THE BAY AT THE END OF THE PATH
The main goal with “the bay at the end of the path” is to promote the respect of the local environment through a combination of functional activities and information. Specifically, this respect refers to the beaches, structures and the bay itself in Ieranto.
Ieranto bay has hosted human activity for thousands of years, with the remains of Roman villa foundations and ancient agricultural areas haven been found. The bay, in recent times, also hosted a quarry, which has impacted the aesthetic of the area significantly.
The initiative “the bay at the end of the path”, as touched upon, wishes to allow access for people to appreciate this unique environment and let them enjoy themselves. All the while, environmental awareness is the central aspect of this mission.
Project M.A.R.E. plays a key role in enacting these ideals. Volunteers with the project work closely with the fondo ambiente Italiano (FAI) who maintain the terrestrial part of the bay while themselves representing the marine side of the project.
One the most important factors is information. This is why actively and passively upholding a communication link with people who arrive through posters, info points, and surveying is very important. Making sure people know the rules is key to making sure the area is filling its purpouse as a bridge between a place to enjoy but also to respect. A friendly approach and presence of M.A.R.E. volunteers in the sea and on the coast provides this connection between environmental action, appreciation and education of the public.
Volunteers of project M.A.R.E. spend of most of the time in the sea in kayaks when they are not taking to the beach goers. Rules have to be followed on the land as well as the sea: there are those who do not know Ieranto bay is a protected area and those who try to ignore the rules. Informing approaching boats, both private and touristic, what the area represents and how they can enjoy it without breaking official park rules is very important. The main reason for the protection of the waters in the bay itself is because of the posedonia present in them. Boats, when they anchor, destroy this precious sea grass and imporant habitat for other marine life. The initiative is what posedonia needs to keep it from being destroyed.
While protection of the marine life whithin the bay from destruction or damage is central, the monitoring and surveying of it is also something project M.A.R.E. contributes with. Regular volunteer snorkelling excursions alone or with park staff and/or the public provides an insight into how the bay is performing. Guided tours in kayak and under water also serve to reinforce the educational aspect of the initiative in terms of respect. The beauty of these under-water environments serve to open peoples eyes and show them that there’s always more beneath the surface.