Milan, 17th November 2023 - SEA BEYOND, the educational programme promoted by the Prada Group and UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to raise awareness on sustainability and ocean preservation, participated today in the second edition of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC FEST, taking place from today until 19th November in Milan, at CityLife Anteo Cinema and CityLife Shopping District.
The theme of this edition, which marks the 25th anniversary of National Geographic Italia, is “The Natural Capital”. More than 30 events and over 60 guests, including some of Italy’s most important National Geographic Explorers, address the main aspects of the impact on the environment.
SEA BEYOND participated in two events aimed at raising awareness of the importance of the ocean literacy for the new generations. The protagonist of both moments was Giovanni Chimienti, marine biologist, National Geographic Explorer, and author of the scientific discovery of the black coral in the waters of the Egadi Islands. This very rare species of coral indicates the presence of an almost uncontaminated ecosystem between 60 and 500 metres deep off the coast of Marettimo. The Prada Group has supported the dissemination of Chimienti’s studies and discoveries as part of its SEA BEYOND project, with the goal of sharing research findings, spreading the principles of ocean literacy and inspiring new generations to protect the sea. A documentary titled “Deep White Forest” (“Il Bianco nel Blu”) recounts the story of the scientific research.
In the first event, Giovanni Chimienti in conversation with young climate activist Sofia Pasotto talked about his profession as a researcher and how he discovered SEA BEYOND. Both Chimienti and SEA BEYOND share the goal to contribute to the ocean preservation through sharing knowledge on marine biodiversity. Chimienti commented: “My wish is that more and more young people discover the wonder of our sea and its extraordinary liveliness because only by getting to know it we understand the importance of the need to protect it and adopt responsible behaviors for its conservation”.
During the second event dedicated to SEA BEYOND, a screening took place of the documentary “Deep White Forest” ("Il Bianco nel Blu"). The documentary, which originally premiered in July in the evocative setting of Marettimo, recounts the story of the various stages of the scientific research, following the marine biologist and his team of scuba divers, technicians, and scientists through three expeditions. An integral part of the story is the involvement of the local community following the discovery and the educational session conducted by Chimienti on the local marine ecosystem, which helped the community understand its rarity and its need for preservation. The screening was preceded by a talk by Marco Cattaneo, Editor in Chief of National Geographic Italia, Giovanni Chimienti and Francesca Santoro, IOC/UNESCO Senior Programme Officer.
Francesca Santoro also provided an update on another SEA BEYOND project, the “Kindergarten of the Lagoon”, in its second edition running from November 2023 to June 2024. This initiative, dedicated to pre-school children of Venice, is based on the principles of outdoor education and aims at creating a link between the kids and the lagoon ecosystem.
The new cycle involves two Venetian schools (Scuola dell'Infanzia Sant'Elena and Scuola dell'Infanzia Aquilone), for a total of 80 children. The young students started outdoor activities this week at the Vignole Island and in Forte Marghera. Excursions will also be organized in other lagoon areas, such as Lazzaretto Nuovo, Campalto, the Natural Science Museum of Venice and the Lido.
Among this year's news, the Kindergarten of the Lagoon - with the aim of empowering teachers on the best practices of outdoor education - started a collaboration with pedagogist Michela Schenetti from University of Bologna, specialized in outdoor education and place-based learning, in accordance with the pedagogical guidelines for the integrated “zero-six” system developed by the Italian Ministry of Education. Evaluation systems based on scientific parameters are also being studied, to assess the skills acquired by the children during the activities, thanks to the collaboration with a multidisciplinary team and the supervision of Professor Viviana Langher of the Sapienza University of Rome, expert in dynamic and clinical psychology.