With the assistance of the local environmental organization Gia ti Fisi, members of the Pan-Rhodian Society of America Apollon and students from the University of Connecticut's Center for Hellenic Studies Paideia visited Rhodes in an effort to restore an area of forest burned last summer. (Photo: Gia ti Fisi/ Courtesy of the Pan-Rhodian Society)
RHODES – The Pan-Rhodian Society of America- Apollon and the University of Connecticut’s Center for Hellenic Studies Paideia adopted 380 acres of forest in Rhodes that had burned last summer, Dimokratiki reported on January 8. The area between Lardos – Laermos and Apollonia will be cared for jointly by the Pan-Rhodian Society and the Center for Hellenic Studies Paideia for the next 10 years, in an effort by Rhodians from around the world to restore the burned areas of their beloved island.
With the assistance of the social cooperative enterprise for the environment Gia ti Fisi (Common Nature) based in Rhodes, representatives of the Pan-Rhodian Society of America and students from the Center for Hellenic Studies Paideia visited the area on January 5. They learned about the local flora and the magnitude of the destruction of the island’s forests in the last 40 years, and also planted their first trees.
Among those participating were Pan-Rhodian Society President and the Director of the University of Connecticut’s Center for Hellenic Studies Paideia Ilias Tomazos, Pan-Rhodian Society of New York- Apollon Vice President Kalliopi Ziangos, members of the administration John Fotiou, Stefanos Hrisalos, and GeorgiosBoniatis, as well as students from the Center for Hellenic Studies Paideia.
“For us Rhodians living abroad, it is very important to be able to keep the feeling of Hellenism rooted in the hearts of our children. Now we have before us the fifth generation descendants of those first Rhodians and Greeks of the Diaspora in general. Some of these children have never visited Greece, which is why we have a sacred purpose to show them the country of their ancestors, to learn about our sacred lands. In this way, today’s children will become the adults who will teach the next five generations about Hellenism that flows in their blood. By adopting the burned areas of our homeland, planting trees, and helping prevent the forests from burning again, we are essentially creating additional links between the Greek community and the homeland,” explained Tomazos to all the participants.
Gia ti Fisi has undertaken the care of the newly planted trees, including regular watering, protection from uncontrolled grazing, taking photographs and geotagging with GPS. The same company will also take care of protecting the native vegetation in the area, so that the trees growing on their own do not fall prey to the free-roaming goats, sheep, and deer in the region. At the same time, it will be responsible for informing the Forest Service about everything that happens in the area and to obtain the relevant permits. Each new tree, whether planted by human hand or sprouted by itself, has its own identity and the forester of the company can at any time have a clear picture of its natural development.
The area adopted by the Pan-Rhodian Society and the Center for Hellenic Studies Paideia completes the wider area that has been adopted jointly by the Rhodes Hoteliers Association, the Dodecanese Tourist Offices Association, and 25 large hoteliers and inbound tourism agents of Rhodes.
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