From the 1st to the 4th of February 2023, the Grey4Green partners will meet in person for the second Transnational Project Meeting in Denmark at the Fo-Aarhus headquarters. It will be the occasion to look at what has been done in 2022 and lay the foundation for the next project steps, including training, volunteer programmes and much more.
More in detail, the draft of the compendium of best practices on senior education for nature conservation, collected from all over Europe and the Online Learning Platform targeting seniors will be presented to the partners. There are already senior volunteering platforms, so what will be the novelty of the Online Platform? None of the already existing platforms is specifically devoted to environmental programmes.
The participants through this platform will be guided to a safe environment where the elderly and staff members can communicate and practice their intercultural and linguistic skills and informally develop ICT competencies. This output will respond to the need to find placements for senior volunteering and senior volunteers who wish to participate in green programmes.
Last but not least, the meeting will be an opportunity to consolidate the already strong Grey4Green consortium and get to know Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city!
Since elderly people feel strongly motivated to help nature conservation by thinking about future generations and being around them, the Municipality of Lousada organized together with the contributions of three schools, tree plantation actions to promote intergenerational volunteering.
The first event involved 37 kids from the 7th grade to the high school, 13 seniors and 3 young volunteers from Associação VERDE. It took place in a public green area- an urban village park- in the village centre. This volunteering action resulted from a partnership between the Grey4Green Lousada team, a local primary and secondary schools and Associação VERDE.
The second one, brought together 42 kids from the primary school, 30 seniors from different parishes and 4 12th-grade students from the high school who are observing and helping to promote Grey4Green activities with the objective of developing work in the discipline of psychology. This volunteering action took place in Mata de Vilar, a very important native forest from the municipality of Lousada. The main goal of both tree plantations was to:
“create a safe and cooperative community atmosphere to promote environmental action and awareness while fostering emotional and social ties between school and senior communities, thus contributing to a greener and fair future”.
These intergenerational plantations achieved great results, not only because of the number of trees the volunteers
planted – 276 native trees – but also because of empirical knowledge that seniors shared with those kids and young people and the feeling of joy and sense of community lived during the actions.
While the seniors taught the younger ones how to plant trees, they shared their lives and experiences with them.
Also, the younger ones were impressed about how grave seniors were once they had some physical difficulties but even though they kept the focus on the work full of energy and bravery. At the end of both plantations, kids were calling elderly grandparents, which was a very emotional moment. Regarding the ecological result, all the planted trees were native, a demonstration of enhancing the ecological value of the grove in public areas of the territory, promoting biodiversity and contributing to the quality of life in Lousada.
As the impact of these intergenerational volunteer actions has proven to have a great impact on the local communities in terms of increasing civic engagement, especially from elderly and young people, we are planning future similar volunteering actions for 2023. We expect to involve more volunteers from all ages and plant and restore many other areas.
On the 24th of January was held the first Grey4Green meeting in Iceland to introduce the project and its objectives to future potential partners.
The meeting was really successful, the Reykjavík municipality (Reykjavíkurborg), the Icelandic environment association (Sjálfboðaliðasamtök um náttúruvernd) and the Icelandic Forestry Association (Skógræktarfélag Íslands) showed great interest and enthusiasm for the project.
The aim of the meeting was to get to know one another, have an overview of each of the participants’ knowledge and experience in organising volunteering projects or working with the elderly and, of course, start building a local Grey4Green group.
“Our main goal during this meeting was to create an Icelandic team that will work together in the future,” said the EAI staff.
There are many initiatives and projects organised already in Iceland so this is exciting to create more synergy between institutions and propose more projects to 60+ volunteers. In the next few weeks, the discussion will continue among the participants of the meeting and, hopefully, more partners will join the group!
On November 5th 2022, Associação BioLiving promoted its annual conference on environment and sustainability under the topic «Active Ageing for Sustainable Communities: Elders in Action!».
The event took place in Albergaria-a-Velha, Aveiro (Portugal) and was hosted by Associação BioLiving (Grey4Green Team), Municipality of Albergaria-a-Velha, Associação Social para Idosos com Vida and Centro de Interpretação da Pateira de Frossos.
The Conference aimed to involve citizens and experts in a debate on the importance of senior participation and intergenerational in the development of local communities towards the conservation of natural and cultural values as well as the promotion of social inclusion and quality of life. The sixth edition of this «BioFórum» took place in São João de Loure e Frossos, a rural parish of Albergaria-a-Velha, which is home to a large number of third-age citizens, and involved about 40 people from the academic field, public administrations, professionals of the ageing and health sector, as well as citizens of all ages.
Not only did the conference «Elders in Action!» allow the dissemination of scientific and empirical knowledge necessary to learn about active ageing in a holistic way, but also its friendly environment created opportunities for networking and partnerships between projects on social inclusion, active ageing, environmental education, through the exchange of good practices.
Grey4Green was presented as a positive example of a project aimed at promoting active ageing while contributing to climate action, as well as at mobilising older people and harnessing their potential as productive citizens and agents of change.
Senior citizens took a place of action in the event mainly as facilitators of workshops, where they were able to share their knowledge with people of all ages, whether cooking local and seasonal gastronomy, whether doing art craftwork.
It was powerful the sense of community that was felt during the day, especially when the senior participants took charge of the workshops with their humility, confidence and knowledge.
Dozens of people returned home that day thinking about the value of senior contributions in society and its potential for building a more sustainable and inclusive community.
In 2023, we expect partnerships strengthened on that day to bear fruit with more opportunities for social inclusion and environmental awareness for all ages.
Not everybody knows that in the South of Aarhus, a forest belt stretches 7 kilometres along the coast. The part of the forest near the city is known as Marselisborg Skovene (the Marselisborg Forests).
