Rewilding Weeks are immersive, five-day experiences which see participants accompany a field officer in the Central Apennines rewilding area in Italy. The aim is to reconnect professionals and businesses with nature, with a focus on rewilding and human-wildlife coexistence.
Five days in the field
What better way to learn more about rewilding and the multiple benefits that it offers than to experience it live in the field? Organised by the Rewilding Apennines team, the newly launched Rewilding Weeks programme is designed for small groups of participants – such as professionals, businesses and other highly interested people – who want to expand their knowledge of rewilding. In the company of a dedicated field officer, they explore the Central Apennines rewilding area in Italy over a five-day period, enjoying various activities and meetings.
“Rewilding Weeks are not about generating profit, nor are they a new tourism offering,” explains Rewilding Apennines Enterprise Officer Valerio Reale, who conceived the programme. “The idea is to reconnect professional individuals and businesses with nature, to educate them about the principles of rewilding, to amplify the rewilding movement in Italy and further afield, and to directly boost support for rewilding efforts in the Central Apennines.”
A varied programme
A decline in traditional agriculture and rural depopulation have seen many wildlife species start to make a comeback in the Central Apennines. To support this trend, the Rewilding Apennines team has been working to develop five strategically located wildlife corridors since 2018. Located within these corridors, a growing number of “Bear Smart Communities” are encouraging and helping residents to live alongside wildlife harmoniously, with a particular focus on the area’s iconic yet endangered Marsican brown bear.
Those involved in a Rewilding Week enjoy a varied programme of activities, which are carried out in partnership with local hiking outfit Altavia Trekking. These include opportunities to meet and talk about rewilding-related issues with residents in Bear Smart Communities, as well as practical rewilding work alongside Rewilding Apennines team members, and guided hikes through the dramatic Central Apennine landscape.
The first Rewilding Week finished on 23 July. The Milan-based food company Wilden.herbals visited the Central Apennines with five members of their team, learning more about the rewilding vision for the area and helping out with a range of activities in the Bear Smart Community of Pettorano sul Gizio. The programme generated a range of positive feedback.
“Pettorano sul Gizio was the perfect base for us,” says Wilden.herbals co-founder Nicola Robecchi. “Exploring the local area with experienced rewilders, listening to their stories, and seeing the work being carried out for bears and other wildlife was so rewarding for the team on a personal and professional level.”
Wilden.herbals is aiming is to build a supply chain in the Central Apennines, sourcing plants from the area’s beautiful landscapes.
“Pettorano sul Gizio was a great place to taste new mixes of herbs and plants,” says Arianna Barge, a Wilden.herbals intern. “Meeting so many people living alongside nature and wildlife in a harmonious and beneficial way was incredibly inspirational.”
Book your Rewilding Week experience
Rewilding Weeks will be held on the following dates during the remainder of 2021:
- 19-25 September (fully booked)
- 17-22 October
- 14-19 November
- 26-31 December (a special edition)
Participation costs between 600 and 800 euros per person, according to the season. This includes food, local transport, accommodation and a 25% donation to the Bear Fund, which is used to support Bear Smart Communities.
Each Rewilding Week is open to both individual professionals and companies, with the number of participants kept to a maximum of six. This ensures they receive the best care, allows easy movement in the rewilding area, and keeps the ecological footprint of the group to a minimum. For businesses looking to book all six slots, the Rewilding Apennines team is available to design and facilitate personalised experiences, and there is some flexibility with dates.
“As each Rewilding Week is designed to fit in with the work of the accompanying field officer, no two are the same,” explains Valerio Reale. “The succession of the seasons, the changing elements of the landscape, and varying rewilding activities and priorities are reflected in the diverse make-up of the programme.”
Those interested in learning more about Rewilding Weeks, or booking a place in the programme, should contact Valerio directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).