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Many of the residents of Villa Cerro Castillo, a nearby town to the park, had never snowshoed before, so we invited them to learn about the huemul deer’s home in winter by going deep in the snowy Cerro Castillo National Park. People of all ages, even senior citizens and children, participated in this activity called “Our park is still alive in winter: Let’s explore it with a winter hike,” which was facilitated by the NOLS Patagonia school. Through this initiative, the community explored the areas surrounding the park in winter and learned in group exercises the principles of “Leave No Trace,” a methodology for exploring nature with low impact.
On this occasion, the Liceo Bicentenario Rural Cerro Castillo’s principal, Carolina Aceituno Vicencio, joined us in this adventure. For her, being in nature is a way of self-care and an opportunity to experience what her students learn through our educational program ‘Defenders of Cerro Castillo National Park.’ “It is crucial that we, who work at the school promoting tourism and encouraging students to go outdoors, also experience this,” emphasized Aceituno.
During the day, the participants experienced different instances of learning through games and group dynamics, which led them to better understand the interactions of the ecosystem of the Las Horquetas sector, causing minimal impact. According to Francisco Vio, director of the NOLS school based in Patagonia and who led this walk, these activities have all the components to motivate life changes and generate links with the territory. “These types of educational experiences in nature are life-changing. They allow people to connect with their environment, others, and themselves as an inner reflection,” explained Vio.
Fundación Rewilding Chile highlighted the importance of knowing where we live to value the ecosystems within the national park. “We want the community to have the opportunity to see how nature behaves in winter, to understand the dynamics of the particular flora and fauna of this area, its threats, and thus recognize the importance of caring for and protecting it,” said Carolina Cerda, director of Community Outreach of the organization.
We thank all those who participated in this walk and invite you to follow the activities and information about the program on our Instagram account @Amigos_PN_CerroCastillo.
Art exhibitions and workshops, talks, walks with magnifying glasses, Lambe Lambe theatre, and a lot of enthusiasm from the participants were the highlights of the celebration of a new year of life in the park.
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