SiiT: the Project

SiiT in a few words

SiiT is a three-year project aimed at enhancing the knowledge of biodiversity in an area extending from the eastern Adriatic coasts (Italy) to Western Slovenia by providing schools (from primary schools to universities) amateurs and citizens with innovative interactive tools for the identification of plants, animals and fungi. The keys developed by the former European project KeyToNature will be implemented further, and new multilingual guides will be created, which are usable on-line and in the field via mobile media.  Demonstrations, training seminars, educational and experimental activities with schools will be organised by SiiT.  The project involves 10 partners from Italy and Slovenia, including universities, educational institutions, museums of natural science, parks and agencies of local development and environmental monitoring, and is funded under the Interreg program Italy-Slovenia 2007-2013, the European Regional Development Fund and national funds .

SiiT and the schools: let's discover biodiversity!

The program area is a veritable reservoir of biodiversity at the international level. It host a rich fauna and flora with numerous species absent from other parts of the world: a natural heritage whose knowledge and appreciation by citizens and local authorities are still unsatisfactory. A key requirement for the protection of biodiversity is its knowledge, not only the knowledge of what species occur in an area, but also and above all their knowledge by citizens. In other words, knowing biodiversity means re-cognizing and naming an organism. The name will serve as a key to an enormous wealth of knowledge about  its distribution, practical uses, conservation status, etc.

Until yesterday the tools to identify the organisms were made by specialists for specialists. Printed on paper, they were generally built in the form of dichotomous keys based on the scheme of biological classification, i.e. on characters which are difficult to observe and understand. For this reason, many of the old tools are hardly usable in schools. Informatics now allows us to organize data in a much more efficient way, producing identification tools based on characters understandable by everybody, including children of primary schools.

From KeyToNature to SiiT

The European project KeyToNature, on which SiiT builds, was centered on the production of new computerized tools for the identification of organisms and their introduction into the world of education at a pan-European level, from primary schools to universities. The results were impressive: hundreds of schools and thousands of students in 11 European countries were involved in the use of guides built expressly for them, sending back an extremely positive feedback: the response was enthusiastic! KeyToNature has developed hundreds of guides to biodiversity designed on the specific needs of individual schools, both in Slovenia and Italy. Some bilingual guides have already been used for collaborations between Italian and Slovenian schools. The versions in English are being used for integrated teaching.  SiiT wants to ensure the continuation of this activity, its dissemination, and its enhancement in the area between Ravenna and Maribor.  SiiT will develop hundreds of innovative tools usable on Internet, CD-ROMs, PDAs and mobile phones, making them adapted to the general public of the project area. SiiT is primarily addressed to schools and local authorities responsible for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity in their territories.

SiiT, protected areas and eco-tourism

 The program area is rich in parks, reserves, Natura2000 sites, or simply areas rich in biodiversity and not yet protected, managed by Institutions who often want to enhance them to attract eco-conscious tourism. In Europe there is an important market for nature-oriented tourism: thousands of people who want to visit areas of high biodiversity will have at disposal easy-to-use tools for knowing and appreciating it. SiiT will create interactive guides to the biodiversity of some of the most important protected areas. They will increase the visibility of the rich heritage of biodiversity, becoming an important source of attraction for nature-oriented tourism internationally.

SiiT and Biomonitoring

Biodiversity also has important application aspects. European and national legislations require the monitoring of environmental quality based on sensitive organisms, known as "bioindicators" (eg. lichens, aquatic macroinvertebrates, aquatic macrophytes). This requires personnel able to make correct identifications of the target organisms. SiiT will produce interactive guides to the identification of these organisms, to be used by technicians directly in the field via media such as PDAs and mobile phones.

The guides of SiiT are adaptable to the needs of users

The educational needs of schools, those of eco-tourism promotion and the technical-scientific aspects are not separated, but perfectly integrable, because the tools generated by SiiT can be modified and enriched for being used for different purposes: a guide created for schools canl be the basis for ecomuseum-type activities sponsored by local authorities, a guide designed for parks and reserves can be easily modified and adapted for schools of all levels. This will be made possible thanks to software developed under the project KeyToNature, which allows users to change 'their' original guides adding new content and adapting them to their needs. Each guide - a guide to plants for example - may be provided with notes originating from class-work in a school, concerning ethnobotany, origin, uses, common names, drawings and original photos, etc. The possibility for users to add their own content to the guides brings to another qualifying aspect of SiiT: to preserve, collect and organize the wealth of rich cultural elements linked to the relationship between biodiversity and local communities. In the program area there is not only a high biodiversity resulting from prehistoric events, but also a rich linguistic and cultural diversity that reflects a long and complex history of interactions between local communities and the nature that surrounds them. Local names of plants and animals, from Friulian to the venetian dialects, from Slovenian to the German linguistic islands in the Alps, have never been the subject of a comparative collection. The same applies to the practical and medicinal uses of plants and animals. SiiT will use innovative tools to gather 'from below' - by involving the schools - such information, to organise these data in a database, to make them accessible to a broad audience and ultimately to save them from oblivion.


Partner / Projektni partnerji

Università di Trieste, Dip. di Scienze della Vita (Lead Partner), Prirodoslovni Muzej Slovenije, Ljubljana, Univerza na Primorskem -Università del Litorale  Koper/Capodistria, Università di Padova, Dip. di Biologia, Zavod Republike Slovenije za šolstvo Ljubljana, Comune di San Dorligo della Valle - Občina Dolina, Consorzio del Parco Regionale del Delta del Po Emilia Romagna, Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione dell’Ambiente del Friuli Venezia Giulia (ARPA - FVG), Gruppo di Azione Locale Venezia Orientale (GAL Venezia Orientale - VEGAL), Triglavski Narodni Park, Univerza v Novi Gorici


Progetto Strumenti interattivi per l’identificazione della biodiversità: un progetto educativo in un’area transfrontaliera (SiiT): finanziato nell’ambito del Programma per la Cooperazione Transfrontaliera Italia-Slovenia 2007-2013, dal Fondo europeo di sviluppo regionale e dai fondi nazionali.

Projekt Interaktivna določevalna orodja za šole (SIIT): spoznavanje biotske pestrosti na čezmejnem območju sofinancirana v okviru Programa čezmejnega sodelovanja Slovenija-Italija 2007-2013 iz sredstev Evropskega sklada za regionalni razvoj in nacionalnih sredstev.

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