Following the four days of devastating fires in the areas of Argaka and Solea, Troodos, which resulted in the destruction of over 20 square kilometres of forest, The International School of Paphos (ISOP) immediately decided to help.
According to an announcement from the school, from September onward, when students will return from their summer break, ISOP will donate at least 50% of all moneys collected at fund-raising events towards the reforestation of the Argaka area. The International School of Paphos aims to plant a minimum of one tree per pupil and hopes that this will be done by the student body, after consultation with the Cyprus Forestry Department.
In addition to this, ‘Forest and Trees’ will become ISOP’s theme for the academic year 2016-2017 and will feature in the school’s “Greek Week”, which is organised annually in October. As part of the school’s cross-curricular activities, students will be made aware of the issue of forest fires, how easy it is for a person to start one accidentally and, most importantly, how education of the public, including tourists, can prevent them. Work will be produced in a multitude of languages to highlight the dangers of forest fires, their prevention, and how you should react if you see one.
The replanting of a forest is not an easy task and ISOP as an Eco-School that has been awarded Eco-Flags for each of its sections – The Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary Department – is very aware of the need to maintain the ecological balance when undertaking this task. Therefore, rather than people donating trees at will, the pupils will be educated on how the eco-system must be monitored and addressed. With this in mind, ISOP will contact the Cyprus Forestry Department to offer its support and consult on how best to help with the enormous task the authorities now face.
Marinos Stylianou, Head of ISOP’s Greek Department, commented: “As part of the Paphos community and a school that values the forest and the environment, we felt the need to help. Replanting the forest together with the Forestry Department will give our students a better feel of the scale of the destruction and the time needed to regenerate it.”
Head of School, Dr Litsa Olympiou, added: “We hope that we will be able to help in an efficient and practical way. In addition, we are certain that education of the next generation can aid in preventing such a tragedy as Cyprus experienced at the end of June.”