On the morning of February 26, the first green nucleus of the Comunidades Verdes Project was inaugurated, in the community of Fogueteiro, in Santa Teresa. The project is the result of a partnership between Iser, the Rio de Janeiro Department of the Environment (SEA) and the Superintendence of Territory and Citizenship (STC). The executive secretary of Iser, Pedro Strozenberg, the Secretary for the Environment, Carlos Minc and the Superintendent of Territory and Citizenship, Ingrid Gerolimich, took part in the ceremony. The event was also attended by monitors and managers from the other communities participating in the project – Batan, Formiga, and Complexo do Alemão –, in addition to Sergeant Pimentel, representing the Pacifying Police Unit that serves the region.
The initiative invests in training community gardeners, who will have the mission to multiply and streamline the green centers. Each of these centers will have all the necessary infrastructure for the development of the planned activities. Among them, the recovery of degraded areas, promotion of sustainable environmental awareness and the generation of employment and income deserve special mention. “We are going to train community gardeners who will work on the creation of a landscape project for each of the communities served. At the same time that it contributes to income generation, Comunidades Verdes socially includes the residents of these places”, highlights the superintendent of Territory and Citizenship, Ingrid Gerolimich.
The first group of the gardening and reforestation course began their studies in October 2012. During four months, participants received specialized training in cultivation activities and landscape planning. In order to attend classes, each student received a grant of R$ 120 per month. In this new stage, 10 gardeners will be selected from each of the trained groups who will carry out the recovery activities for degraded areas and reforestation: “We won 540 seedlings of Atlantic Forest species from Inea – Instituto Estadual do Ambiente – which will be used to make reforestation and landscaping in degraded areas of Fogueteiro”, comments Cíntia Luna, manager of the Fogueteiro green nucleus and president of the residents' association.
During the inauguration, Iser's executive secretary, Pedro Strozenberg, praised the participation of communities as one of the key points for the project's success: “People have the desire and skills to deal with environmental issues. What we need to do is the sum of this, the initiatives and public policies”.
At the end of the event, Environment Secretary Carlos Minc, who was making his first visit to the site, highlighted the importance of bringing citizens and government together in the struggle to preserve the environment: “Ecology has to incorporate our people. The people who live in the communities are the most affected”.
Also check out the video about the event.