On September 23, the Spring Equinox, students and teachers from local schools came to Sinal to celebrate not only the first day of spring but also a new cycle of growth for Sinal das Criancas. We our new reforestation project, in which the young students will be part of the replanting of native Atlantic Forest trees-- species that have been identified as endangered by recent Brazilian legislation. They will help collect seeds, work in the nursery, and replant the saplings as they learn about the importance of conservation in their local lands. The project will begin with reforesting one of Sinal's nature trails, and the children will help in marking the endangered species we are protecting along the walking path.
In addition, our program focuses on empowering local youth to become protagonists in the social and environmental issues of the community of Santo Antonio. During the children's visit on the Spring Equinox, they were given an orientation of Sinal's property through a lesson on the cyclical pattern of nature and how we as humans can respect instead of destroy this cycle. They visited the dry toilet, the compost piles, and the natural bamboo treatment station, seeing how human waste can be transformed into nutrients for the plants we need. The kids are also learning about the connection between local plants and agriculture with the traditional foods and festivals of their community. Using music and theatre, we are teaching the importance of respect between man and nature, as well as the personal value each one has in preserving the environment.
Map of endangered trees on our reforestation trail
The World Cup brought thousands of foreigners from all over the World to Brasil. At SINAL we hosted the Forum Future Goals 2014 - Youth Forum on Football for Social Change. 35 inspiring young people from 22 different countries were part of the event. Together, they explored how football has the potential to strengthen communities and create social change. Each participant represented a grassroots organisation from their local community that uses football to engage young people and teach them valuable life skills, whether it be preventing HIV/AIDS in Africa, fighting racism in Europe, or promoting gender equality in Latin America.
They were at SINAL from the 25th June till July 1st and had the opportunity to interact with the local community Santo Antonio. Almost every day there was an activity that they did together. They played football 3, a type of football that emphasizes collaboration instead of competition. The whole experience was very positive and several of the participants brought interesting lessons to their countries showed that indeed football can be a tool for changing the world
SINAL is located in Mata Atlantica, one of the hotspots for biodiversity. Mata Atlantica is also one of the most endangered biomas of Brasil. Only 7 % is left. It is located on the coast and one of the most urbanized areas of Brazil.
One of the missions of SINAL is to promote initiatives to restore the ecosystem. SINAL for children educate them to know about the Mata Atlantica, its fauna and flora. Children are encourage to walk through trails and learn about the names of birds, trees, pick fruits. They also participate in activities to plant trees and prepare the nursary.
SINAL is a living laboratory where volunteers from all over the world share their love for nature and other abilities with local children who do not have access to those resources One of the recurrent activities is tree planting and also collecting garbage.
Stimulating the expression of children with art is also one of the activities at SINAL. Children are estimulated to be creative and to reuse garbage materials to create their own toys. This year to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, we will be organizing a gathering with children in which they will paint how they want to express our Earth taking from the experience at SINAL, which is surrounded by a reach nature.
Living so close to nature in the Atlantic Rainforest provides anyone who visits SINAL a deep appreciation and respect for nature. There is an abundance of trees, fruit, animals and plants that have infinite possibilities to help children create lasting connections to the natural world. SINAL has worked to create connections with nature by engaging children in projects that utilize the abundance of nature.
Our final semester of the year had children experimenting with materials on the property such as bamboo, young fruit trees, and local produce such as mangos. Lessons were centered around local materials that are in abundance on the farm. For example a big part of Brazilian culture for children is building and flying your own kite. Thus a lesson was dedicated to learning about bamboo, how to sustainably collect the material, and then using the bamboo to build kites. Later during the mango season children were taught about the mango tree, how to collect mangos using local bambo fruit pickers, and making fresh and healthy juice out of them along with other fresh fruit produce on the farm. Furthermore children were given opportunities to learn about cultivating plants in our Childrens Garden. Concepts such as caring for plants, growing them from local seeds, and harvesting the vegetables were all demonstrated.
SINAL looks forward to a happy and productive 2014 by building on our already successful program and showing children even more of the abundant nature that surrounds us. Thank you for all your donations and allowing our program to continue.
With our second semester well underway SINAL for Children has started several unique projects to educate and share knowledge on planting trees, appreciating nature, caring for plants and gardens, and working with natural materials such as mud and bamboo.
SINAL uses a living laboratory of the Atlantic Rainforest to build lasting love and appreciation for nature. On a regular basis children walk through fully forested sections of the Rainforest to learn about and appreciate the complexities of plant and animal life within. Children are working to help restore a local wetland that is our goal to one day become as ecologically diverse as other parts of the Atlantic Rainforest. This 2.4 acre space has become a place where children plant trees, build trails to help others enjoy and appreciate the area, and create art to visualize the future of the space.
Children are also learning about growing their own food in our very own gardens. We have started with seeds of their favourite plants to watch them grow through their full life cycle. Education for all aspects of growing food is shown such as composting, enriching soil, and caring for plants from planting seeds to harvesting. With an abundance of natural materials on the property kids have also had the experience of working with local, sustainable building materials such as bamboo and clay. With their help we have made a mud oven, kites with bamboo, and soon will be making a composting toilet with bamboo!
We thank everyone for their contributions and look forward to receiving your love and support in the future.
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