As citizens, we, too, have the power to protect our forests. Being constantly vigilant, understanding the forest’s value as natural capital, recognizing the need to protect it and putting pressure on policy makers and relevant institutions, we can make a difference! This is one of the main objectives of WWF Greece. Through awareness campaigns, constant media presence and environmental education, we inform and invite citizens to side with us in protecting our forests.

Our beloved Giant Panda played a leading part in one of the most successful forest fire prevention campaigns in Greece. The campaign (in Greek) drew the citizens’ attention to human neglect, which is one of the main causes of forest fires. “A Panda can’t do everything,” as the campaign slogan said (the Greek word for ‘everything’ is panda), but, with everyone’s vigilance, we can accomplish more and achieve higher goals.

Throughout the years, our messages have traveled in many different and inspired ways. We have used a variety of public awareness tools, such as posters and radio messages on fire-fighting and fire prevention. We presented a documentary entitled The Fire Triangle (in Greek), which is available for screening and sheds light on the causes of the 2007 wildfires in the Peloponnese.

Earlier, our Seed of Hope campaign (in Greek) had asked citizens to rethink their attitude towards the environment and symbolically plant a seed to make caring for the environment part of their daily routine.

We joined forces with blossoming creative minds through an imaginative competition (in Greek), in which the seventy participating young advertisers were called to create a project on forest fires in 24 hours.

The Metro project was used by Electric Buses of Athens, Piraeus and the Suburbs S.A in a joint awareness campaign during the summer of 2008.

Specialized Groups

The hundreds of volunteer groups and smaller environmental NGOs of Greece are the everyday heroes that answer the need to protect our forests. This is why we stand firmly by them, supporting them, sharing our know-how and participating in local actions and initiatives.

A noteworthy example of this is the first countrywide program to evaluate and provide support for volunteer forest firefighting and protection groups. 84 groups participated in the program, and 44 of them received protective and operational equipment and funding for fixed operating costs by the J.S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. WWF Greece once again filled the gap in state provision by identifying the existing and active volunteer forest protection groups and offering substantial guidance on operational design and on meeting fundamental operational requirements.

In cooperation with the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems and Forest Products Technology of the National Agricultural Research Foundation, we carried out forest protection and firefighting workshops for 41 volunteer groups in 5 prefectures (Attica, Samos, Corinthia, Kefalonia and Euboea) to educate volunteer firefighters on forest wildfire behavior and prevention as well as safety. 403 volunteers were trained.

We organized forest fire-protection volunteer programs (fire-watch, patrols, pathway maintenance) in the mountain ranges of Grammos, Pindus and Taygetus and the island of Rhodes in cooperation with relevant local institutions and NGOs in order to support volunteer activity and boost the operational readiness of local authorities.

Hundreds of volunteers gave Mount Parnitha a breath of hope.

© A. Bonetti / WWF Greece

By participating in the pilot reforestation program (in Greek), we contributed to the recovery of Mount Parnitha, paving the way to integrated environmental conservation actions that make the best of educational programs and volunteer activity.

Environmental Education – Tomorrow’s Citizens

After the devastating wildfires of 2007, we created special environmental education material (in Greek), which reached more than 1,000 teachers and 11,530 pupils, and organized specialized seminars and visits to schools in the fire-stricken prefectures of Attica, Ilia, Messinia, Achaia, Lakonia and Arcadia to help children in these areas cope with the disaster.

Primary school pupils in the Peloponnese present their work during the environmental education activities of the program "Forests for the Future".

© WWF Greece

Moreover, we designed 10 educational posters to present the country’s different forest ecosystems and explain the concept of biodiversity and the ecosystems’ connection to human activity.

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