The large, continuous and old beech stands which can be seen in this area are quite unique in Denmark and for this reason, a Forest User Council for the Marselisborg Forest in Aarhus was created by the Municipality of Aarhus so that its users can discuss and weigh their respective interests against each other. The 16- person Council is now in place and the first working meeting was held in December chairmanship of Aarhus Municipality, Technology and Environment Department. The municipality hopes to avoid or minimise conflicts and to create a common understanding of the measures being taken, partly as a result of the decision to create and wilder nature in the Marselisborg forests and partly to support and develop outdoor life.
This is an initial effort of the Aarhus insights Municipality in partnership with NGOs, among others, the Danish Society for Nature Conservation.
The Danish Society for Nature Conservation (DN) work focuses on the use and protection of the environment:
– Danes should have access to nature and actually use it to enjoy great, enriching nature experiences.
– It is DNs ongoing task to uphold and inculcate the fundamental premise on which all recreational activities should be conducted: on the premise of nature and taking into account the fragile ecosystem that the forest represents, before anything else.
– There is a need for a wider understanding and acceptance that biodiversity itself is a legitimate and equal “actor” that, in line with all the other interests, should be given dedicated space and opportunities, and not just be subordinated in any context.
To know more click here (only the DK version is available).
Are you a senior who is passionate about nature conservation? If so, it’s not too late to get involved and make a difference! As a senior, you have a wealth of experience and knowledge to offer, and there are many organizations that would be thrilled to have you as a volunteer. Evidence supports the idea that seniors can make valuable contributions as volunteers in nature conservation efforts.
For example, a study published in the Journal of People Plants Environment named “Seniors’ Participation in Gardening Improves Nature Relatedness, Psychological Well-Being, and Pro-environmental Behavioral Intentions” (Jang-Hwan Jo, Seunguk Shin, Young-Gyun Son, Byung-Chul An) found that older adults who volunteered for habitat restorationprojects experienced a range of physical, mental, and social benefits, including increasedphysical activity improved mental health and increased social connections.
Furthermore, seniors who participated in citizen science projects reported increased knowledge about the natural world, a greater sense of accomplishment and purpose, and increased feelings of connectedness to their communities.
Overall, the evidence suggests that seniors can make valuable contributions as volunteers in nature conservation efforts and that such efforts can also provide a range of personal benefits for seniors.
One of the most rewarding ways to get involved in nature conservation as a senior is to join a local conservation group or nature club. These organizations often host events and activities such as beach cleanups, trail maintenance, or habitat restoration, and they rely on volunteers to make them a success. Not only will you be helping to protect the environment, but you’ll also have the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and make new friends.
Another option is to volunteer at a nature centre, wildlife rehabilitation centre, or other organization that focuses on conservation and environmental education. These types of organizations often have a variety of volunteer opportunities available, from leading nature walks and giving presentations to assisting with animal care and visitor services.
If you prefer to work on your own, you might consider participating in citizen science projects, such as monitoring birds or collecting data on local plant and animal populations. These types of projects allow you to contribute to scientific research and gain a deeper understanding of the natural world, all while working at your own pace and in a location that suits you.
Finally, don’t forget the many volunteer opportunities at botanical gardens and arboreta. These beautiful spaces often need volunteers to help with gardening, plant care, or visitor education, and they provide a peaceful and tranquil setting in which to work.
So why wait?
There are so many ways for seniors to get involved in nature conservation as volunteers. Whether you prefer to work in a group or on your own, there’s a volunteer opportunity out there that’s right for you. Take the first step today and start making a difference in the natural world!
Grey4Green project aims to promote active ageing and contribute to climate action through the involvement of senior citizens in nature conservation volunteering programmes.
What are the next steps Grey4Green (G4G) will take? What is on the agenda? By sending four newsletters in the upcoming years, project partners would be glad to share with you updates and insights about this initiative, and answer these questions! From a general standpoint, voluntary programmes in Iceland, Portugal and Denmark will be carried out next year involving senior citizens eager to experience international exchanges, environmental, social, language, literacy, intercultural and interpersonal skills. Senior staff will be trained and enhanced to develop and implement such programmes.
The Grey4Green Consortium will produce high-quality outputs (a policy brief on unravelling the potential of active ageing in nature conservation, and an online observatory platform on best practices are just a few examples) to encourage the implementation of senior volunteering programmes across the EU valorising the elderly and their potential as productive citizens and active agents of change!
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On 5 and 6 October 2022,6 partners from 5 different countries met in Reykjavik, Iceland for the official launch of the new Erasmus + Grey4Green project.
During these days of intensive work in Reykjavik, at the headquarters of the Icelandic Environment Agency (project partner), the partners discussed future steps to be taken and exchanged ideas and visions for the project.
Indeed, the ageing of the population is a worldwide phenomenon with critical implications for all sectors of society. Due to low birth rates, high life expectancy and migration flow dynamics, the worldwide population is “turning grey”, and Europe is not an exception. An ageing population brings social, health, economic, and other issues.
The Grey4Green project is determined to support excellence in research on climate science and climate policy, respond to the urgency of developing competencies in various sustainability-relevant sectors, develop green and sectorial (3rd age) skills strategies and methodologies, as well as future-oriented training schemes that meet the needs of individuals and organisations.
Overall, these two days in Reykjavik have proven to be a successful beginning, and a good synergy was born, paving the way for the next 2 years of the project. It will be an intense and exciting path and the partners are ready to give their all for the cause: with a little grey, we could have a lot more green!
Let the journey begin!
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Project number: KA220-ADU-2021-017