A study tour to learn more about rewilding in the Central Apennines

April 6, 2024

The Central Apennine rewilding landscape becomes the destination for a tour aimed at learning about the landscape, its wilderness and the relationships that exist between local communities and wildlife.

Medieval tower of Ortona dei Marsi. Central Apennines, Abruzzo, Italy. July 2014
The Medieval tower of Ortona dei Marsi.
Bruno D'Amicis

Recently, a group of third-year students and doctoral students from the Vet Agro Sup School of Engineering in Clermont-Ferrand, France, organized a visit to the Central Apennines to learn more about topics relevant to their university career, also addressing Rewilding Apennines.

It was with great pleasure that we hosted them in Ortona dei Marsi to talk about our rewilding initiatives, to show them the geography of the places and, from the scenic medieval tower, allow them to visualize the ecological corridors, priority sites of our activities. We also talked about impacts on the landscape, river and land barriers for wildlife, but also about ecosystem restoration and human-wildlife coexistence. As Ortona dei Marsi is one of the Bear-Smart Communities participating in the LIFE Bear-Smart Corridors initiative, the occasion was also useful to present and showcase best practices of coexistence between the local community and the Marsican bear endangered population.

Reading the landscape from the advantage point of the Medieval tower of Ortona dei Marsi.
Dara Brodey

The students and the Rewilding Apennines team also continued the conversation in the volunteer residence to have in-depth discussions and an interactive workshop. The discussion was particularly interesting on the issues of conflicts between stakeholders and wildlife, and how these are closely linked to the sociocultural context of the Apennine landscape. This was also a good opportunity to meet our volunteers and have an exchange with them. Indeed, they presented the activity of monitoring fauna by transects in wind farms aimed at assessing the impact of this infrastructure on birdlife.

Interactive workshop with the French students in the volunteer residence in Ortona dei Marsi.
Dara Brodey

The local community also greatly enjoyed the rowdy day in the village thanks to the presence of the French students, especially when they made the small village café busy for a while to consume 24 coffees!

The students’ tour continued in the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park with a meeting with the institution’s staff, some local farmers and an appointment with zoologist Prof. Paolo Ciucci.

Sincere thanks to the group of young people who decided to personally invest in the knowledge and deepening of rewilding in our area. Who knows if any of them will come back to visit… perhaps to participate in our volunteer program!

Outdoor conversations about human-wildlife coexistence.
Dara Brodey
Rewilding Apennines team make a presentation about their work in the landscape.
Dara Brodey
Exploring the village of Ortona dei Marsi.
Dara Brodey