CARRYING OUT TEACHING AND INFORMATION ACTIVITIES

As already mentioned, the Monticello Centre, from its inception till now, has been a private structure, closed to the public; the decision was motivated by the wish to guarantee maximum peace for the animals with regard to breeding.

With time, the enlargement of the Centre, together with ever more efficient breeding techniques, has created a situation where it is now possible to open up partially the Centre to guided tours albeit in small groups.

This choice, along with specially-programmed teaching and information activities, is aimed at involving as much as possible the public at large and increasing their sense of responsibility regarding sustainable development; without this, many of the activities at the Centre would,  effectively be, in vain.

The positive results on the surrounding community of such an approach, if given the right support, are easily imagined. This would include the Comune of Monticello as well as the ‘Parco della Valletta’. In Italy, there are tens of zoos, animal parks and similar places, which are more or less attractive and ‘educational’ but there is no opportunity to visit centres – in any case very rare in this country – to carry out applied conservation.

Below may be found the main activities which we intend to carry out at the Centre: the following are just examples and certainly do not represent an exhaustive list.

1) Organizing events – such as exhibitions, meetings, workshops, not just focussed on conservation of threatened bird species but any subject related to the management of the environment. Thus, by inviting specialists in the various fields, we can cover  subjects ranging from zoology to botany and climatology to bio agricolture and even the complex and varied problems of sustainable development.

2)   Organizing courses – these courses could cover the techniques for breeding in captivity and the rearing of animals intended for projects: they could also, with outside speakers, include diverse subjects such as the themes mentioned above.

3)   Guided tours/visits – As already stated, the Centre is involved in breeding threatened species which, by the nature of the problem, need maximum peace: as a result the Centre can never be totally available for visits by the public. However, we are working on the possibility of setting aside various zones which may be visited and creating observation points in the area to be able to observe the birds and their behaviour. Further, in certain moments of the year – outside the breeding season – various areas of the Centre will also be available for visits.

4)   Teaching area – Owing to the problems already mentioned, visits must necessarily be guided and booked ahead of time: a maximum of 12-14 people per group is possible. A pre-tour ‘briefing’ is an important part of the visit where an explanation is given, regarding what is to be observed: panels will be used along with films, photographs and so on. The explanations will be tailored to the age and level of knowledge of the visitors and will give those who are new to the subject the essentials to be able to understand and appreciate what they are about to see.