Although they are separated by an age difference of two years, Maria (8th grade) and Ilinca (10th grade) are united by their common passion for ecology and the environment. We invite you to find out from the following interview the story of the tree planting action that they have planned in the smallest detail and how they reorganised after the event was canceled at the last moment.
Avenor College: What was the idea behind your project?
Ilinca: Ilinca: Through my scholarship project I wanted to help the Avenor community become ”greener”.
Maria: We wanted to raise awareness towards an important global issue that is deforestation. This subject has interested me ever since primary school, which is why I made the most out of the opportunity that my scholarship projects presented. They have helped me include my hobbies and passions and share them with the whole community.
A. C.: What have you done so far for this project and where are you now?
Ilinca: In the first semester, we managed to organise down to the last detail a tree planting event – Avenor Reforestation.
Maria: The project has been discussed and developed, eventually presenting it to every class from Preparatory to 12th, and the number of people wanting to participate exceeded our expectations – 120 participants. The project was fully ready to happen, but sadly it was canceled by the partner we were working with, Romsilva. Currently, we have started discussions with our project coordinator and we are working towards organising Avenor Reforestation this spring.
A. C .: What are the next steps?
Ilinca: The next steps are discussions with various NGOs with which we can partner and organise the next edition of Avenor Reforestation. We look forward to announcing the community when we have more details set.
Maria: We are also going to register for the Eco Film Awards organised by COBIS, where we will present in a short video how our community integrates sustainability through the Avenor Reforestation project.
A. C .: What did you find most difficult about this project?
Ilinca: I think the most difficult part of this project was when we had to create the registration questionnaire. Although it seems a small thing, I personally did not have much experience with this type of document. What was the order of the questions? Do we have to ask for the participants’ email addresses? How do I attach a map to the questionnaire? All these were small things, but they taught me skills that I use often and that help me in other projects.
Maria: The most demanding part of this project was to be able to include every member of the community, regardless of age. This required a lot of work, as we had to adapt the information presented from 6-year-olds to adults. However, the children reacted with great enthusiasm, which encouraged us on this journey.
A. C .: What surprised you?
Ilinca: This autumn, when we organised the reforestation project, we all wanted to gather as many people as possible, and have as much impact as possible, but I don’t think anyone expected to have more than 120 people enrolled. I remember that we wanted to gather a little more than 50 people, the number of participants in the previous edition of the event.
Maria: An unexpected thing was the interest of the primary school children and their ability to understand, from an early age, the importance of trees. This helped us to continue and ensured success.
A. C .: What did you discover about yourself as a team working on this project?
Ilinca: Due to the fact that we were a team, we had the opportunity to share our tasks. This helped us work faster, and to check each other’s small mistakes. We had more ideas, but most importantly, we had a bigger impact – we presented the project to all classes in the school (from preparatory to 12th).
Maria: Un avantaj al diferenței de vârstă dintre mine și Ilinca a fost impactul extins pe care l-am avut asupra colegilor noștri. She, being in high school, knew how to communicate better with her peers, and I managed with my peers, in lower secondary school.
A. C .: What are the main benefits of your project to the Avenor community?
Ilinca: I think Avenor Reforestation has given everyone in the community a chance to come and help, it has given us a chance to socialize and learn new skills – how to plant trees, for example. Another benefit of the project was that it raised awareness of the whole community, even if not everyone was able to participate in the event. Maria and I went to all grades and gave a presentation, followed by a question and answer session, in which we talked about the deforestation rates in Romania and in the world, as well as about the benefits of forests.
Maria: I believe that Avenor Reforestation caught the attention of all the students and raised the awareness of the community towards an important cause. Also, researching about mass deforestation took me out of the “bubble” in which I lived, waking me up to reality.