Mr. Nikos Petrou, President of HSPN BoD and FEE Board Member with overall responsibility for the LEAF programme, pointed out the contribution of HSPN in Environmental Education (EE) since its establishment in 1951, and emphasised the importance of LEAF, both in Greece and internationally.

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Ms. Katerina Igglezi, President of the Special Standing Committee for Environmental
Protection of the Greek Parliament, referred to the crucial role of EE for the environment and society. She also announced an initiative of the Greek Parliament for the establishment of a national forest strategy and the adoption of the Mediterranean forestry model. Mr. Giannis Adamis, Deputy Mayor of Lavreotiki Municipality, focused on environmental education as an important parameter for the local development strategy in the Lavreotiki municipality, in which the National Park of Sounio is also located.

Ms. Maria Kayafa, leader of the pedagogical team of the EECL, discussed the necessity
for partnerships in the framework of environmental educational programmes and the
pedagogical work of the ECCL. Mr. Stavros Antonakas, President and CEO of Olympic
Marine, one of the oldest marines in Greece awarded with the «Blue Flag» and HSPN
supporter, referred to their sensitivity towards environmental issues and to their
goal to improve continuously in terms of quality, safety, and environmental
protection. Mr. Barry McGonigal, International LEAF Director, after his greeting,
presented last year’s developments, emphasising the need to develop regional
cooperation.

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During the following two days, technical issues of the programme were analysed with
presentations from the participants and selected invited speakers, good practices
were presented and the bases for the creation of educational material and prototype actions, as well as regional cooperation, were established. Students from the Doukas High School participating in the YRE programme conducted interviews with the attendees. The participants were enchanted by their specially guided visit to the
archaeological site of Sounio and the temple of Poseidon, as well as their walk on the
educational path through the National Park of Sounio that was coordinated by the
pedagogic team of the EECL.

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