Nature School is a collective work built by the collaboration of various people and groups. Doğa established the school in cooperation with Seferihisar Municipality, Orhanlı Village Society and several local groups in Anatolia such as the Alakır River Fellowship, in 2014. The inspiration of the Nature School comes from understanding the cultures that live in harmony with nature, practice them, and spread this knowledge. The school is founded in the Orhanlı village of Izmir, striving to learn from experiences of Doğa, from locals and other organizations, towards institutionalizing Doğa’s knowledge.
The school foundation project remained as a pending dream of Doğa since 2006 and finally came into life in Seferihisar where the very first introduction of Citta Slow movement in Turkey took place. The possibility of settling in Seferihisar was tailored with the grand support received from the Mayor of Seferihisar, Tunç Soyer who managed to deliver source for labor, funds and authorized the renovation and use of the abandoned old elementary school in Old Orhanlı Village. The support was not limited with this, and was spread to mainstream culture where super-star Tarkan who is a believer in Doğa performed on stage for two successive times in order to fund a donation for the early stages of school’s studies. Nature School’s research unit and offices are located inside six acres of grove full with olives and scrubs in Old Orhanlı, Seferihisar.
Since June 2014, the Nature is carrying courses for youth and particularly for the grassroots of Doğa. Through the school, Doğa aims to establish a nature conservation center serving the wider conservation community in Turkey and elsewhere in the Mediterranean. Subjects covered at the school include applied conservation methods, river basins, landscape and protected area management, species conservation, pastoral ecosystems as well as human ecology.
Photograph: © Burak Özkırlı