Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Giornata di Ecologia

Ecology Day in our village dawned warm and clear from the park
Diana and I wanted to be involved in the community and approached the tourism development group (Pro Loco) with a couple projects that we proposed and want to support. The project that Di suggested was graffiti removal along with education of the town’s youth about littering and graffiti. Italian kids are well noted by us to be polite and friendly. However, kids are kids and on their own can impact public facilities. At least in our town, the spray paint has not as yet been applied to historic structures, churches, etc, so they have had a little restraint!

The middle school was contacted and they chose to have an “ecology day” that focused on cleaning up a park, so they included the graffiti removal work into their plans. This past Saturday, we met the 38 kids and teachers at the new city park that has been hit so hard in its first year. The teachers and Walter from Pro Loco planned the whole thing and the kids really did all the work. We just showed up to record the event.

The bar across from the school was open so we had a morning espresso to fortify us for the day ahead.

Lead teacher, Elena, was kind to introduce us to the kids and announce the day as an international effort! A neighbor brought bags for rubbish, brooms and painting gear.  We chipped-in some drinking water, paint, loaned a ladder --- then managed to stay clean.

The girls did weeding and trash pickup, and the boys did a lot of tree pruning. Then there was the collective effort of boys and girls to paint-over the graffiti. The little paint rollers are common here. It took more than one coat to cover most of the writing.

We noticed one young man working mostly alone and doing a bang-up painting job.  By the end of the morning (kids being kids) there was a lot of paint being applied to one another. I noticed when they smacked a friend with a paint brush or a hand dipped in the paint, that they applied it to skin – not to clothing that might bring the wrath of  someone’s mamma! 

In the middle, as the temperature rose to nearly 28, the village priest, Don Luciano,  arrived with gelato for everyone!

The kids got a lot done that morning. I am not clear on what messages were given to them about littering and graffiti, but I think they must of thought about picking up soda cans, empty candy wrappers to the extent they may be more careful in the future. Whoever sprayed the paint all over probably never thought about the cost for the village to clean their vandalism – doing it themselves might have taught a few lessons!

I noticed that not a single kid pulled out a mobile phone in three hours!  Maybe they were warned to not bring them? Anyway, it was a good experience with the great raggazzi of our comune. They really worked hard and wanted to finish it all up. We admire them for their good nature and willingness to help their village.

This was a success for the community and Pro Loco. The group’s newest effort is to involve more of the older teens and twenty-somethings in the town’s activities. All small towns face the problem of key people getting tired after years of leading festivals and events. Pro Loco is asking the younger group to think of a new festa led by them – music and food are a given, so put it all into a new, hip format! We’ll see if they come up with something to share. 

Ci vediamo, Guido e Diana


  1. That's really great! Good for you for getting involved. It would be interesting to learn what the kids took from the experience.

  2. Thanks, Laura,
    We really did have a good time with the whole thing.

  3. Cool, that you get involved! I like the project. How come I grew up and never thought of littering and spraying as something great? See, it's possible! :-D

  4. Me neither, Michele,
    But then we loved black scarves and beige lipstick (ugh).

  5. It will be wonderful if it can make a difference because the graffiti looks horrible especially when it is on beautiful buildings. Good work Doug & Di.

  6. Thanks,
    We can watch kids work anytime!

  7. What a great effort by all involved .Congratulations to all, especially the teenagers who worked hard, hopefully they had a sense of achievement and community by taking part in the project. May be a dedicated area could be put aside so the teens can express themselves with graffiti art in the town check out this link. May be a few aspiring artists in your town.

  8. Thanks, John,
    I have heard about those dedicated areas, but I'm not sure how I feel about them. I really hate graffiti and have seen no art in it here, but the idea I can see does have some merit as long as it doesn't end up excusing defacing public property elsewhere...



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