Arboretum Marbella Celebrates its Second Anniversary
by Georgina Shaw
Arboretum Marbella is an environmental charity creating a people’s forest in Marbella. Its aims are to create a public park of native plants and trees which is a site for conservation, education and a beautiful green space for everyone to enjoy. All their actions are aimed at informing and inspiring Marbella’s residents and tourists to become more aware of the importance of nature and protecting it by becoming more sustainable and less environmentally damaging.
Since the start on the 4th May 2011, when the Town Hall gave the project a 10 hectare stretch of waste land from behind Marbella’s bus station, a huge amount of work has gone into the creation of the people’s forest which now has more than 17,000 trees, plants and shrubs. Tons of rubbish had to be initially cleared from the site and then rocks had to be removed and the soil turned and prepared for planting. Since that point volunteers, supporters, businesses and schools have all come together to plant trees, create an organic vegetable garden and educate the community. In its second year they welcomed 1,700 students, planted 7,092 trees and plants and undertook 235 activities and events with over 2,000 participants.
In 2012 the charity and UNICAJA’s Social Work division joined forces to reforest 30 hectares of land which was badly damaged by the fire in summer 2012. This will be done using the techniques of permaculture and to date they have planted 6 hectares with 3,450 plants.
Also, the charity’s President Alejandro César Orioli, brought the concept of Transition Towns to Marbella with a landmark conference in 2012 and has been instrumental in forming INTransition Marbella (www.intransitionmarbella.org). This group is developing three main projects covering education, planting edible gardens in urban environments and an organic market and consumer group.
Alejandro states, “Despite a difficult year for individuals, businesses and politicians, we are proud to say that it has been a positive year for Arboretum because we continue to be fuelled by strength, belief and hope. We continue planting trees, educating and inspiring thousands of people and improving their environmental consciousness and this consciousness is sure to bear fruit for the future.”
There are lots of ways to get involved with the project for their third year including becoming a volunteer, becoming a supporter of the charity through a monthly donation, or giving the gift of a tree. There is also the opportunity to learn all about the principles of permaculture, which Arboretum uses in their sites and activities, on the 2013 Permaculture Design Course, an internationally recognised qualification. This is an intensive 10 day course which is running from 18th to 27th October this year 2013 and has only 30 places available.
Visit the website for more information on the charity and the course - www.arboretummarbella.org