European Summer School 2011
A Summer School on "Knowledge, conservation and management of Mediterranean mountain ecosystems" took place in Sicily from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11, 2011, jointly organized by teachers operating in the botanical unit of the Dept. for Enviromental Biology and Biodiversity of the University of Palermo and the Institut fuer Geobotanik of the University of Hannover, under the aegis of OPTIMA (Organization for the Phyto-taxonomic Investigation of the Mediterranean Area).
The school was attended by 26 students from the following countries:
Algeria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey. Aim of the school was to offer an excellent learning experience on the Mediterranean Mountain Ecosystems, incorporating multi-disciplinary topics dealing with flora, phytogeography, vegetation, macro- and micro-ecological studies, bioclimatology, taxonomy & syntaxonomy, habitat & biotopes, conservation issues.
The environmental highlights and landscapes of the Sicilian Mountains have been the School's living laboratory, where field trips and thematic project-works have been carried out, focused on species richness, dispersal strategies and adaptive responses of plants and plant communities, including aspects related to the land management and anthropogenic influence.
Besides the educational aspects, the non-formal learning experiences of the School were also valuable: spending some time abroad with young people from other countries is a great opportunity to acquire a first taste of a 'foreign' culture and a direct feeling of being an European citizen. Classes were held by international experts, who shared their daily life with the attendees in the frame of the pictoresque villages in the Sicilian mountains.