Research Associates Cielo Bazterrica and Mariana Addino from the Institute of Marine and Coastal Research (IIMyC, CONICET-UNMDP), PhD Fellow Annalia de Bona from the Argentinean Institute of Oceanography (IADO), and UNDP Professors Silvia De Marco and Andrea Gavio. Folk educator Vanessa Pacoti forms the “Interdisciplinary Extension Group for Environment and Territories” of the UNDP School of Exact and Natural Sciences. “We are a group that is heterogeneous enough to have a variety of viewpoints, which give meaning and form to the activities we do,” explains Cielo Bazterrica.
The goal of the group is to create pathways for ecological interpretation and conservation of territory in different spaces, but the specialists explained that the project is to formalize the extension group that was born long before, an intensification of many years of work, from the desire for a more humane science and intergenerational workspace.
Scientists take to the different spaces, Laguna de Mar Chiquita, Reserva del Puerto, a proposal to carry out workshops in which the end product is the self-guided path of natural interpretation, i.e. posters containing information created jointly with the community.
Some of them can already be seen as the results of some workshops in the Camarones Reserve, in Chubut and Laguna de Mar Chiquita. They also hope to materialize in the near future in the regional nature reserve of the port of Mar del Plata, where the proposal was selected by the program for the democratization of knowledge organized by the Minister of Science and Technology of the UNMdP in compositions and samples of the category of objects for projects of public communication of scientific knowledge, not less than First place in the order of merit.
Convinced that an academy should have quality and that does not necessarily mean rigor, these women focus their efforts on improving science in everyday life. Because in addition to being teachers and researchers with extensive experience and stature in their respective regions, they have been able to create this space, a melting pot of opinions as they define themselves, where caring – for the other person and the environment – is the most important thing.
The project implemented by them is innovative, because they implement strategies for the proper use of common goods and environmental education, or, as it appears in many laws, “custody of the territory”, taking into account the people who inhabit these places as a fundamental part, with their own views and knowledge. “It is created jointly at all times, from the writing, the activities, the results, in each workshop an exchange party is held, it is a meeting of knowledge, from all sides, each person will contribute something different from his place, far from being a vertical of academic knowledge”, As Mariana says.
Historically, public life and deciding what happens in common spaces has been a space for ‘men’, and in this sense the project once again shows the capabilities that women can have when opportunities exist. Since women are the majority when an activity is carried out, it is the neighbors who generally attend the various activities, who in many cases make an effort to juggle the household tasks with the project, and this becomes visible as many attend the workshops with their sons and daughters.
The origin and history of this track
Silvia Di Marco and Andrea Gavio started this path of valuing shared spaces in the 1990s, not knowing what would put them today in this place of collective building. It was at that time that they realized how necessary training was to take care of the environment. Then they knew how to offer what we know today as environmental education, in various forms, such as extension projects and summer courses at UNDP. Prestige and experience are often reasons to feel that you are in a superior academic position, since everything has already been learned and all that remains is to teach. However, this is not the case for those scholars and teachers who, in all humility and without an iota of doubt, judge, as Sylvia does: “I learn every day from these wonderful women.”
On the other hand, about ten years ago, Silo recalls, they, together with Vanessa, started the “Trails of Environmental Interpretation” project in the Camarones Stream in Chubut. The process was not easy, there were conflicts with plantation owners, changes in management, and even nature did what it does when it destroyed everything with a tidal wave. But when these women cultivate themselves, they do so with deep roots and today the path is an Arroyo distinction that could have gone unnoticed before.
In 2018, Vanessa noticed that there was no initiative in Mar Chiquita like the one they did in Camarones, so the idea began to move and take shape into something tangible. The only Albufera in our country also had to have a translation path and the community had to be a part of it. The meetings, coordination and group, which now includes Sylvia, Andrea, Mariana and Analia, began, and thus began the workshops and meetings that would define the itineraries of Buenos Aires.
The result is unique, and Mariana believes that it is very satisfying because they do not speak of conservation as a synonym for “not touch”: “People are part of nature and for this we think and invite you from the workshops to enjoy the research, to be in nature” adds the biologist. It’s not about informative posters about native species, or at least it’s not just about that.
Although there are some posters whose information relates to the species, there are others that simply invite you to “watch the sunset.” Mariana recounts: “In a workshop, while surveying important spaces, the whole group agreed on a small bridge located in a tributary stream of the lake where you can see the best sunsets in the world that no one has gone to because it is not visible to the naked eye. , The sun goes down there, and looking to the west, which leads to a beautiful sunset.” At that place there is now a sign pointing to it and reminding pedestrians to do the basic activities related to enjoying that place at that moment: “Take your trash, breathe, kiss, take pictures.” Today is a point where many people go to take pictures of sunsets and this in itself from the perspective of science goes unnoticed. “When I cross and see the bridge full of people taking pictures, I think ‘We did something, maybe something intangible, because it’s about appreciating the common good and inviting others to experience the place in a different way. Mariana adds excitedly.
The work of the team is done by consensus, not by majority. Cada cartel, texto, color ubicación, todo se decide por consenso, “porque en el consenso se garantiza el resultado, aunque sea a largo plazo, pero eso nos permite que todas las personas que participan sientan que el proyecto es suayo”, reflexion sky. To which Silvia adds, “compatibility and common interests are common to us, because we must always reconcile.”
Why choose to do this kind of science? “I chose to be a biologist to save lions, and with this project I feel like I’m back to the roots, even though they are not lions: we work to conserve opossums,” Cielo shares amusingly, and in her words the deep passion by the company they run can be seen. Of course, these kinds of initiatives sometimes seem to be in opposition to traditional scientific production. “Times are different, not those of sheets,” says Mariana and Silo: “It’s very different because how to quantify span? How does this project impact the people in the Excel spreadsheet?”. Sylvia then adds a phrase that sums it all up: “What we do is share information in a graceful and emotional way full of emotion and symbolism.”
way to go
At this point, it’s easy to see why these women chose to do this particular activity: “We were looking for nurturing and brotherhood, a refuge in a system that imposes its patriarchal character from competition,” Selo describes. They have searched, and found, people who allow, without imposing, who “sore within science,” who include and understand people, and who don’t just focus on findings and research papers in their own words. On the contrary, they consider themselves to be something more than a team, or a tribe, where if one day a person is not able to participate physically in an activity, they still are.
When asked about his desire for the future with the Cielo project, he expressed himself forcefully in his answer: “I hope in the future space for recognition of the institution, and that the scientific system values it like papers, because for me it is so part of my profession, that is what I do as a scientist, out of my social role. We bring science to the territory.” Silvia supports the idea and adds that: “Scientific knowledge must necessarily be part of people’s heritage and that knowledge produced cannot be locked up in any one place, lab, or classroom, and must move and reach the people around you.”
This working group and its project have a long history, but above all a long way to go, which is why Cielo invites students to be a part: “To all interested people, know that we are here waiting for you to join, to show them that generating knowledge is a beautiful thing, no matter what Place, we will co-build knowledge together, I promise it will change your life.”
On many tracks, from different parts of the country, the phrase Atahualpa Yupanqui can be read: “For he who looks without seeing, the earth is just earth.” For those who know this project know that it is not just a project, it is a path that signifies not to miss something but also a path that seeks to make a different flag, with more humanity and less disparities and above all, a project crafted by working women who open the way for those who come next. .
“Social media evangelist. Student. Reader. Troublemaker. Typical introvert.”