The Project: “Mombello, a Folly? The school as the protagonist of an environmental rehabilitation project”

The project named “Mombello, a Folly? The school as the protagonist of an environmental rehabilitation project” is an ongoing endeavor financed by Fondazione Cariplo in the framework of “Scuola 21 we are the ones living here,” and proposes to keep the public’s attention focused on the Mombello area and empower the relationships between schools and the territory to enhance the requalification of the area of the former provincial psychiatric asylum. During the first academic year, the students of two classes of the Institute went on a field trip to rediscover Mombello, documenting its decline and laying down action plans for its recovery.

Together with the teachers, they conducted in-depth studies on the neglected areas of the park of Mombello and fine-tuned their observations and botanical recognition skills, along with the capacity to interpret the reality around them. In this phase, the students were also able to verify the critical points of the territory, and, in particular, to see that the old garden belonging to the noble villa is today partially used as a dump site and is botanically ruined due to the disrespectful actions of people or the onset of alien plants that suffocate the autochthonous biodiversity. The students in this phase proposed and verified the feasibility of some concrete requalification actions. The escarpment beside the Institute was, for example, cleared out, and reclaimed from the alien plants.
On 27 May 2013, the school, associations and agencies in Mombello organised the first park cleaning day. The works on the recovery of the garden with the reclamation from the alien plants and recovery of the fountain continued into the second year. They also started to plant ancient essences in an orchard and determined the botanical itinerary in the project.
The botanical walkway, identified with billboards describing the most interesting areas, delineates a route leading from the entrance of the former provincial asylum, coasting along the basin placed at the entrance, that was cleaned and improved with rare autochthonous plants in the humid zones and through the park, with signs highlighting the more valuable trees and shrubs, to then spread out into the gardens of the school, leading to the already recovered areas such as: the botanical garden, orchard of simple vegetables, and oak lane. The itinerary, with specific placards, ends at the grove of ancient plants, achieved within the scope of the project.