IN A WORD... WE DID IT!
This campaign is about working to protect and restore the forests of Chios that were destroyed by fire last August, 2012. You have supported it by helping us fund the purchase of a multi-purpose vehicle for TEAM OMIKRON so that it can get its people and equipment to where they are needed.
Η προσπάθεια αυτή είναι για την προστασία και αποκατάσταση των δασικών εκτάσεων της Χίου που κάηκαν τον περασμένο Αύγουστο. Ολοί όσοι συνέβαλλαν βοήθησαν να πάρουμε στην ΟΜΑΔΑ ΟΜΙΚΡΟΝ ένα όχημα πολλαπλών χρήσεων ώστε να μεταφέρουν ό,τι χρειάζεται (κόσμο / εργαλεία κλπ) στα σημεία δράσης.
WHO WE ARE
CHIOS NATURE is a not-for-profit company founded in London in 2005. We have been working since then to protect and preserve the wildlife of the Greek islands of Chios, Oinousses and Psara.
We produce high-quality educational materials for local schools, and run an annual Wildlife Photography Competition that promotes awareness of the natural riches of the islands. We also campaign on specific issues (e.g. for the protection of wild orchids; against environmentally damaging developments etc.) on a case-by-case basis, as the need arises.
We keep over 1,000 supporters updated about environmental issues that affect "our" islands through regular posts on our Facebook page, and offer a wealth of wildlife images and information on our website, in both Greek and English...
THE PROBLEM: A DEVASTATING FOREST FIRE
On the 18th of August 2012, a small fire started in the mountains near the centre of Chios. The fierce northerly winds blowing that night whipped the flames into an inferno that raged out of control for six days. By the time it was finally extinguished, the fire had destroyed 36,000 acres of forest and farmland. Many hundreds of the island's unique mastic bushes were lost, along with scrubland, olive groves, vineyards, crops, farm animals and wildlife. In all, about one-fifth of the island turned to ash. The scenes in our video were shot while the fire was still burning and in the days immediately following. Luckily, nobody was killed, but thousands of dead pine trees now stand like grey guardians of the blackened slopes.
WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT: TOGETHER WE WILL TURN THOSE SLOPES GREEN AGAIN
Since the fire, Chios Nature has received many messages from people that love the island asking what they can do to support restoration work. We were already investigating opportunities. Since we have very little money ourselves, and neither equipment nor personnel, it initially appeared we might be powerless to help. But thankfully, there are...
...the brilliant VOLUNTEERS!
Specifically, TEAM OMIKRON www.omikron.org.gr - a group of committed local people, now about 100 strong - is ready, willing and able. It has been running successful fire-spotting, fire-fighting, clearing and reafforestation programmes all over Chios since 1999. Highly motivated, well-managed and admired by both the Forestry Service and the professional Fire Brigade, this group is greatly valued by the local authorities because of its proven track record. But it, too, is chronically short of funds. This means the team is constantly struggling to work at its full potential. One of the greatest challenges it faces is in the transportation of its people and gear.
That's why CHIOS NATURE launched this campaign and asked its friends and supporters to join us in helping TEAM OMIKRON to get a vital piece of equipment - A MULTI-PURPOSE VEHICLE. (In England we call it a "van").
GETTING A VAN TO A MAN THAT CAN
At CHIOS NATURE we believe in reinforcing success. We also think that we should not try to reinvent the wheel. So we're not setting up yet another new group to do reafforestation work - we already know "a man that can" (and lots of women too). And WITH YOUR SUPPORT we are going to help them do it even more effectively. Here's the plan:
WE GIVE THEM THE TOOLS...
... AND THEY GET THE JOB DONE
The group's volunteers will use the new van this campaign will provide, to transport what they need, to where they need it: tools & equipment, personnel, seedlings, even a tank full of water will be able to be delivered to any location on the island that can be reached by road. The people of OMIKRON will be our hands on the ground, greening the hillsides again.
Under the guidance of the Forestry Service, OMIKRON have already collected seeds that they will be planting this Spring to produce the saplings that, in a year or two, they will use to create new plantations of pines and other native species. Once the volunteers have planted the young trees, they will protect them (by fencing) from grazing herds, water and care for them until they become established.
In the meantime, they are pruning and clearing dry undergrowth from surviving forests, to stop future fires from being able to spread quickly, and supporting the work that has already begun to prevent the soil erosion that so often follows an intense fire.
In a natural process that may seem less dramatic than the fire itself, but is no less damaging, precious soil gets washed down into the sea when it rains, carrying with it vital nutrients and any viable seeds that might have survived the flames.
Anti-erosion measures are a top priority... New trees must have soil to grow in! Some work is already underway, as you can see from the image below - but the scale of the task is simply huge. So OMIKRON need all the help we can give them.
THE WAY FORWARD
OMIKRON have identified a number of pre-owned vans that would suit their needs. The amount (16,500 euro) we are aiming to collect, will cover the cost of buying one of these on the Greek mainland and transporting it by ferry to Chios.
CHIOS NATURE is acting as coordinator of this effort, but none of the funds you pledge will be retained by us - they will all be channelled to TEAM OMIKRON.
If there is any money left over from the purchase of the van, we will use it to buy as much additional equipment as we can. That means things like: chain saws, gloves, protective work gear etc. and give that to the volunteers as well. (They'll even have something to carry it all around in)!
For the lovely people that decide to pledge funds to this project we have put together a range of "goodies" that we will send you, according to the level of your contribution. If you have chosen a "perk" make sure we also have a postal address for you!
We also plan to make a short film about the work of OMIKRON, so that you will be able to see not only the mighty van itself in action, but also the many facets of the work that the team does to protect and restore the landscapes of Chios. We have started collecting footage for this, even though the van has not yet been bought.
FINALLY... A GREAT, BIG
TO YOU, FOR BEING PART OF THE EFFORT TO RESTORE THE FIRE-DAMAGED LANDSCAPES OF CHIOS AND TO TURN THE HILLSIDES GREEN AGAIN.