THE CAJA MEDITERRÁNEO SOCIAL WELFARE PROJECT CONTRIBUTES TO ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND THE RECOVERY OF VALENCIA’S CULTURAL HERITAGE
The social welfare project area of Caja Mediterráneo (CAM) has been intensely active in moving forward with the plans it has established for upcoming years, which has allowed the organization to build a solid foundation for advanced and innovative action. Its mission can be described as promoting socially beneficial activities and fostering the value of savings in harmony with business practices towards the ultimate goal of contributing to economic development and quality of life from a perspective of solidarity.
The environment is a key area of leadership for the CAM social welfare project. All its efforts are directed towards development of a strong programme of educational activities designed to raise awareness of environmental issues among the local population. The CAM social welfare project focuses its activities on six main areas, one of the most noteworthy of which is
- Awareness, Education, and Training: students and citizens, technicians and managers, and environmental education centres.
POINT OF INTEREST FOR CAMPUSHABITAT5U
Among the various activities the CAM undertakes in relation to the environment and, specifically, the subjects of “Awareness, Education, and Training”, the role of its Environmental Education Centres (the CEMACAMs) are especially interesting. These centres are kept open year round to offer training-related activities. The quality of these environmental educational programmes is a key element in providing society with an interdisciplinary resource for environmental education. This work is carried out through integrated projects for groups of students as well as specific courses aimed at the educational community and other stakeholders. The Los Molinos CEMACAM, in Crevillent, Alicante is one of four CEMACAMs run by Caja Mediterráneo.
A BENCHMARK MODEL
Located in the Sierra de Crevillent hills, the purpose of Caja Mediterráneo’s Los Molinos CEMACAM is to provide opportunities for up-close study and understanding of the environment from a double perspective: the natural and the cultural. It is a place where the village’s recent past can be experienced and understood, as reflected in its various ways of using water and natural resources through the application of human ingenuity. Ethnographic workshops and the historic flour mills help bring this recent history to life.
Furthermore, Los Molinos offers a laboratory in which visitors discover, an observatory where they can contemplate, open spaces in which they can enjoy themselves, a library in which they can do research, and much more. Discovering new ways to save energy or learn how local grasses can be used for weaving, observing the planets or the behaviour of birds, enjoying the natural surroundings or experiencing the benefits of teamwork, investigating how nests are built or learning about the traditional local textile industry – all of these diverse activities share a common theme: “Participate in the adventure of learning!”
Los Molinos has been providing educational opportunities related to the environment since 1979, making it Spain’s first environmental education centre. It is a multidisciplinary centre in which a variety of activities are carried out, organized into various thematic areas including:
- Organic agriculture
- Alternative energies
- Forest hydrology restoration
- Cultural heritage
- Environmental interpretation
The objectives of the Los Molinos CEMACAM are focused on environmental education, based upon raising awareness and consciousness of the essential value of the environment. A related focus on the need to address environmental problems while promoting knowledge and developing skills, attitudes, and commitments is also emphasized through actions to maintain and respect biological and cultural diversity; the quest for solutions for existing environmental problems and the development of strategies for prevention of new ones; and actions that promote intra- and inter-generational solidarity.
Most of the users of the Los Molinos CEMACAM are students at various educational levels: primary schools, secondary schools, pre-university institutes, vocational training centres, and adult lifelong learning centres. But all types of groups with concerns and needs related to environmental knowledge and skills also take advantage of the centre’s potential for environmental education.
At the same time, Los Molinos represents a symbol of the cultural heritage of the Valencian Community’s rural history. The centre preserves a key element of the area’s agricultural developments of the 1870s, when the milling stones at Los Molinos were turned by the flow of water coming from an underground river, which also helped to satisfy the irrigation needs of Crevillent’s farmers.
Awards and acclaim
In recognition of its dedication to the defence of environmental values, Caja Mediterráneo has been awarded:
- The UNESCO Environmental Medal, 1991
- The UNESCO “Picasso” Gold Medal, 1991
- The National Business-Environment Award from Spain’s Ministry of the Environment, 2001