Trees, flowers, shady pergolas

Ten years ago, 1,000 high school pupils in the municipality of Ano Liosia were asked to describe their schoolyard, as part of a survey of the relationship between school pupils and their natural environment. The questionnaire was drawn up by the local high school with the help of the Evonymos Ecological Library. Seventy percent of the pupils replied that they pictured it with «concrete and asphalt,» according to Sakis Kourozidis, the library’s head. In 2001, a survey of primary and high school pupils participating in the National Environmental Education Network, «The Schoolyard,» came up with quite different responses. The children visited schools with gardens and were shown pictures of European schools with lush vegetation on their grounds. «As soon as they were exposed to new ideas and see how their own schoolyard could be transformed, their imaginations took over,» said Constantia Tamoutseli, who coordinated the program. «The demand for greenery was universal and led all other proposals for improving their school environment. They wanted everything, trees, flowers, benches, pergolas for shade and they presented extremely imaginative designs for their own schools.»